Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting in Masterclass

December 22, 2017

The highly prolific actor and Oscar nominee Samuel L. Jackson is currently teaching the craft of acting with an online MasterClass. The class consists of 21 video lessons designed to elevate actors’ level of skill with topics including: creating characters, physical characterization, how to break down a script, creating character backstories, developing a vocalization plan, and making bold choices.

Jackson also covers practical advice on how to develop strong working relationships with directors, and he reveals his on-set code of conduct that has served him so well throughout his professional career. As he once put it, “I show up prepared. … When you hire me, you hired an actor who’s going to show up, who’s going to know his lines, who’s going to hit his marks, and do his best to make the other actors around him better.”

Jackson insists, “When I’m on a movie set, I think everybody is just as important as I am.” With this mindset, he makes it a habit to get to know the crew members on set. In turn, Jackson has told the story of how a producer once cast him because Samuel had been so kind to him when he was coming up in the business as a PA.

In his MasterClass, Jackson also shares time-tested rules to use in the audition room. He asserts, “After taking this class, you will be able to walk into a room, present your best self, and be happy with the result.”

According to Wikipedia, Jackson is ranked as the “highest all-time box office star with over $4.9 billion total box office gross, an average of $69.1 million per film.” This is a stunning accomplishment especially considering the fact that Samuel struggled with stuttering during his childhood. The Tennessee native eventually overcame the speech problem by “pretending to be other people who don’t stutter.” Now that’s the power of acting!

One bit of advice he gives is, “In an audition, don’t say to them, ‘I don’t think my character would do that.’ Because your character won’t do that because you won’t be hired and you won’t be getting that check.” In other words, a prerequisite of being an actor is being willing and able to take direction.

Samuel’s iconic roles include performances in Pulp Fiction, The Avengers, Jurassic Park, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Kong: Skull Island which was released earlier this year. And he has several movies that will be released in the next couple of years including Incredibles 2, Son of Shaft, and Captain Marvel. He regards acting as an adventure. As for why he got into the acting business, Jackson says, “I got into it because I enjoy the fantasy of it, I love make-believe, I love movies, I love entertaining people.”

Jackson’s MasterClass comes with a downloadable workbook that contains lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material. Students can also upload their videos to receive feedback. The site says Sam will answer select student questions. He concludes with a reminder to actors that their responsibility is to their audience “and the world at large.”