Jump Start™ 


Do you crave your dream career?

  • More jobs on high caliber projects with great collaborators
  • Better pay
  • More opportunities
  • More creative fulfillment
  • Balance between work, family and friends, creativity and spirituality

Picture your entertainment industry dream career… Who are you working with? Where?  On what kind of projects? How is your work affecting audiences?

You’re in the entertainment industry because you have a big dream. You don’t have an itty-bitty dream.  There is work you want to create, people you want to inspire with your work, stories you’re dying to tell.  And, let’s face it, awards you want to win and money you want to make!

You may have even tasted some of this already.  Done a big film.  Starred in a television series.  Worked with award-winning talents.  Made some nice money.  Or all of the above.

But, if you’re honest with yourself, you crave more.  You want to play a bigger game in the entertainment industry.  Touch more people.  Work on more fulfilling projects.  And you want your life to match up to this big dream.

Okay, sounds great!  How do I do this?  


Watch the video above to learn more, or read on…


Jump Start™ is a one month intensive designed to give you everything you need to be Unstoppable in your career!

In Jump Start™ we tackle both your plan– your goal and your strategy, and your execution of your plan. Here’s what we do:

  • Zero in on your next career breakthrough and formulate a strong plan to accomplish it so that you are focused and confident in everything you do.
  • Uncover your brand and learn how to share it powerfully and effectively so that all the people you meet know exactly what jobs and/or roles you are perfect for.
  • Learn the skill of Pitching Yourself Powerfully™ so that you can authentically share yourself with ease in every meeting, phone call, or networking event.
  • Identify who you need to know and learn strategies for getting into relationship with the people who can hire you and mentor you.
  • Learn how to stop procrastinating and get into action quickly and powerfully.
  • Learn how to make requests that are both bold and appropriate so that you get a “yes.”
  • Create new relationships that will support you for the rest of your career.
  • Build a powerful team around you so that you can stop going it alone and move your career into the fast lane!
  • Plug into a community of committed high-achievers who support you and hold you accountable.
  • Learn powerful time management and balance tools so that you can enjoy your life while you do all of the above!

A clear vision + a strong plan + a passionate team + powerful, consistent execution + overcoming obstacles = UNSTOPPABLE


The Details…

When does Jump Start™ take place?  

The dates for the next Jump Start™ and more information will be announced later in 2016!


March 2016 Jump Start™ Testimonials:

Here’s what a few students are already saying:

“Thanks so much, Shawn, for an INCREDIBLE weekend! I feel as if I’ve made breakthroughs already!”- Laura S., Producer, voice actor, singer/songwriter

“Thank you, Shawn, for an amazing two days…..now the fun begins!“- Pam P., Actor

“If there was an adjective which meant “better than excellent”, I would use it to describe the Jump Start weekend! It was motivational, healing, fun and even, yes, loving. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate all your efforts.”- Lucy D., Film editor


Recent Jump Start™ Success Stories…

Hanelle Culpepper (director) booked 5 primetime shows to direct, Revenge, Criminal Minds and Grimm just to name a few!

Suzanne Ford (actor) got a straight offer of a juicy guest star role on Criminal Minds after re-establishing herself with her agency.

Jakki Jandrell (actor) got her One Year Breakthrough Goal in one month of Jump Start™!  She booked the lead role in an award-caliber independent film with a great script.

Monti Washington (actor) had his first TV audition ever, big guest star role on Criminal Minds.

Emily Wassler (actor, comedienne, writer) got her first agent, (Howie Mandel’s wife).

Pamela Shaddock (actor) exceeded her goal with booking a recurring role on the ABC family show Chasing Life. (formerly a guest star role for her).

Shelia Crutchlow (actor) booked a national commercial.

Danielle Taddei (actor) enlisted known actress, Amy Pietz, (series regular on Caroline in the City), as her mentor and got her first co-star audition in four years for Ray Donovan.

Joey Rich (actor) took his agency relationship to a new level of communication, which led to his first TV audition ever, a series regular role for a Disney TV show.

