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.
You know Samuel L. Jackson from iconic films like Pulp Fiction and Die Hard with a Vengeance. Now he’s your acting teacher. Sam shares his goals for his MasterClass, as well as his mindset toward acting: it’s an adventure.
Learn how Sam imbues every role with a sense of purpose and complexity of character—even if they only appear on screen for a few minutes. In this lesson, he shares the fundamentals of his characterization process.
Sam dives deep into the myriad ways actors can use their bodies to reflect their characters’ personalities. Learn how to use posture, gait, voice, and physical appearance to add complexity to your characters.
Sam breaks down the nuances of his characterization process and performance as Romulus, a prodigal but schizophrenic and homeless concert pianist, in The Caveman’s Valentine.
Sam directs student actors in a workshop, and the first scene on the docket is the iconic diner scene from Pulp Fiction. In this lesson, Sam helps them break down the script to gain a deeper understanding of the characters’ intentions.
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.
Creating an 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.
One of the student actors puts a unique spin on Jules, showing that there are many “right” ways to create characters.
Sam reveals how his childhood experiences have informed his approach to character voices throughout his career and discusses his method of developing a vocalization plan.
Sam directs the actors to perform a scene from The Negotiator in which two characters—Danny and Farley—are on opposite ends of the power spectrum. Students play the scene and then switch roles.
Sam analyzes the students’ choices of power positions when playing Danny and how movement and stillness can each convey power in a different way. He shows how posture works on each side of the phone as each character is pushed to their limits.
Learn Sam’s tried-and-true methods for developing strong working relationships with directors.
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.
On the surface, this Kingsman scene is a simple conversation between two characters. The actors’ task is to dig deeper, access the subtext of the exchange, and create characters who will make the otherwise “bland” dialogue more interesting.
When it comes to characterization, it’s better to show up with too much rather than not enough. Sam pushes the student actors to take risks and commit to their choices.
Sam encourages you to nurture a sense of curiosity and explore stories set in worlds that you are unfamiliar with so that you have a more expansive view of the characters you take on throughout your acting career.
Don’t walk into a casting room thinking about the job; go in with the goal of demonstrating your skill as an actor. Sam gives you this and more time-tested rules for auditioning.
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