Jump starting your acting career always starts with your very first acting audition. An acting audition is the entertainment industry’s equivalent to a job interview and for this, you will need an actor’s resume. It is a prerequisite that requires an applicant to showcase their range of talents, which will help in determining if they are qualified for a role or not.
Before you can go on a job hunt in the industry, you must remember that any audition or casting call is exactly just like any type of interview for a job. And, like any other job interview, it will require you to provide a well made resume. The only difference here is that it should be attached to your headshot.
An actor’s resume and headshot is the business’ counterpart to a business card. These are basically the tools you can use to market yourself to casting directors. And, although your talents and skills are the primary factors that will help you land a role, your marketing tools are equally as important. They should be designed to give casting directors a glimpse of your professional profile in the industry.
A properly made resume must mirror an actor’s level of professionalism. And, contrary to what most people think, casting directors do appreciate browsing through one that has been flawlessly created.
Making an acting resume is easier than you think. Although there are several talent agencies that could do this for you, honing your resume making skills is actually an advantage in the industry.
Whether you’re starting out or just making an update, it is important to put together a resume that will not just showcase your strengths as an actor, but can also boost your credibility for a role. In other words, make this tool work for you.
While a headshot can be done with the help of a professional photographer, a resume is something you can devote your time and energy on. So, take time to learn the industry’s standards on how to put together a professional actor’s resume by following the tips below:
An actor’s resume is quite different from the typical job resume. There are certain things that you should keep in mind when making one for yourself. Before we get into the details of what should comprise the typical acting resume and how to correctly fill in the sections, do not forget to learn these important guidelines on how to put together your own acting resume.
- Provide accurate information.
Need we say more?
Fabricating information on your resume will certainly destroy your credibility as an actor. It will also destroy your chances of ever getting booked for a role or even getting an audition.
The entertainment industry has its ways of verifying information they have seen on your resume. No amount of covering up can save you from the disastrous mistake of making things up or lying. This undesirable move will certainly put a stop on your attempts of ever getting your acting career on track.
It is okay if you barely have anything to put on your resume, especially if you are just starting out. Just provide the necessary information which you think will help increase your chances of landing the role. Even the smallest of roles in a production can help build up your resume. Your acting experience will eventually shape up as you move along your career.
- Keep it simple.
A resume is a reflection of the applicant’s personality. More importantly though, it also shows their level of professionalism.
No matter how colorful your personality may be, it is important to keep your resume clean and free of unnecessary distractions. Make sure that your entire document contains the right format.
When it comes to using the type of font for the resume, it is recommended that you should use Times New Roman, Georgia and Arial. The standard font sizes used on the resumes must range from a minimum 10 point to a maximum of 12 point. You can capitalize, italicize or even underline as long as you use black ink and the information can be easily read. This will provide a cleaner and more professional output.
Use only black colored ink when printing your resume. Ensure readability by providing information from left to right or top to bottom order. It is advisable to use white or cream colored paper for this purpose. Should you wish to print your resume on your headshot, it is crucial that you edit the size of your document before printing it out. It is to ensure that it will fit the 8 ½ by 11 size of your headshot.
- Fit everything on one sheet of paper.
Although it is tempting to barrage your resume with every bit of information about your acting career, don’t. Casting directors do not have the pleasure of time to browse through every role or training you did.
Take only significant roles and training which you think will improve your credibility for the acting jobs you applying for at that moment. Arrange them according to the most recent and place them under their respective categories.
- Keep your information up to date.
One of the most important tips you should not forget is to update your resume. Whether it’s a change of hair color or contact number, it is important to include these on your document. Make certain that the dates and venues are also correct.
Also, it is best that you proofread the information you have provided, so you make sure that your resume is free from any grammatical and spelling errors.
- Attach your headshot together with your resume.
Your headshot serves as a visual representation of yourself together with your resume. You have the option of stapling this to your resume or you can directly print your resume on the back of the photo. If you wish to staple your resume together with your photo, staple them in all four corners of the photo.
Do not forget that the standard size of a headshot is 8 ½ by 11 inches.
It is also imperative for you to put your name, contact information and acting agency on the back of your headshot. In cases when your resume and headshot will get separated from each other, the information at the back of your photo provide casting directors ways to contact you.
The Actor’s Resume
An actor’s resume is divided into four different sections. Each section provides a brief summary that displays not just the experience and training, but also shows the actor’s various strengths that can help them land a specific role.
