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Arts & Entertainment

Student Session: Character Biographies

Samuel L. Jackson

Lesson time 15:10 min

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.

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

the content that I got from this lesson was insightful something to add for skills

As an experienced professional TV and film screenwriter now moving into directing, Sam's class was an excellent insight into the craft of screen acting and has helped me understand screen actors and relate my work more closely with them as both a writer and director.

To take a deeper look at myself and more often check in with the question "Am I taking myself seriously".

My dream is not to be an actor, but to tell stories and help people. Even then, this class has opened my eyes to what it means to strive for your goals and achieve them. I would recommend this class to anyone willing to improve themselves as a human being and I thank Mr. Jackson for this opportunity.


William C.

excellent videos! that girl with the ponytail was pointing the gun at the wrong person! I thought her acting needed the most improvement, wasn't authentic

Freddy l R.

I loved this lesson! Sam really drove home the importance of knowing and creating the WHY? behind the words, and actions. Knowing the biography or backstory of a character is important. It's all a part of the preparation process that is essential to presenting a thorough examination of the person you are from moment-to-moment. Thanks Sam!

Deele B.

Samuel L. Jackson is my hero, I love him and the class. Every time Samuel Jackson says something kool my dad says, that's that Morehouse stuff, because they both went to Morehouse, lol.

Grover L.

I am working on a character in a play and was unsure how to approach the material. This has given me a place to start in that develop my character.

Antonia T.

"Make that shit up". The actor must create a whole human being, not a one-dimensional person. Wonderful.

Shane H.

Listening to Mr. Jackson instruct us on how those lines MAY have been delivered differently was good to hear from the man who delivered them so effectively.


It looks like the student actors, specially the guy playing Jules, is not getting the intensity and danger of the scene. This is a standoff and Jules is trying to take control over two desperate people. Desperate people do desperate things. Taking control takes a strength that the guy playing Jules is not bringing out of himself.

Zachariah S.

I think the dude on the right really embraces the role he is playing. Looks like he is actually in a life or death situation. Guy on the left in blue seems too nice to be in a situation like that... lol

A fellow student

Very little is mentioned about Jules background but there is no doubt that a charactres life story influences his/hers current situation whether its a good or bad one

Chava G.

"Say Bitch Be Cool", lol - I love this teacher Samuel L and His process and I am happy to learn His process and a bit of Tarrantino for dessert! It's about balance, and using the circumstances of life at a personal advantage that works out for everyone involved. The person who controls the person, who controls the person who controls the person who is messing with the room, while being in a transitional period, even Ringo doesn't know why He is being called and answering to the name Ringo. We all have to get past the comfort zone to accomplish a damn thang!