From Samuel L. Jackson's MasterClass

Enriching Your Acting Practice

Sam encourages you to nurture a sense of curiosity and explore stories set in worlds that you are unfamiliar with, so that you have a more expansive view of the characters you take on throughout your acting career.

Topics include: Actively Observe the World Around You • Read Novels • Learn From Doing Theater • Analyze the Work of Other Actors • Watch Yourself On-Screen

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Sam encourages you to nurture a sense of curiosity and explore stories set in worlds that you are unfamiliar with, so that you have a more expansive view of the characters you take on throughout your acting career.

Topics include: Actively Observe the World Around You • Read Novels • Learn From Doing Theater • Analyze the Work of Other Actors • Watch Yourself On-Screen

Samuel L. Jackson

Teaches Acting

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Preview

There are things you can do other than traditionally going to acting school or whatever to make yourself a better actor that are just everyday, common things like, you know, being observant. Let's go sit in the park and watch people. You know, or engage or sit in a restaurant and watch people. Watch people eat. See how people eat. Different people eat different ways. You know, figure that out. Go to museums. Watch people in museums and interact. Or look at paintings of places and situations and, you know, imagine yourself inside that. Wow, yeah, galleries, dance concerts, I mean, go to things that are foreign to you. See what the dynamic is. Go to places where there are people that aren't like you specifically so that you can see who those people are. Look at how they dress. Look at how they carry themselves. Look and how they interact with each other. It's a life of observance so that you can pull something from somewhere. I mean, there are moments when I walk down the street. Or I remember when we were getting ready to do "Negotiator." My hairdresser's sister came to see him. And I looked, and I saw her hair. And I went, that's the hair I want for this movie. And that's the hair I ended up having. I ended up with that red hair because she had it. It's just little things like that that will pop into your head that you think will make your character interesting or change the dynamic of what you're trying to do. I read so much because I just like being outside of my reality, because I have one. I know what it is. I know what I do. You know, if I'm not working, I don't particularly want to just hang out in my world or do the honey-do's all day long. So I escape to another world and hang out with some other people that are doing exciting stuff, or living in a world of intrigue, or sitting and watching a movie from Korea somewhere, doing something, watching other people do what I do, telling a story that's foreign to my experience and wondering how I would be in that situation and figuring that out so when that situation does pop up on a page or somewhere, I have a reference point. Or I have a particular kind of person that I've seen do that thing and remember how that person existed in that dilemma or that situation so that I can apply myself to it. And that's what reading does. It just allows me to expand and figure out who all these people are. There are all these jobs that I'm never gonna do. But I can read about people who do specific kinds of jobs that are foreign to mine and learn something about them. And if I get a job, and somebody wants me to be a carpenter, then I can remember a movie that I've seen about a carpenter or a story that I read about a carpenter. Or I can pick up a book and read something about a carpenter and figure out what carpenters do. Carpenters, like everybody else, yeah, I build furniture, but my life is this. So I do this. I might be a carpenter, but I kill people, you know,...

Get into Character

As a kid, Samuel L. Jackson stuttered so badly that he stopped talking for almost a year. Today he’s one of the world’s most successful actors, with roles in over 100 films, including Pulp Fiction and The Avengers. In his online acting class, the Oscar-nominated star shares how he creates memorable characters, powerful performances, and a long-lasting career. Learn to master auditions, analyze scripts, and find the truth in every role you play.

Reviews

4.7
Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Awesome. Practical Tools you can start to use. Thank you Samuel!

I like all of the tips and wisdom Samuel Jackson gives us. He does swear a lot so be forewarned if you're not used to that. He focuses on some scenes.

An in depth analysis of a character, from the many levels of thought and emotion to creating a back story of your own to help you better perceive and project that character's world around him.

Very insightful, and filled to the brim with value.