Krystal Torres (actor) sent an acknowledgement letter to A-List casting director, Ronna Kress, regarding a series regular role for a pilot and got called in 2 hours after she dropped off the letter to the casting office, (also her first TV audition ever!).

Kalen Feeney (actor, writer) got an audition for a series regular in a pilot, and got major interest in her script.

Jenny Rainwater (actor) got an audition for a feature comedy film starring Jim O’Heir (Parks and Recreation).

Emily Chiu (editor) Since doing Jump Start™ she got her first “sexy” credit working on the film Don Jon directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt which is set for wide release in October!  Then she booked the next Spike Jonze movie!

Sandy Simmons (actor) signed with new representation and booked a juicy role in her first SAG film!

Elisa Olivera (development executive) got a job at head of TV development for benderspink.

Ryan Angel (actor/producer) accomplished her Jump Start™ goal of landing a job Executive Producing a $5m+ feature film!

Stefany Mathias (actor) got her first audition for an HBO TV show.

Thai Douglas (actor) booked a national commercial.

Shirley Claudia Charles (actor) booked two co-stars — Mike and Molly and The Middle, and a national commercial for herself and her four children.

Steven Harper (writer) got hired as a staff writer on Covert Affairs.

Will Hawkes (actor) booked a co-star on TNT’s Leverage and signed with a new manager and agent.

Paul Cuneo (actor) booked a national commercial, a role on The Young and the Restless, an AFTRA new media project, and had two A-list feature auditions.

Angelina Cheng (actor) booked a role on Days of Our Lives and a national commercial.

Inanna Bantu (wardrobe stylist) did 6 commercials with director Tarsem including Lancome with Julia Roberts.

Patrick Gorman (actor) booked a role on a film directed by James Franco and the pilot Sleepy Hollow.  He was upgraded from one week of work to three weeks of work!   He also got his goal of an audition on an A-List Feature Film, and on avail for Modern Family.

Sylvie Obledo (actor) booked a guest star role on Investigative Discovery’s Blood Relatives.

Paolo Januzzi (sound editor) booked a supervising sound editor job on the new William Shatner documentary.

John Schaffer (actor) booked a juicy role on the sitcom Partners.

Nancy Beverly (writer) attached a director to her feature film Shelby’s Vacation, got an Oscar-winning mentor, wrote a business plan and started raising money.

Magi Avila (actor) got two national commercial auditions after having none in two years, booked three V.O. gigs, performed in a tribute concert and got an Hispanic Award nomination.

Erin Stegeman (actor, writer, director) shot her spoof webseries “Once Upon A… Anonymous.”  It was featured on the top two fan sites for the TV show and got over 10,000 hits in the first two weeks.

Joanne Adolfo (make-up artist) secured the mentorship of the owner of the top agency for make-up artists in Los Angeles.

Tara von Baron (director) shot two spec spots for her new commercial reel.

Gregory Lemkin (vfx supervisor) booked and shot three pilots and a Stephen King mini-series in less than a month!

Jessica Friedman (assistant) landed her dream job as an agent-trainee at one of the top agencies!

And over 50 Jump Starters™ signed with new representation!



 “If I had to describe the Jump Start™ experience in one word, it would be transformative.”

“I moved to L.A. to be a comedy writer, but after entering every writing competition in existence without hearing anything back, I was frustrated. I had no idea what to do next and the only advice I got was “just get a writer’s assistant job,” which after years of trying, also seemed impossible. I fell off the writing boat because I didn’t have any deadlines. I binge watched a lot of Game of Thrones and fell into a negative rut. I was “stuck” like never before and it just wasn’t like me. I was hungry for direction, nervous to share my project, and my confidence was shot. I would complain about how I’d get great feedback on scripts from teachers, but I didn’t know how to break in or actually get people in the industry to read my work.

There I was at the Story Expo and I saw Shawn’s class on the little paper schedule. Something inside me told me to attend, since I needed career guidance, but I wasn’t expecting anything life changing. I knew I needed some kind of structure, discipline, and support, but I didn’t know how to get it. I admit that I had my antennae up a little upon entering the room because I’ve heard of career coaches that don’t have the experience, but I thought I’d check it out.

