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Arts & Entertainment

On-Set Collaboration

Samuel L. Jackson

Lesson time 13:13 min

Sam describes the movie set environment as “a moving circus.” Learn his code of on-set conduct, which has earned him respect throughout the industry as a true professional.

Samuel L. Jackson
Teaches Acting
One of the most successful actors of our generation teaches you how to elevate your acting.


The on-set environment is different according to the budget. So if you're on an indie, there's a real familial kind of feeling on an indie film, because everybody knows there's not much money. And everybody is there for a reason. They're doing it because they know the person that wrote it, that's directing it, or that has something to do with it. So the familial aspect of it is very different, and everybody is working toward a common goal to get this thing done, because they know, you know, it's a love project or whatever. Big studio films, kind of different, you know, there are a lot of different elements. It's a moving circus. Sometimes, you know all the actors that are there. Sometimes, you don't. Sometimes, you meet a person for one day, and that person is there for that day. And they're gone, in and out. If you're on a movie for a long haul with people, you'll run into them in the mornings in the makeup trailer. And you'll either talk about what you did last night. Or how's it going with you? Or there's music playing, and stuff's happening. And once you get on set, you can interact with whoever you want to interact with. I'm generally making jokes with whoever's around. Back in the day, when they used to pull a tape measure to your nose to see if you were in focus, you know, I was always doing stuff like that and trying to figure out how long the tape measure was and making fun of the camera crew. So I'm generally one of those people that knows everybody on the camera crew. I know who the grips are. I know who the PAs are, the prop masters, and everything that's going on. And I'm talking to everybody because I'm just that guy. And I don't have to be in the moment until they say action. Everybody's not like that. Some actors like to talk to you between shots. Some actors like to think about what they just did. Or some actors run straight to the monitor and look to see what they did, not what we did. It's important to me that when I'm on set or I'm on stage that every actor understands that it's more than just the performance aspect of it, that when I got into theater, Dr. thing was, OK, rehearsal is at 7 o'clock. And when I got to New York, I was amazed when somebody said rehearsal was at 10 o'clock. And people show up at 10 o'clock, and they want to sit down and have their coffee and their, you know, muffin or their sandwich or whatever. When rehearsal is at 7 o'clock, that means you get there at 6:30. You have your coffee. You have your sandwich so at 7 o'clock you're in place, so they can say action or let's go. Let's pick it up from this place, this place, or that place. So always on time, always know my lines, probably know yours, I've done my homework. I am character-driven and know what that character is and what that character is going to do. I, you know, don't get in your way. I will help you all I can. It's professional responsibility. And the best way for me to ...

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.


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

I had been put off acting this year, but Samuel L. Jackson (I feel weird just calling him Sam) has inspired me to get back into it, even if it's just smallscale, and the hard work, enjoyment, and incomparable satisfaction that comes from acting. Thank you, Sam!... uel L. Jackson :)

This class taught me not only acting technique, but also navigating the world of theatre and films. Since I also see the world through a writer's eyes, there were unintentional writing lessons sprinkled throughout the workshops. Great Master Class from a cool cat like Sam.

I watched this with my dad, who is a professional actor, I'm 12 years old, hoping to be a film maker one day. I loved the wisdom Mr. Jackson shared with us. We will put it into good use. Thanks.

Me ayudó mucho a entender la función de todos en el set, ser humilde y sobre todo de lo complejo y bello que es actuar


Jo B.

Just echoing what I was taught from a young age "do unto others as you would wish to be done by", I'm glad that same energy is resonated on sets where morale and energy are so important to yield the best out of every member of that team. I feel more confident about my own work ethic than I did at the start of the class. I hold myself to a higher standard than I expect of anyone else but myself, that way I know at the end of a day, I have given everyone there my best, on stage, in from of the camera or off, it doesn't matter. cracking lesson

Antonia T.

Wow. I loved this class! It was truly amazing. So many tips: "Don't waste people's time!". "It's a collaborative effort. It ain't about you". "You're no better than the guy that's sweeping the floor at night when you leave. Just remember that". I loved hearing about how Tarantino works and about the Do’s and Dont’s of on set (the worst one being "to show unprepared"). Priceless lesson. Compulsory for all the actors out there! Thanks, Sam!

T. S.

I totally agree. Treat everyone indifferent because you never know who will be your Producer, etc.

A fellow student

A basic review on how to be the most professional indivual you can be. Nobody is beneath you

Dominick C.

If anybody knows how I can just "work on a Tarantino set" I'm all ears. Sam did not disclose how to do that and I'd really like that info.


I’m going into directing and now I just want to assign this episode as homework for every actor I work with in the future. Such good advice on humility, professionalism, and common courtesy in such a collaborative industry.

Chad J.

All of this is so true, even at the independent film level in the smaller markets.

Martell S.

I was on the set doing for a Photo double for Stranger Things and this very helpful knowledge to use

Steve M.

So important ,everything he just covered makes the difference between being a actor with passion to make it in this biz

Earl M.

Thank you, Mr. Jackson. Been 30+ years since I went to school for drama. Was called into another field of service and never really used it. Now at 53, I want to give it a shot. You've helped me and I appreciate it.