Arts & Entertainment
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.
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Topics include: The On-Set Environment • Be Punctual and Prepared • It's Acting, Not Living • Help the Editor Do Their Job • Make the Set Inclusive • Be Nice to Everyone • Movie Sets Should Be Fun • What Not to Do
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 ...
About the Instructor
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.
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Samuel L. Jackson
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