Shawn’s energy in the classroom grabbed me from the first moment and what she said blew my mind. It all just clicked and it was like she was inside my head. I was slightly hesitant because of the price of Jump Start™, but I knew I had my “tires stuck in mud” and what I had done up to that point was not working. I had been “wandering around” with my career while I put my big goals on hold. I followed my gut feeling, spoke to Shawn after class, and signed up immediately with not much money in my bank account. It has been the best decision I have made for my writing career.

I’ve read success books, writing books, discipline books… lots of books. You think you can figure it out yourself, but sometimes, you can’t do it on your own; you need a team, a family. Shawn’s Jump Start™ was a complete 180 because it was that family I needed. I learned clear, tangible tools that I used immediately; none of it’s airy or wishy-washy. These tools have transformed the way I work and interact. Throughout the two day intensive, I switched from having a stream of negative thoughts to having 100% positive, productive thoughts (that has continued for many months after!) My writing schedule shifted from “floating around,” writing a couple hours per week if I felt inspired, to writing and researching 20 hours per week toward my goals.

My anxiety and negative thought patterns have disappeared. I can focus on one task at a time and I feel proactive toward my career rather than “waiting for a magical moment to get discovered!” I love my support system, and I use these new tools at panels, meetings, and in my personal life. Jump Start™ has been empowering, and the best part is the stress and “struggle” is gone. I’m working happily toward my goals and I’m not leaving it up to the universe; I’m putting myself at the helm of the ship.

I cannot recommend Jump Start™ enough. I was in your place too, wondering if the cost was worth it and if it was the real deal. It is, and it is the best decision you can make. You can ask my friends because I rave about it every day. Since starting Jump Start™, I’ve connected with people in the industry and my productivity is through the roof. I’m also more present, focused, and I wake up excited. I never have a second thought ever about my career or moving back home. These are things you can’t just read in a book and do on your own. So if any of this is resonating with you or you feel stuck, Jump Start™ really is transformative, and I can’t recommend it enough.”- Lisa Ridarelli, writer

“I graduated from one of the country’s most selective film schools in 2008 with an MFA in directing, and while the experience was fulfilling creatively, professionally l felt adrift.

After several years – yes, years – of feeling lost, I finally signed up for Jump Start™. While I was skeptical as to whether Jump Start™ would work for me, the fact was that I simply wasn’t where I wanted to be in my career, and I couldn’t deny that.  I thought Jump Start™ might be just the thing to change that, and what an understatement that turned out to be.

The insights and techniques that Shawn introduced during the very first weekend of Jump Start™ were supremely powerful. I came away with insights into myself, my behaviors and my goals, and left armed with an arsenal of tools and skills to turn things around. And the tools introduced by Shawn were not only powerful but persistent: I continue to use them every day, and they have changed not only my approach professionally but how I see myself in this business.

tara von baronI am a different person today because of Jump Start™.  I am aware of what I’m doing and where I’m going, and actively working every day to achieve it. And I would not be in this place without the instruction and guidance provided by Shawn. Jump Start™ entitled me to stake out a place in this industry and actually feel in control of my career, and that feeling is priceless.  My only regret is that I didn’t enroll sooner.”– Tara von Baron, Director


“Shawn Tolleson’s Jump Start™ program is a wonderfully effective way to create a rapid, powerful surge in your career. My goals have never been clearer nor more attainable, and the best part has been the immediate results. Shawn’s way of shifting attitude and focus from stymied and stuck to productive and triumphant is absolutely uncanny. I wouldn’t have thought it would work so potently had I not experienced it first hand. I recommend Jump Start™ to any actor, writer, director, producer — anyone with a creative mission who wants to take their professional career to the highest level. Of course, you have to put in the work – but the work is made CLEAR and eminently achievable. Jump Start™ will show you where you need to be and how to get there, faster than you think possible. And it’s fun!” -Suzanne Ford, Actress

