Published by: Julia
If you are looking for acting classes, why not let Samuel L Jackson be your teacher? He really is a master of his craft. This course is also a real treat for fans of this versatile and accomplished actor. Another great reason to sign up for and enjoy Mr. Jackson’s brilliant masterclass.
How to create convincing characters
It is clear that Samuel views creating your character as the most important part of the acting process. He spends nearly two hours going over how he goes about doing this. As he does so, he teaches you how to:
- Identify your characters’ goals and purpose
- Work out their relationships with other characters
- Create physical characteristics that make them more memorable
- Learn your character’s main skills
- How to create a biography for your character
- How to make the character your own
- How to avoid creating a facsimile character
- How to create a vocalization plan for your character
- Working out how your character should be dressed
- How to plumb your emotional depths to build a convincing character the audience can connect with
His voice and character video is particularly interesting. In it, he explains how he overcame his stutter. He also explains how he creates an accent and way of speaking that works for his character. For example, he shares why he decided to give Jules from Pulp Fiction, a lisp.
Provided you follow what Samuel teaches, you will, without a doubt, be able to create real people, for the screen or stage. Characters that the audience can really believe in and, more importantly, engage with.
By the way, we recommend purchasing Masterclass for more than just one single course. The value comes when you take several. If you want to read our review of the whole platform, check out this Masterclass review article.
If you want to just find out what some of the best masterclasses are, this is the article for you.
Getting the physicality of your character right
If you are short on time, I would suggest you go through the Physical Characterization (video 3) first. That video covers the most important points.
For each of them, Samuel provides an example to help you to understand what he is telling you. Later, when you have the chance, you should go through the other videos. In them, he goes into far more detail. So, watching them will cement what you have already learned as well as provide with more ways to practice your craft.
The role of body language and voice in the character creation process
I particularly like the voice and body language session (Check it out here). This is a very visual skill, so seeing it done in front of you is far better than simply reading about it.
Samuel L Jackson masterclass case studies and student sessions
Samuel L Jackson uses case studies to illustrate most of the techniques he is teaching. The following case studies are included:
- Caveman’s Valentine – a study of two homeless characters
- The Negotiator – a scene recreation from Pulp Fiction
- Kingsman: the secret service scene
Don’t be tempted to skip over these sections of the course. They are where you will pick up the most acting tips and tricks.
In his student classes, Samuel works live with actors to recreate scenes from some of the movies he has been in. It was really interesting to see the negotiator scene, from Pulp Fiction, being repeatedly recreated. The actors swapped characters several times, which made it easier to focus and learn more.
It is a way of teaching I have not seen used in any of the other masterclasses I have taken using my all-access pass. I really liked this way of learning. Samuel L Jackson thinks outside the box, understands his craft and more importantly is an excellent communicator and teacher.
How Samuel L Jackson breaks down a script
This process is covered in two parts. To be able to get the most out of this section you will need to have gone through and understood the previous videos. Samuel clearly takes a methodical approach to his acting.
The same is true of how he teaches. Unlike some other actors who have created masterclass.com courses, he does not hop around from one subject to another. I personally like his teaching technique. Letting him take you by the hand and lead you towards becoming a successful actor is definitely the best way to get the most out of this course.
How to work with directors
For the movie or play you are in to be a success you need to be able to take direction. The relationship you have with your director is key.
Samuel explains how to tap into the vision your director has of your character. You need to learn how to work in harmony with him or her.
It is clear that you need to build trust. It is essential that you show your director that you are listening to what they tell you. This means that you have to be willing to adapt the character you have already built for yourself to reflect your director’s vision of them too.
How to collaborate with the rest of the crew and set staff
Everybody’s there doin’ the same job…You’re no better than the guy that’s sweepin’ the floor at night when you leave. Just remember that.
—Samuel L. Jackson Teaches Acting – Masterclass.com
Samuel points out that it takes a village to make a movie. So, you have to respect everyone that is involved in the process. Taking this approach enables you to tap into the knowledge of everyone who is working on the movie. When you do this, the chances that the project will be a success, increase dramatically.
Learn to tap into your curiosity to become a better actor
This section of the course was very interesting to me. It is clear that Samuel L Jackson approaches the world with an open mind. He does his best to expose himself to as many different cultures, people and ways of living as possible.
Samuel actively works at “building a library of experiences”. Doing this creates a database of knowledge that he can dip into when he needs to create a new character.
How to audition successfully
Becoming good at auditions is essential. If you cannot get through this process and land a part you will never be able to build your acting career. So, this is a very important video.
In it, Samuel covers everything from creating an attractive resume to acing the actual audition. Importantly, he also covers how to make a lasting positive impression.
That way if you do not get the part you are auditioning for, you will still be remembered by the casting director and his or her team. When that happens, your chances of being approached to audition for other shows, movies or plays increase dramatically.
How to grow your acting career
An awful lot of actors find that their career stalls, at points, often, for several years. Samuel explains how to land small parts to begin the process of creating momentum for your career. He also covers the important subject of finding and working with an agent. If you cannot find someone to represent you, do not worry, because Samuel provides you with another way you can get yourself known.
In his Hollywood lessons video, Samuel reminds his students that an actor’s path is not a smooth one. You are going to experience ups and downs.
Recognizing and accepting this fact at an early stage is important. It ensures that you to manage your expectations and are better prepared to handle and overcome any issues you may face.
I particularly liked his reminder that people are always judging you in an audition environment. Even when you are not performing, you are actually still giving a performance. You really cannot afford to relax and take your foot off the gas at any point during the audition process.
Samuel L Jackson’s master class workbook
The workbook is a bit light on detail. But, the videos are comprehensive, so the lack of detail in the workbook is not a big issue. Plus, there is plenty of space for you to make notes. Personally, if I were to take this course again, I would print the workbook off and make notes as I went through each section.
There are assignments too, but as a non-actor, it is quite hard for me to work out how good they are. But, it is good to see them there, because I find that regardless of which master class I take putting what I have learned into action quickly helps me to cement my knowledge.
An insight into how Samuel L Jackson became a star
Towards the end of the course, Samuel tells the audience about his journey. This is a fascinating part of the course. I have always been a bit of a fan of Samuel L Jackson, so getting the chance to gain an insight into his mind and the way he works was a real treat.
It was great to hear him tell his story in his own words without a journalist or interviewer influencing or watering down what he was saying.
Who is Samuel L Jackson’s acting course for?
The focus of this course is definitely people who want to become serious actors. The advice Samuel provides about growing your career is priceless.
However, I think pretty much anyone would enjoy this course. I am not an actor, but I enjoyed going through it, so much so that I plan to re-watch it, at a later date.
If you are a fan of Samuel L Jackson, this master class is a real treat. I learned all kinds of things about him. For example, I did not realize that Samuel stuttered when he was a child. Interestingly, some of his classic lines have been created because he has had to change things to get around the fact that he still stutters sometimes, even now.
The advantages of investing in the masterclass.com all access pass
I genuinely believe this is one of the best courses on the masterclass.com platform. So, highly recommend it. If you can afford to do so, I recommend that you buy the all-access pass. Doing this enables you to watch all 60+ masterclasses courses for the price you would normally pay for just two courses. Plus, you occasionally get access to additional materials. It is an amazing bargain.
If you would like to learn more about this learning platform and what it has to offer, all you need to do is to click here and read my full masterclass.com review. My article includes several tips and tricks to help you to get the most out of each course.