The Acting Resume... It's an Art
Ahhhh, the "Acting" resume. For the beginning actor, it can become quite cumbersome. What do I list? What category does a music video fall under? Should I list my ability to burp on command? The answer is this... The simpler, the better. Often times your Acting Coach or Agent has a specific template that can be used to help, all you have to do is ask.
Now that you are ready to put together, or brush up that talent resume, here are a few Do's and Don'ts that can help point you in the right direction!
Lie: This is the number one rule of resumes. It can be very tempting to list a bigger role than you may have had, or maybe a role you never had, after all who will know... right? WRONG! As big as the Entertainment Industry is, it is still a small, small world. You never know who worked on what project, or who the Casting Director knows.
When it comes to your resume, as my Mama always says, "Honesty is the BEST policy." It's OK if you don't have a ton of experience, you never know what they are looking for, and if you are talented enough, they aren't going to care if you played "dead body" or Agent Stabler (Awwww, Christopher Meloni) on SVU. If they like you, they like you. Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) went from Limo driver to Oscar contender with no experience. Great talent will be recognized.
List Silly Talents:When it comes to the "Special Skills" section of a resume... keep it simple. Casting Directors really don't care if you can type 50 words per minute, or play a mean air guitar, that will not encourage them to book you, nor will they think it's cute. Think anything that can help book you and most importantly, anything you arewillingand able to do on the spot if asked. Don't write singing, if you are too shy to sing in front of people. Also, make sure you are talented at the skills you list, not a novice or just a dabbling.
Good examples: Swimming, Trained Singing, Hip-Hop Dancer, Horse Back Riding, Roller Skating, Teleprompter Trained, Martial Arts (brown belt), Licensed Driver, Basketball, Soccer, Dialects (French, English, Irish, Southern).
Bad Examples: Text Messaging, Microsoft Word, Good with the Ladies, Personable, Air Guitar, Video Games, World of Warcraft.
List Personal Information:Your age, date of birth, social security number, and address never belong on a resume. I have seen this way too many times. Beautiful, young actresses and actors, with all their personal information on their resumes...ITS DANGEROUS! If you are represented by an agency you should have THEIR information on your resume so if you book a job, the client is contacting them personally. If you are not represented by an agency list your name, email address and mobile phone number only. Again, if you have an agent, you should always put them as your point of contact on your resume, its much safer.
The reason you don't put age or DOB, is you want the Casting Director to use their imagination when it comes to your age... technically you are whatever age they want you to be!
List your Training:Putting college and high schools attended with majors on your acting resume is not necessary, unless you went to a school specializing in The Arts (Julliard, AMDA, AADA, etc.) Do however, include your training. Make sure you include your teacher and the location of your training, as well. Include all the basics (Acting, Voice, Dance) and the specialty courses too (Stage Combat, Voice and Speech, Dialect Coaching etc.) These are important to remember, especially if you are a newbie. You may not have tons of experience, but it shows you are dedicated, trained, and educated enough to begin your career.
Keep it Current:Make sure you are updating your resume every time you are working. If you do it as you go, it will be a less daunting task than trying to update every six months or so. Do it while it's still fresh in your mind. Once you update remember to send an updated copy to your agent and to update it on any casting sites you may be listed on.
Check for formatting and Grammar:If you read my blog, you may know I am not known for my grammar... I chalk that up to being passionate about what I am writing and therefore room for error (insert ashamed look here), but when it comes to my resume, it is pristine. If you are not good at grammar, spelling, or formatting, have someone who is check it over... twice. Misspelled words and incorrect formatting make you look sloppy as a talent. Make sure you presenting the best headshot and resume you can.
Keep in mind that every agent is different and may want things listed in a distinctive way. Always make sure you have your agent or acting coach review your resume to assure it's reaching its full potential.