Directors usually like to work with people who know what to do. In the same respect do not inflate your roles you add to your written resume you never know who is reading!
You can set up a generic cover letter and quickly tailor it to the needs of a production. A personal cover letter shows that the actor has at least read the part description and it also gives a hint as to how intelligent he or she is.
Building Your Acting Resume
You can divide your resume into sections that describe each area of your career, experience and training. Awards and honors that you have received are a very important part of the written resume. You should include all awards, honors, and critiques you have received. Training and education both formal and informal should be detailed along with organization involvement, industry memberships, and professional affiliations.
Be sure that you don’t lie on your resume. Don’t make things up such as special skills or write things just to fill up your acting resume. You should try to keep your acting resume within one letter-sized document. You don’t want your resume to be too lengthy.
Be sure to use an appropriate font style so that your resume is easily readable to everyone. Look at your head shot and make sure that it really shows your face. Use your best head shot that still reflects your current look.
Make sure your contact information is current and up-to-date and be sure to include your email address. You want the casting director to be able to contact you if he or she is interested in calling you back. The next thing you’ll need to work on is your verbal resume.
Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Acting Resume, The Do and Do Not list of Acting Resumes
Do Keep it to the point. Stick to the point of your “acting” experience and credits, try not to wonder off into jobs and subjects that are not of interest to a casting director. You need to get your best work across as quickly as possible. If you bore the casting director with useless info at the beginning then he may toss it before even getting to the good stuff.
Do keep the font simple and the layout clean. Avoid fancy fonts and keep it easily readable. Your art comes through on a stage, not on paper.
Do Spell check!!!! Kinda a no brainer, but people still forget to do it. Proof your resume and allow a friend to proof it as well to catch any mistakes you may have missed.
Do keep it neat looking by using the same size paper for the head shot and resume.
Do stay focused to your acting goals.
Do add your contact info, people sometimes forget that part. If you have an agent you would use your agents phone number, your cell number, email and a link to your online portfolio, reel or website. Do not list a street address.
Do not add stuff as filler just to make it seem longer. You do not need a 2 page + resume. Try to keep it all to one page staying focused on your best work. If you were in 17 school plays last year or the countless non speaking extra parts, no body needs to hear about every tiny role you had… only the best roles.
Do Not use a chronological resume format unless it’s the most appropriate because you had long running productions and very few. Generally, a chronological resume does not arrange information well for actors. You always want to highlight your best work at the top and not make someone search for it on a page by date.
Do Not lie about experience. It’s very easy to lie about acting experience, classes taken, etc. Avoid doing so, you will get caught.
Do Not name drop. Knowing someone has no effect on your skills and will make you look like a star struck novice.
A Standard Acting Resume Model
An acting resume should contain the following:
- First and last name
- Your contact info as well as your agents info, if you have one. If you have an agent you would use your agents name and phone number, your cell number, email and a link to your online portfolio, reel or website.
- Union affiliations if any.
- Your stats – height, weight, hair and eye color, vocal range. Also the range of ages you can play if applicable (people disagree about this one).
- Acting credits, a sample of your work and experience level. List some of your best and more recent work.
- Special talents such as dance, musical instruments, singing. Extra skills such as languages spoken, physical abilities, martial arts skills, etc.
- Education and Acting Classes
- Any awards you have recieved
- Any extracurricular activities or hobbies that may be of interest to a casting director (keep this very short)
- Any additional information that may be specific to certain roles
ok you say do not put background work on resume. How do I let casting directors and agents know how much work I have done if I don’t put that down?
You normally do not include background work because it is not acting. Extras are NOT actors. If you are looking for an acting agent, they want to see actual acting experience. You include any actual acting experience and training such as community theater, student films, etc. If you do not have any such experience, you probably have to get some before any acting agent will accept you.
where do you get the right information instead of these websites asking for a fee for auditions? I used to get late emails for casting calls but by the time I get them it was 2 days past the audition date.
That is why most actors need an agent. An agent gives their talent audition information. You will not find a website that sends you free, timely alerts for every audition for free.
This was very helpful and truly appreciate it! It’s rare these days when you can get quality information free.
Hi, thanks for the info. I was considering joining one of those sites that asks for a fee. I do have a question. Do you know of a great talent agency in atlanta, waycross, or brunswick GA.
However, I am a bit cynical because so many of these talent sites are scams. They sell people on a false statement such as “100’s of casting directors use this site daily to fill roles”. Those statements are always false.
However, I am also working on a new site that will allow profiles & portfolios. No fees involved. It is not yet ready, but if you join the mailing list, you will get an email when it is. By mailing list I just mean the small form at the top right that gets your info. I do not sell nor spam the emails.
I’m new to this business and really appreciate what you have listed here to help the novices, like me. I have already met talent locations seeking fees to “maintain” their sites…and have decided against that. Notwithstanding, and after researching via BBB and noting an exceptionally high rating for them, I found that one company seems like a good deal and wanted your feedback. Do you know anything about “Agency Pro Talent”? Their fee is very reasonable at approx $9.00/month to maintain and the mock up portfolio that they created for me online looks very professional. I just want to make sure that if I join that my information/consideration will be nationwide (esp for NYC, DC, PA) and not simply the smaller region where I reside. Do you have any thoughts re this company and their success rate for national placement(s)? Thanks.
HI, I know nothing about them, but what I do know is that most casting directors DO NOT take links to profiles, they only want a headshot and resume sent to their email which connects to their Blackberries. There are far too many companies that charge a fee for online portfolios, stuff that you can do on your own with facebook, MySpace, etc. Most are in some 3rd world country where 50 bucks pays their rent for a month. Either way… most casting directors do not like online links and appreciate someone actually following their submission instructions… such as email headshot and resume to so and so addy. Never, ever believe that you are paying for a spot on a site that casting directors visit to find talent. It is simply not true, no one has that kind of time to burn to find “new faces”… everyone you do not know is a new face.