First up, winning a highly prized spot at the drama school where some of the acting world's greatest names honed their talents.
Thousands of hopefuls apply each year for one of only dozens of places on the Acting Musical Theatre course at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
"We wouldn't offer a place unless we saw the raw talent," said course leader Wendy Gadian.
"We need to absolutely see the gold".
A stone's throw from the iconic Abbey Road Studios, in north-west London, the school, known as Central, was founded in 1906 and has since established a global reputation.
Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave and Martin Freeman studied at the school, where AFP followed some of its current budding actors with a passion for musicals over several months as they were put through their paces in preparation for the all-important auditions.
In a rehearsal studio on a February afternoon, around 30 students get to grips with "Grand Hotel", a musical adaptation of the 1929 novel by Vicki Baum.