“Jump Start™ was simply amazing! The clarity on my goals and dreams that I gained from the program was just what I needed to get things in motion. All of the great tools of the program really gives an actor a clear-cut direction. Because of her program, I was able to not only accomplish but EXCEED the goal I set!  So, rather than getting a co-star audition, I got a GUEST STAR audition on Criminal Minds, which as I’m writing this, I am still waiting confirmation that I got the part.  More than anything, what I gained from this were great friendships and relationships. Had the pleasure of meeting some really great people who I feel will be acquaintances for many years to come! Thank you Shawn for helping little ole me out!” –Monti Washington, Actor

“If you need a swift, polite kick in the butt to get moving in your career… go see Shawn. Jump Start™ changed my life. I have become more organized, focused and confident in the past two months than I have in the past two years in my pursuit of an acting and writing career.

Not only did I finish writing my pilot on the last day of the seminar, I got an agent halfway through. Simply put, this course is magic. Shawn’s advice and knowledge have launched me in a way I could not have done alone. My fellow Jump Starters are the most amazing people who have pushed, coached, encouraged and supported me. Not only have I met my future colleagues, I have made lifelong friends.

Life-changing is an understatement.” –Emily Wassler, Actress/Comedian/Writer

“I had been SAG Eligible for probably going on 7 years and spending an incredible amount of time doing both union and non-union hosting, commercial and spokesperson work. Don’t get me wrong, it usually paid fairly well, but not well enough to be able kick my part-time gig that was supplementing my income. Not to mention I was saying yes to every free, creative project that came my way in an effort to be inspired again because I missed it so much. I was working 7 days a week. I had so many auditions and shoots peppered in with my part-time job, my life was a logistical nightmare and I wasn’t really doing the thing that I really wanted to do; work on roles I could sink my teeth into.

So I knew I needed to do something, but I didn’t know what. Then I got an email about a free seminar Shawn was putting on. I had met her 10 years ago at a screenwriter/producer event and just remembered her being really inspiring and energetic and my memory of her just stuck. So I signed up. We were about 30 minutes in when another actor got up to work out his breakthrough goal and I was like, oh my god, that’s what I want. Why can’t I seem to get it?

Since working with Shawn I went from zero TV auditions to 5 in 10 months, I finally joined SAG and started saying no when it didn’t align with my goals.

I am also a producer and have been working on one feature for a couple of years. We got our first investor for the feature film Father Eddie a year and a half ago. And since then, have raised $200K in in kind investment and $160K in cash and we are starting principal photography on film January 2nd.

annie willet thomasShawn also guided me through reconnecting with someone I haven’t seen or spoken to in 15 years. By contacting him, I now have a high level meeting at Lionsgate once we attach our cast for the film.

Perhaps more importantly than the tangible results are the tools that I’ve gotten from Shawn. For example when I get derailed, I am able to back on track much quicker than I did in the past.

The support system that I have gotten from the programs and other people in them has been a total game changer. And keeps me moving forward instead of on a rinse and repeat.

If any of what Shawn or anyone else on the room has said resonates with you don’t wait to take Jump Start.”  -Annie Willett-Thomas, Actress/Producer


“Shawn, I want to convey to you that your Jump Start™ program is absolutely LIFE CHANGING.  It is Show Business after all and “No,” I have never really known how to go about the Business part of Show Business.  I have done a little bit of what you teach from time to time, but you have taught and emphasized that this business thing is a concrete and clear way in which to methodically go about creating lists and methodologies to get organized and stay organized.  I think a very grand side effect of Jump Start™ is to take the MYSTERY out of Hollywood itself.  Yes, a few went to Schwabs Drugstore but that is all fairy wand-waving.  You’ve helped me just get down to the nitty gritty of laying the stepping stones, then keep going and have fun.  I also want to tell you how much I appreciate who you are, your contagion of good humor, your spontaneous laughter, your incisiveness and understanding and your problem solving and great creativity and your ability to have that rub off while you teach.  You have a gift of embracing and acknowledging all who you encounter.  You are a gift.  Thank you so very much.”  – Flo Lawrence, Actress Disappearing Bakersfield, The Lords of Salem


“Shawn has a gift! She is a master at pin pointing the issues that block your progress and provides a proven method that generates results time and time again no matter the industry. Whether you work with her privately or in a group your career will never be the same.

