As a professional actor, I am continually bombarded by questions from young actors or those who are just curious about this business. While some of the questions may range from, “Do they really get naked?” to, “Are celebrities really as crazy as they seem?” however, one of the most commonly asked questions is, “What makes a good acting resume?”
When I was outlining this article, I became stumped. What truly makes a great acting resume? Of course, there are certain elements that come to mind; however, these fundamental aspects of an acting resume are true for any type of resume.
When it comes to acting resumes, the primary goal is to accurately highlight your training, experience and qualifications. I have cultivated several tips to help actors create this essential tool.
Current Contact/Physical Information
My first talent agent helped cultivate my resume, and the tips she provided me are useful a decade later. Perhaps one of the most important tips for an acting resume is to ensure that your contact information is accurate. If you have an agent, then this information must be for your agent (some agencies even require their letterhead to be placed on your resume). If you do not have an agent, or wish to submit to projects outside of your agent’s observation, make sure that your contact information contains your current cell phone number (or house phone) and email address. Don’t bother putting your home address; especially if you’re submitting your resume to independent projects – too risky.
Every actor resume, whether or not it’s for an agency, must include your physical information. While there are many different opinions about the information that should be included within this section, the following should be the only information included in this portion:
Height, weight, hair color and eye color.
Of course, if your agent requires more information, do what he suggests.
Accurate Experience Organization
The organization of your experience is based on the type of projects you wish to be cast in. For example, if your primary auditions are for stage productions, you must place your theater/stage credits before film and other credits. On the flip side, if film or television is your primary goal, place your film credits first, followed by your TV credits followed by your theater credits.
Make sure that this information is laid out with the name of the production, your role (character) and the director or production company.
Honest Training and Special Skills
Following your experience, you must ensure that you list your training experience as well as any special skills you may have. The entertainment industry is surprisingly tight-knit, especially in towns such as Atlanta, Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Austin. Make sure that you are honest with your training as well as special skills. Even if you don’t have a myriad of training and skills, don’t lie. Casting directors and talent agents will find out – and when they do, it won’t be pretty.