Film & TV

Student Session: Breaking Down a Script - Part 2

Samuel L. Jackson

Lesson time 16:39 min

Get inside Jules’s head as Sam breaks down the Ezekiel passage and walks the students through the different ways the character could perform the scene.

Samuel L. Jackson
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OK. Action. Show What is it? (ANXIOUSLY) Let him go! Let him go-- fucking go, or I'm going to fucking shoot you! Tell that bitch, be cool. Be cool, honey. I'm going-- Say bitch, be cool! --to fucking kill you! It's all right, honey. Be cool, baby. Let him go. Be cool. Now tell her everything's OK. Everything's going to be all right, honey. Promise her. I promise, baby. Now tell her to chill. Just chill, baby. You're going to be cool. What's her name? Yolanda. Yolanda, we cool, right? You ain't going to do anything stupid now, are we? Don't you hurt him. Ain't nobody going going to hurt nobody. OK? We're going to be like three Fonzies up in here. You know what Fonzie is like, right? Come on, Yolanda! Do you know what Fonzie's like? He's-- he's cool. Correct-a-fucking-mundo. We going to be cool. Now, Ringo, I'm going to count to three. And I want you to let go of this gun and lay your palms flat on this table. But when you do it, you do it cool. You ready? 1, 2, 3. You let him go! Yolanda, I thought you said you were going to be cool. Because when you yell at me, it makes me nervous. And when I'm nervous, I get scared. And when motherfuckers get scared, that's when motherfuckers accidentally get shot. Just know you hurt him, you die. That seems to be the situation now, doesn't it? And I don't want that, you don't want that, and Ringo here don't want that. So here's the situation. Normally your asses would be dead like fucking fried chicken. But you happen to be pulling this shit while I'm in a transitional period. And I don't want to kill you. I want to help you, right? But I can't give you this case here. It don't belong to me. Besides I've been through too much shit this morning on behalf of this case here to just hand it over to you. What the fuck is going on here? It's cool, Vincent! It's cool! Don't do a goddamn thing! Now, Yolanda, it's cool, baby. Be cool. Nothing's changed. We're still just talking. Tell her it's cool. It's cool, baby. We're still talking. What the hell is going on here, Jules? Nothing I can't handle. I want you to hang back, and don't do anything unless it's absolutely necessary. Check. Now, Yolanda, how we doing, baby? I have to pee. I want to go home. You're doing all right. You're doing just fine. You're doing great. Ringo is proud of you, and so am I. It's almost over. Now I want you to go in that bag, find my wallet. Uh, which one is it? The one that says "bad motherfucker" on it. I want you to open it up. Take out the cash. How much is there? About $1,500. I want you to put it in your pocket. It's yours. Now that, along with the wallets and the register, makes i...

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 learned how to prepare a character and study a script. His advice on professional ethics and the actor's behavior on set was great. I loved this class !!!

i really like the precision of acting aand it needs to be known. And that it' s honest and exhaustive.

I am able now to watch a film and to appreciate an actor's work.

It was reassuring. I’m taking this class to gain confidence and it gives me much confidence hearing Mr. Jackson speak to what I have learned.


Shanisa D.

Listening/watching their performance and being able to see the breakdown of the script helps me understand the process on how to BE the character. This was super helpful. I think understanding where every character comes from is just as important as knowing your own character background. Also, it helps determine how you interact with the other characters when interacting with them.


Still can't get the point of this particular part. "Remember the goal of the scene, and how to get from point A to point B". Ok, well noted three lessons before. What next?

BABY!!! L.

love these lessons with Samuel L Jackson. Seeing the corrections from the comments section, as well as comparisons in different actors, ive learnt a lot as to what a good scene should look, sound, and feel like. I believe that if both previous actors came together and worked on their strengths and their weaknesses together, they'd have pinned down the part. The female actor had a lot of energy in her projection, which the male actor didnt, but he had the slowness and strength of the part (because he's in control of the situation, his new life) but he lacked that "furious anger." Seeing this shows me my natural aptitude, and possibly potential in directing. thank u.

Robert A.

Again wow, wow wow. This is great stuff. Thank you again Sam!!!. ROCK ON!!!

robin C.

Love this scene. I thought I knew it inside and out, yet now I understand it so much better.

Arek Z.

Great lesson. Yes, it is important to understand what the overall objective is and how the scene objective supports the story and what the goals are.

A fellow student

Started to memorize a monologue from Rocky when he tells his son about the hits of life. It is not easy for me. I look for key words and add a sentence each time. Really enjoyed class with Pulp Fiction, a film i thought was too violent. Looking forward to my first audition once i complete this monologue.


I think the most important goal in any scene is to make the scene believable to the audience. There was moments in this scene that I didn't believe the characters.

Mia S.

"All good actors don't come to the same conclusions, people come to different conclusions. But when you're at home preparing, those are the kind of things that you have options to think about before you get there, or before you get to a room. What each little piece of this means, you break down what all these sentences mean in terms of relating to each other, and what he's trying to convey to the person he's speaking to and to the audience who is sitting there watching it. That's just what that is, the workings of time or how you prepare. I don't know how you prepare to do stuff or how you look at passages, or how you memorize them, what your process is - I'm sure each of you have a different process. I don't have a process. I go through passages - I think every scene has a goal. So, what are we trying to accomplish in this particular scene? I realized that my goal was to convince Vincent that I'm getting out of the life, and I'm not going to just randomly kill people for money anymore, and this is the proof. What happens in this particular moment. In terms of the story, what am I doing in this scene for the story? Am I moving the story along to a certain place, to a logical conclusion? This is a conclusion of what is happening in this particular scene. I actually think the whole movie is about redemption; thing happen, people get a second chance to do whatever. This is just this redemption story and how it works. It sounds - it's not just quiet, but it's also menacing. The menace of what that passage was is still there for him, so that when he says, 'I had a change of heart today,' it's huge. You got to bring a contrast to what it is, so that by the time the payoff comes - the shock is I didn't kill him, the payoff is what it actually means. You've got to kind of find a way to make yourself ready to be in and of all of that."

Mia S.

"'It could mean that you're the evil man and I'm the righteous man' - you gotta go, 'you, 'I.' Make that total distinction between the two. *You're* the evil man, and *I'm* the righteous man. Because you're hitting this thing yourself, you're trying to make it make some sense for you, too. The important thing is to make an audience understand and for you to grasp the gravity of what it is. 'It's the *world*that's evil and selfish - I'd like to think that, I like that, but that shit ain't the truth. The truth is, you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny' - 'the truth is that you're one of the weak people and I'm one of the strong people, and I'm the evil of the world and I have dominion over you. And I don't want to be that person anymore, I'm trying - I'm trying to be the shepherd, I want to lead you through the valley of darkness, I don't want to be the bad shit that'will fuck you up; I want to be a productive member of society, as opposed to what I am now.' You know, that's essentially what the speech is. It's his first test since he's made a decision that he's getting out of the life. He just told Vincent, 'I'm going to go walking around the world, I'm not going to stop killing people, but I'm going to kill the right people.' That's essentially what he's already told them he's going to do, and now he's facing his first test. Quentin actually wrote that he closed his eyes when he first walked up and asked him to open up the case, 'I'm gonna count to three to put a bullet in your face.' He goes, 'One,' and he closes his eyes, and he shot through the table, he would kill him, he would reach over, and then he would shoot her off the table. By the time he got to 'three,' he opened his eyes, and they're still there and he realizes, 'That's what I would've done.' That's his first test as this new man that you say you are. 'Oh shit, I'm not that guy anymore.'"