It was very helpful for me to do Jump Start™ again. I personally like doing Jump Start™ in the beginning of the year, because it helps me plan for the year with feedback and brainstorming with other individuals.  The first time I did Jump Start™ I didn’t know what to expect and was trying to process all the information…it was exciting and overwhelming all at once.  Since I knew what to expect it allowed me to be clearer on what I wanted to get out of the work and strengthen the areas I felt I didn’t grasp the first time. When you do the work again you hear things that you may not have heard the first time or reinforce skills you already have.  Thanks Shawn!!!”  – Shirley Claudia Charles, Actress The Guilt Trip, Mike & Molly, The Middle


“Shawn, I took your advice and pushed to be my best and I met and exceeded my Jump Start™ goals. Jump Start™ has helped me to get a manager, book a personal meeting with two Casting Directors, a producer from a top 10 hit list show, and two theatrical agents. I booked a SAG commercial for M&M’s and a juicy role on a feature film in my first month of Jump Start™.

Thank you for all you do Shawn, may it come back to you a hundred fold!”  – Sandy Simmons, Actress Cleaver Family Reunion, The Unjust, The Hughleys


“Jump Start™ helped catapult my career and helped me on the super highway to achieving my goals. I didn’t know anyone in show business. Jump Start™ helped me formulate an EFFECTIVE strategy to meet and connect with industry professionals.

Now I have influential people in the industry as my mentors and true believers. For that, I am forever grateful.

I’ve made tremendous inroads as a professional makeup artist with Shawn’s tools. Shawn has helped me focus on what I really desire in my career. I’ve become a magnet for my goals.

I highly recommend taking Jump Start™, especially if you have a new focus in your career or want to elevate your career to the next level.”  – Joanne Adolfo, Make-up Artist Rebound 



“Shawn helped me realize that in order to work on the quality of projects that I desired, understanding and investing in the business of being an actor is as vital as working on my skills as an actor. In Jump Start™ I identified specific career goals, developed effective networking and pitching tools, and began creating a professional support team to help me achieve those goals. More effective and efficient, I am now operating with the same level of commitment to my career as I am to my craft. And it is paying off.”  – Will Hawkes, Actor New Girl, Leverage


“I am a British actress and I moved to the United States a year ago.  The entertainment industry here in Los Angeles works very different to the United Kingdom so I was finding it hard to navigate my way around.  With Jump Start™, Shawn provided me with information about the industry and the best approaches for making connections and building relationships.

We worked on what I need to do to let people know that I am here and when I meet them, to present myself powerfully as an equal and not with an agenda of ‘what can you do for me?’ but ‘what can I do for you?’  Shawn reminded me to be excited about myself (which is easy to forget to do) so that others can be excited about me too!

I am passionate about my career and Jump Start™ has shown me how to make the most of my time and given me the tools to pursue my goals and dreams with focus and commitment.”  – Julia Farino, Actress In Suspicious Circumstances


ryanangel“I recently completed the Jump Start™ program with Shawn.  Not only did I meet my producing goal (before the course ended) but I made new friends and met future colleagues.

Jump Start™ provided the framework that allowed me to focus on what my goals are and how to achieve them.  I can and will reuse these tools as I continue to set new goals.  I know I haven’t mastered all of the tools, Shawn packs in a huge amount of information in a short time, but I know that I am on my way to achieving all of my goals and that is a wonderful feeling.”  – Ryan Angel, Actress/Producer Call Box, Dead in the Head


Do you want confidence, focus and results like these?   Check back to my website as the year unfolds with information on the next Jump Start™…

In the meantime, check out my Breakthrough Store!!