From Samuel L. Jackson's MasterClass

Student Session: Character Biographies

Creating in-depth character backstory is an integral part of Sam’s process. He pushes the students to develop a connection with Jules by imagining his life story and how he got to this moment in the diner.

Topics include: Student Session: Character Biographies


Creating in-depth character backstory is an integral part of Sam’s process. He pushes the students to develop a connection with Jules by imagining his life story and how he got to this moment in the diner.

Topics include: Student Session: Character Biographies

Samuel L. Jackson

Teaches Acting

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And are you guys, prepared? Take your time Do this with intent. Make us feel like we wish we were in this diner watching this. Or that we should have spent our $15 ticket in popcorn to see you do it. OK and, Action! See God damn it, what is it? Let him go! Let him go-- Tell her to be cool. Say bitch be cool. Say bitch be cool. Chill-- chill out, honey, chill out. Chill out. Tell her it's going to be all right. Tell her it's going be all right. Cut! Danny, I can't hear you. You had to speak over her, so that he can hear you. And at some point, make him tell that bitch to be-- say bitch be cool! You know, shut that bitch up. All right. And action. God damn it, what is it? Let him go! Let him go! I'm going to fucking kill. Say bitch be cool. Say bitch be cool. Tell her everything's going all right. I'm going to be OK. Tell her-- promise her, promise her. I promise, I promise. Tell her everything thing's going to be cool. Tell her to chill. Just chill out. OK what's her name? Yolanda. OK Yolanda, you're going to be cool right? Not going to anything stupid are we? Don't you hurt him. Nobody is going to hurt anybody. We're just going to be like three Fonzie's. What's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda, what's Fonzie like? What's Fonzie like? He's cool. He's cool. "Correct-a-mundo" And that's what we're going to be. We're going to be cool. Now Ringo on a count of three, I'm going to ask you to let go of your gun, and you're going to take a seat over there. But when you do it, you be cool. Ready, 1, 2, 3. OK, now let him go! Yolanda, I though you were going to be cool. Now, when you yell at me, you make me nervous. And when I get nervous I get scared. And when motherfuckers get scared, that's when motherfuckers die. Just know, you hurt him, you die. That seems to be the situation. And I don't want to hurt him. And I know you don't want me to. And I know Ringo over here doesn't want me to. But this is the situation. Normally, both your asses would be dead as this, this fried fucking chicken. Line. That you happened to. But you happen to. Pull this shit. You happened to pull this shit when I'm in a transitional period, so I'm not going to shoot you. I'm going to help you. But I can't give you this briefcase. It don't belong to me. And I went through too much shit this morning on account this briefcase just to hand it over to your ass. What the fuck is going on. Vincent, be cool man. Don't do a goddamn thing. Louder. Vince, be cool. Be cool Vince. Don't do a goddamn Stop, don't look at that motherfucker. There's a gun on the table. Be cool Vince. Don't do a goddamn thing. Be cool. Tell her to be cool. Yolanda, we're still cool. T...

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.

Mr. Jackson, through this class, has definitely taught me about diving into a character. I feel that I know what to look for and do when on a set, audition or just on my own time while preparing. I have never acted but I have always wanted to be in a film or play. I have more confidence that I can do it now! Thanks!

The class has improved my thought process in many ways. I however feel the price is steep, I feel the information is something worthwhile, but this is more of a reflective lecture, than it is for interaction. I wish each class would start with a goal, that goal would progress with you through the chapters and you would build on it, and grow.

I have learned a lot of skills to implement to potentially become a good \, successful actor.

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.


Jenna L.

Very helpful, the questions from the students and the answers from Sam. I just watched Pulp Fiction (I know, shame on me) and compared the real scene from the movie to these lessons. Helps me understand. Thank you for the lesson!

Dale F.

Dang, I’ve taken two other classes on directing but I’m learning more about directing from this session than those two. This is great stuff!

Joshua J.

Great Episode, I really like how Samuel L. Jackson discusses creating a character. I have been in class where we do a mock audition and at the end my instructor tells me that was more like words on a page and not a character. I like what he said about once you can figure it out, you can be the character and do things that you as a person would not do. Especially in that scene where you can get fired up like he did in the movie or your own way. In real life you are a calm cool person.

Fernanda M.

i would also be super nervous to do a scene for him, so, totally get this guy. But, yeah, we have to learn how to deal with pressure and expectations, so... nice to know that if we have a background history from the character, it might be easier


I really liked the comment about there is a wrong way to do something...but there are 200 right ways to do it! Something you don't hear every day.

Shea B.

I’ve noticed that what’s necessary is creating the character entirely and embodying them completely. That’s when people are the most successful with convincing an audience that that character is real.

Arek Z.

So many good points. For me the takeaway certainly is to create the Whole Human being rather than just one dimensional character on the page. Figure out who the character is, his past, how he feels about other characters in this particular scene so it all becomes reality, so when you say your lines it is not just a speech on the page but it is natural thing that comes out of the character's mouth "how you feel about saying these words comes from what you made that character to be". Also great point "Do it with intend, make people feel to wish they were in a scene with us".

A fellow student

learning lines now means speaking them from the character and not me. I originally selected a monologue from Rocky speaking to his son about winning in life. But halfway through memorizing i realized i could not imagine using these words. Now i'm looking for a monologue with a guy talking about or to a doll. The millennial generation has their own language.

Rahul S.

Assignment: Accounting into the goals, micro & macro objectives of the character as well as taking help from the script, here is my character Vijay's biography. Childhood: Vijay was one of the two brothers, him being the elder one was not the pampered kid. Although he received enough love from his parents. Definitely, his childhood as far as getting loved by his parents is concerned he was well off until the incident where his father is termed as traitor which makes the mother and two kids leave the village and start again from poverty. He knew deep inside that his father was an innocent man. Although this embodied one strong idea in him: money can buy power, and everyone bends to power. Family: Described above! Friends: As he grew up, some innocent men became his friends who were unwilling to bend for wrong reasons. This inspired him to be a true hero and stand up to social injustice. The only conflict was money was his first priority, followed by being a hero. He made friends with some underworld connections who inspired him to become one of them. Career: He was an underworld agent serving a don. Hopes: He believed in his luck as he believed it to be blessed from almighty. Hence he came out clean in almost every but one encounters. Dream: His dream was to give back to his mother. He knew the hardships that his mother had to go through as they started from ground zero. Thus, all he wanted to was to give back an extremely peaceful and luxurious life to his mother.

Rahul S.

Take it further: When Sam delivers the dialogue in the apartment scene, it feels like he is just saying it without any feelings attached. As if its a tradition and has to be done without giving it much of a thought. Although he did take care of the active words in the monologue. It actually feels terrifying based on his looks. In the restaurant scene, it doesn't feel that terrifying and more like he knows what he is saying. Not much volume/pitch variation with very low-mid energy. Not much movements either.