Comments

Henry

I spy a black actor ensconsed in a sea of white, even the aforementioned books have mostly white jackets! He widens his hands when convincing us that it is indeed beter to be a more broadband observer not only of the surface but to cheat a little and color outside the lines of first impression. The books are not hidden--he is being responsable for some content that might be misleading. HE is "leading". Only a confident person is going to nonchantly stroll up a very streamlined and tall stairway located with no arms to steady onesself--right next to tall windows that can (it seems) be fallen through to a jagged and perhaps lofty exterior impact...in the next scene. Sam invites us to begin right where we are-- peering in this fashion, and not to judge, but to connect with the demands that Real Acting can demand of your Real Being. By the way, this is not the place for my Viet Nam war stories...but those stairs scare me! Bingo--I have learned something about myself-- observed some of my own current limitations that could be translated by others as incongruities in my gait, hesitation in walking down the stairs, or even a false fear through body language (perhaps humorous)--depending on how the scenes and continuity get parked next to one another. Then we must consider that you can perhaps "tone it down a bit" by a director or other producer-- even it may represent better quality--so that the movie can be "compressed a bit" so as not to outshine another actors performance, causing the wave structure to jaggedly challenge the overall Arc of the story. Stairway to Heaven...

Debbie D.

Reminded me I don't have to always be stuck in a real world; but can imagine being inside a painting, go & watch the simple things in life like people eating their meals, going to the park and watching dogs interact or mothers or dads with their kids or observe how children treat each other with the play swings--I dont have to watch Trump all the time on the internet every place I go on that device.

Rahul S.

Can anyone please suggest me some good foreign films? Other than Hollywood & Bollywood.

CLAU

perfect i always say to myself that i want to direct and write scripts not just act in front of an audience

George B.

Absorb yourself in art, that way you can fully express what you're trying to convey.

Ocubox

These tips go for so many things in art. Audio work as an actor, music composition as a...you get it.

Denise

Great tips! ....yes I can and do give myself an honest assessment. Thats one of the reasons why I'm taking this class...to continue to perfect my craft, gain more knowledge about acting and become a better actress.

Kathy

Working on a museum horror script. You just gave me another angle for a scene, That's what makes these MASTER CLASSES, for those whose life is geared toward becoming masters in their field.

Mia S.

"The first time I see my performance is when they're letting me see the movie. I'm sitting there watching and figuring out what they kept, what they didn't keep, how the edit works, whatever. If that's fine with me, then I go to the movie to enjoy the movie for the first time with an audience to see what the general response is to what's on screen. You see yourself as everybody else sees you. Do you like what you see? Do you not? Do you believe yourself, number one, when you're watching it? Are you proud of what you did? If you're honest with yourself, can you give yourself an honest assessment of your performance, and what you did in that particular story, in that film, or how you related to the characters you wanted? Did the most important thing you wanted to convey about that particular character come out on screen when you did it? Can you give yourself an honest assessment of whether you're any good or not? Sometimes maybe you're sitting there watching yourself and decide, 'Maybe I need to direct and not be in front of the camera. Maybe I need to be behind it.' Or 'What took them so long to find me?' Any old stupid thing can happen. For me, it's all about the entertainment aspect of it, in terms of - I wanted to be in this film because I wanted to be in the story. Is the story the story I thought it was going to be, and did I do the things I wanted to accomplish in this story, and am I happy with it? That's it."

Mia S.

"We can be on a movie set, you could do something and you could do something great - but the only reason you know that is because the director comes on and says, 'That was great.' I've been on movie sets when people broke into applause. Quentin writes movies and he writes dialogue for characters that's theatrical - you don't often pick up a movie script and you've got a two-page monologue. When you have an opportunity to do that, you have an opportunity to showcase skills that people don't have. It takes something to keep people's attention that long, even on screen, when you're doing it - so they're paying attention, they're listening to you, they're engaged in what you're doing, so you have an opportunity to do all those things that you learned. Watch movies from other cultures. You learn what acting techniques are in other cultures, what works in that particular culture, how they tell stories... how those actors' emotional dynamics are different from ours in terms of how things happen. Some cultures are depicted as cold - find out how people deal with disaster in that culture. You might be asked to do that. Or you might find it an interesting way to react to something tragic in a film or situation or story you're in that is more interesting than he way we normally do it. Go to the theater. Watch other actors work so you can see what succeeds for them or what works in a real situation for you as you watch an actor in real-time doing what they do. Go to plays that have legendary Broadway stars in them, people that have theater reputations, and see why those people's reputations are what they are, why they are that effective, and how you can incorporate that into what you do or how you approach how you want to do something."