Every year, a myriad of people move to Los Angeles to pursue a dream. Whether that dream is to be a successful actor, live a life by the water, become the next Steven Spielberg (or the next, next. My cousin Benh Zeitlin is the next Spielberg!), or break into the music industry—it's a dream that can't be fulfilled anywhere else. LA is definitely a special place where dreams are coming true all the time.
On the other end of that sword, are the dreams that aren't coming true all the time. Any dream worth pursuing is going to be hard work, and all the people who don't feel like putting the effort in, wind up sitting on the sidelines, watching everyone else's lives play out.
So how do we become the people who DO make it? How do we make sure that these dreams we are traveling thousands of miles for actually come true? When I was at home in Philadelphia, I dreamed of working in the film industry. I was astonished when it actually happened. But it didn't happen by chance. It happened because of these essential actions that I took. If you have any dreams at all that you want to pursue, follow these steps and you'll be on your way.
1. WRITE IT DOWN
This is a VERY EASY step, so there is no reason why you shouldn't be doing this! Get an index card. I prefer the colorful ones because you can categorize your dreams by color. Write down your dream or goal on this index card, and get very specific. "By 2020 I will be a successful TV actor, working on network sitcoms." Once you have your dream written down, it's REAL!! Now take this card and put it in your wallet, or taped to your bathroom mirror—somewhere you will see it EVERYDAY. Look at it and read it everyday.
2. Read, study, repeat
Most of your dreams have already been pursued by many people. Find these people and study them. Read their biographies, philosophies, and interviews. Study their paths, study what they did. They already did what you want to do, so you may as well learn from them, right? Easy peasy. You should also read and study your field. If you want to be an actor, read about acting, and read scripts like it's your job. If you want to work in music, study the music industry. Learn everything you can so that you're well-versed when your time comes. Be a sponge, soak it all up.
3. Chunk it down
I learned about this from Jack Canfield and others, and it's a life changer. Some of your dreams may be HUGE and OVERWHELMING! Well, duh. We all want big and exciting things in our lives. So how do we even go about achieving such HUGE and OVERWHELMING dreams? We chunk it down. What does that mean? Well, we break this huge dream into tiny little baby steps. These tiny little baby steps are completely necessary, and they make the dream less overwhelming. Let me give you an example: Let's say your HUGE and OVERWHELMING (man, I love all caps!) dream is to become a successful actor. How do we chunk that down? Start at the beginning. if you want to act, you'll need an acting coach, or acting class; you'll need a manager to get you gigs; you'll need an agent to sign contracts; you'll need work to put on your resume. WOW! That's a hella lot of scary things to do. So let's make more index cards for each task.
- "By April, 2015 I will be enrolled in an acting class."
- "By May, 2015 I will audition for non-union roles to build my experience and resume."
- "By July, 2015 I will book 2 non-union roles"
Get the idea? Break your HUGE and OVERWHELMING dream into little mini dreams.
4. create your own support group
Find people who have similar dreams, and WORK TOGETHER! I know, I know. That's cray cray. But look, instead of thinking of others as competition, think of others as friends and support. You're going after the same dream, so encourage each other. Grow together. If you didn't listen to my podcast interview with Christine Avery yet, i highly recommend it. She explains a brilliant plan that she practices: a group of actor friends got together once a week to practice auditioning. They would film themselves and then offer each other feedback. Guys, this is BRILLIANT!! Help each other out and you'll go further.
5. find a mentor
This one isn't as easy. But it's still a critical part of pursuing dreams. Try to find someone who is ahead of you in your dream, and talk to them. Get advice from them. Their wisdom is extremely valuable and can propel you forward much faster than doing anything on your own. If you're lucky enough to find someone willing to coach you along the way, please show your appreciation! Anyone who takes the time to mentor another person is a saint. They are basically taking time out of their busy schedule on the sole purpose of helping another person. Thank them as much as possible!
Now, go! Take action! Start writing out your index cards and post a photo on my Facebook page here. I'm so excited to see what you guys are up to!!