Tom Cruise made graduating from Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio in Santa Monica, Calif., extra memorable on Sunday!
The Mission: Impossible star surprised students with a heartfelt speech, offering some insight and words of advice for the the outgoing class.
"I really enjoyed making people laugh—making my mother laugh and my sisters laugh. And creating different characters," he said, explaining why he wanted to become an actor. "And I went to movies. I made money, I worked cutting lawns and delivering newspapers, selling Christmas cards since I was 8 years old, and I saved the money…"
"I wasn't in school at that time, film school, acting school or anything like that, I just knew I loved movies," he continued. "And that's what I did: I went to a lot of movies."
Although he initially thought he wanted to travel with the money he'd saved up, Tom decided that he wanted to move to New York to pursue his acting dreams. "I took four classes at a neighborhood playhouse—not at the school itself. I took their night classes [because] I couldn't afford the regular school. And then I got a film called Taps!"
"We had four weeks of rehearsals, and I was shooting with Timothy Hutton…there's Sean Penn, his first film, George C. Scott…it was an incredible experience for me," he said. "I really didn't have what they call formal training, but the thing that I always felt about myself in life is that I'm making the decisions, for better or worse, right or wrong…At night, I couldn't sleep, because I thought, 'This is my dream.'"
The 51-year-old star then shared some words of wisdom with the new grads. "He said that when you do finally get the chance of being in a movie, don't spend the time in the trailer," a witness at the event told the New York Post. "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…And he talked about trying to be as prepared as possible, and that you can only depend on yourself."
Tom's social media team retweeted a picture of the actor midspeech, adding simply, "G'luck2All!"