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Leap and the net will appear. You’ve heard this phrase if you’ve even considered pursuing a career in the arts. Teachers have been saying it for years. Actors, writers and dancers have been taping it to their mirrors since middle school. It does, after all, require a giant leap of faith for someone to decide on a career in the arts.

But if you thought that leap was a one-time thing, I have some bad news for you. A successful career as a professional actor doesn’t require just that initial leap. It wasn’t enough to choose the arts as your major. Nor was it sufficient to convince your family that this was what you were born to do, even though that one was tough. Nope, it takes a consistent willingness to leap in the face of adversity and all good common sense to even have a shot at this. I see so many actors breathe a massive sigh of relief upon arriving in Los Angeles. True, that first leap was the falling domino that started you on this path. But the leaps that follow will make all the difference. Let’s look at a few of them.

Maybe the next most important leap of faith is to be training at all times. Just because you have a degree in theatre from the best school on the planet doesn’t mean you are done with classes. First, you probably didn’t go to the best school on the planet which means there is a class of new actors every year coming out that had better training than you. In any event, you need to keep training and whatever it takes to get this one drilled in, do it. I like to see actors in two classes at all times, but that is because I like to see you do everything you can to succeed. If that’s too much, let’s get you into at least one. Every month. Even December.

Another tough leap of faith actors must take is to live the life of a working actor before you are actually a working actor. Many actors eventually choose comfort and security and they lose sight of the daily grind required to develop a career as a working actor. The leap of faith required here is to keep that goal in sight and not opt out of the survival jobs and put acting on the back burner. You can’t be out of town all the time and you have to make enough money to be able to take any acting jobs early in your career, even the ones that don’t pay.

You will also have to take a tricky leap in your personal life because many artists think they cannot pursue personal happiness while going after a career in Hollywood. Not true. Just look at all the people that do it. Don’t put your life on hold while you focus on your dreams. Your dreams should include creating a close-knit support group of friends, family and if you are lucky, a life partner. It may seem like a distraction to those with laser focus but trust me, no one does this alone and the most successful people in this business have partners and friends and family around them. If you have a choice in this, choose community. It takes a village.

The toughest leaps are often the ones you don’t think you need to make. We convince ourselves that we are fine or we convince ourselves that the things we resist are not that important. We bargain and we make excuses and what we are really doing is blocking our own creative success. “I don’t need to network.” “I don’t have the time or money for classes right now.” If you could find the courage to make the leap of moving to Los Angeles then you can get yourself back in class. You can go to screenings and film festivals and meet filmmakers and working actors.

Once you’ve made that courageous first leap of relocating to the big market, you have set a course for success in this business. If you want to stay the course and work in Hollywood, keep leaping.

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