From the Rookie Archives: My Five Year Plan

Oh life. How you do not go according to plan…

Speaking of, I came across my Five Year Plan recently. I made this in my last year of college. Meaning I have now exceeded this plan by over a year.

Listen. I think having a plan (as a general outline with goals) is a great idea!

But having a rigid “this is what is going to happen for sure” guide to life is totally unrealistic.

This is also why I don’t like when people put a time limit on their attempt at acting.

You know the people I am talking about, “Yea, I think I’ll move to LA and give it a shot for 3 years, see what happens. And if not I’ll find something else.”


I sincerely hope I am not the one to break this to you, but having a deadline on your acting career is like having a timeline for marriage and babies when you’re single and on birth control.

It’s just unrealistic and you never know where life, love, and the pursuit of jobs (oh and happiness) will take you.

So buckle up for a reality check and enjoy my “Five Year Plan” I had to write as a homework assignemnt in Missouri circa 2010. Prepare to laugh:

Sam Valentine

My 5 Year Plan

Year 1:
Confirm showcase contacts, revisit voice and movement concepts, find 2 more film projects, being piecing together reel, est. website, save $$

Perform senior showcase. Find day job in LA, re-contact people who saw showcase, finding LA housing, save $$, finish reel

Do first LA project, start looking for commercial, find time to visit agencies

Re-send resumes with reel, update head-shots, go to upscale Christmas party with Hollywood personal, save $$ to go home for holidays.

OH SWEET JESUS. I can’t believe I wrote that. I can’t believe I am sharing it either that is so embarrassing. I did not go to an upscale Christmas party and if I did I was for sure serving cocktails at it.

Year 2:
Enlist in acting class, start garnering focus and participants for spring showcase, find a new project to strive for, go to at least 3 major auditions

Perform another showcase (perhaps participate in MSU showcase), have fully updated resume, have representation, learn to teach yoga

Take on 2nd job in a studio, review housing situation, yoga

Audition for feature film, have updated reel, visit family, revisit local (STL and Springfield contacts)

Year 3:
Update head-shots, send out to higher level of contacts, send reel, begin writing, do some on-stage work

Audition for studio film, take a film class, participate in something akin to showcase (regardless of employment situation)

Contact all previous friend/connections in the area (get mailing info), move into more secure housing, have 2 commercial spots

Send out Christmas cards to all previous friends/connections, redo reel to accommodate commercial work, just breath

Props to me for the “just breathe part. Honestly, this should be on every list.

Year 4:
Land soap role, solidify 2 other auditions, send out info about new tv role to contacts, have enough money saved to just work acting and studio job

This “soap” thing continues throughout this report. I have never worked a soap in my life…yet! Clearly it was a major goal…

Visit MSU, write my next 5 year plan, spend birthday with my family, continue soap job

Revisit commercial work alongside current job, search out stage work, have all professional jobs in resume (no more college work listed)

Send out resumes/head-shots and reel complete with soap and latest commercial work to a slew of old and new contacts, send holidays with family

Can we also laugh that I keep hyphenating “head-shots”??

Year 5:
Review past 5 years (keep believing), gain SAG eligibility, have a small one time role in tv series, continuer soap

Lol “keep believing”

Put together updated roster of friends and perform professional showcase (film it, send it to people), get leading role audition

Have enough money saved to get a dog, be in television entertainment segment, contact ESPN for work as a sideline girl, rethink “look”

Clearly I think I was running out of things to put here and I wanted to finish  my homework .

Land a national commercial, have small role in a feature film in the works, audition for a more well know soap or possibly television series, continue to bother sports networks, spend time with my family for holidays, keep breathing (pat on the back, your living the dream)


Ok. A lot of this didn’t happen. In all honesty, here is a very short summation of what this turned out to be:

  • Year 1: Move to LA, find a place to live, and a job. Empty savings account. Sign with a shitty agent.  Figure out how to submit for auditions. Survive.
  • Year 2: Book a few nonunion commercials. Move again. Work 3 jobs. Decide if I gained weight via stress from my first year in LA. Consider moving home. Survive.
  • Year 3: Finally know where things are without a GPS. Move again. Make real friends. Get a dog. Have more than one agent. Cling to every booking you can get. Feel like you’ve finally figured everything out because you book jobs. Survive.
  • Year 4: Open a savings account. Fall in love. Not get a single booking and feel like you have no idea what you are doing. Hug the dog. Survive.
  • Year 5: Empty said savings account via joining the union. Watch all friends not in LA buy houses, get married, and have babies. Quit a few jobs and get a few more. Move again. Survive.

And now here we are at the end of year 6: realize the “surviving” is actually living and it’s kind of amazing.

Oh and I moved again and got a second dog to hug.

​​Be flexible. Have goals but also have FUN. And document it because this is the good stuff.

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