Tom Cruise stunned a group of acting students when he made a surprise appearance at their graduation ceremony.
The Mission Impossible actor gave an inspiring speech and explained his humble beginnings, encouraging the budding actors of Santa Monica's Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio on how to break into the notoriously difficult world of acting.
"I made money cutting lawns, delivering newspapers and selling Christmas cards, since I was eight years old," said Tom, at the opening of his speech.
"I was very interested in life," he said. "I was always interested in different kinds of people — different accents, the way they dressed. I couldn't wait to get out of school and see life."
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The charming actor explained how he had only seen the world on the big screen, and had saved his pocket money to go travelling around Europe. At the age of 18, after having attended three different high schools, New York State-born Tom moved to Manhattan where he was hit by the acting bug and spent his money on acting classes instead.
Tom explained how his first successful audition for military drama Taps, starring Sean Penn, was a "formative moment", to which the audience of 60 graduates burst into applause.
"I remember I couldn't sleep because I thought this was my dream," said Tom. His successful career rocketed from then on, and the actor reportedly met his former wife Katie Holmes while he was preparing for his role in Mission Impossible 3 and while she was still the fresh-faced Joey Potter on hit series Dawson's Creek.
Tom continued to inspire the group of students in his speech by showing his own hunger to constantly learn.
"I went to every single department," said Tom, explaining how he spent time with wardrobe and cinematography and drove people mad asking question after question. He advised them to make the most of their time on the movie set, when they finally land their first job, and keep their eyes and ears open.
The budding actors were clearly inspired by Tom's words of wisdom and took to Twitter to show their appreciation.
"G'luck2All! -TeamTC @stylusdevice Very impressed by Mr. Cruise speech! #starpower @ActatBaronBrown #acting #moviestar," posted one fan.
"He said that when you do finally get the chance of being in a movie, don't spend your time in the trailer," said one student. "He said you need to experience everything on the movie, talk to everyone on the crew, the grips, everyone.
"Learn everything you can. You will never get that time back. He talked about trying to be as prepared as possible, and that you can only depend on yourself."