Learn the basic format that contains the actor’s resume and know how to properly put in the information needed from the guidelines below:
This particular section is located on the top most portion of the resume. It contains your basic information, which should include your name, contact information, physical description and affiliation. You have the option to align the information either on the left side or the right side of the page. Several industry experts would recommend that you place your information on the center.
Your name should be bold in format and must be slightly bigger that the rest of the information on the resume. You can also use a different font for your name. You can either place your stage name or your real name on the resume. Keep in mind that the name you have chosen must be the name that you want to consistently use all throughout your career.
You can use the same font on your resume and headshot to indicate consistency with your marketing tools.
Your contact information should contain your updated contact numbers, e-mail address and your agency’s contact information. For those who are not represented by an agency, directly place your contact details below your name using a smaller font.
Another part of the heading contains your physical description. This section must only contain your current weight, height, eye color and hair color. Depending on the role, it is advisable to put additional information on the heading. If you are auditioning for a singing part, you can include your vocal type and range.
The last part of the header should contain the unions you are affiliated with. Union affiliations could include Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), among others.
Acting Experience or Acting Credits
This is the part of the resume you can fill out with your acting credits. This is the perfect opportunity for you to put emphasis on the acting credits that will strongly highlight your talents and skills fit for the role you are applying for.
Your acting credits can come from the film, television or theater. You can also include other projects like webisodes. Organize your acting credits under the respective category they fall in. Prioritize your best acting credits under their corresponding categories.
This particular section is usually divided into three columns. The left column contains the name or title of the project. The middle column contains the information or the type of role you had, while the right column contains the name of the production company. Never forget to include your name and the type of role for each acting credit.
There are several types of roles that depend on their contribution to the whole production. Two of these major roles are the speaking and non-speaking roles.
There are three types of speaking roles: the lead, the principal and the supporting. Lead roles are usually those with several speaking lines and interaction with the major characters. This type of role is usually featured in several episodes or parts of the film or movie. The role can feature a protagonist, antagonist, leading man or ingénue. It is applicable for both film and TV.
The principal role usually has recurring scenes with the lead role. This can range from detectives to girlfriends depending on the need of the production. Meanwhile, the supporting role usually has limited airtime in the entire production. This role can range from waitresses to reporters depending on what is particularly needed in the project.
Non-speaking roles are composed of featured roles, extras, stunt performer, stand-ins, body doubles and stunt doubles. Featured roles are roles that provide credibility to the scene. Extras serve as background characters used to complete a particular scene.
Stunt performers specialize in stunt performances, while stand-ins have another particular function in the production. They are usually people who possess similar identical physical features with the lead actor. Their purpose is to stand in for the actor in scenes with long setups allowing the actor to prepare for the actual filming.
Body doubles are usually the replacement during shots or scenes that require physical fitness or nudity. The actors whose bodies are not ideal for the impression a director is aiming for, has clauses in their respective contracts that will not allow them to go nude in particular shots.
The stunt double is basically a stunt performer, who fills in for the actor during stunt performances.
There are several other categories you can place under this section. Other categories can include industrials, print, commercial or voice overs which are applicable only for TV or film. Should you wish to include additional prominent roles, do not forget to indicate on the section “List to Be Provided upon Request”. Ensure that you have the list prepared should there be a need for them to see it.
Do not worry if you could only provide a handful of acting credits to your name, especially if you are just starting out in the business. Every role counts, even if it is just a small background role. Take every acting credit on your resume as the perfect opportunity to showcase your talent. Your acting credits will slowly build up as you go along your career.
This part of the resume contains all formal and informal training that you have received over the course of building your acting repertoire.
Formal training are usually degree or degrees associated with acting. It should come first and must contain your major as well as the name and location of the school. If you are currently studying, kindly indicate your graduation date instead.
Informal training usually covers additional training. It can come from participating in acting classes, workshops, seminars and private coaching. It can also cover other fields associated with acting such as singing, dancing and even stunt performing.
Its format is similar to that of the Experience section of the resume. For beginners, this is one particular section in the resume that should be well developed.
This particular section of the resume is where you can put additional skills like doing celebrity impersonations or speaking three other languages. Be selective of the skills that you want to include in this section. Put only the skills that can enhance your chances of being considered in a production.
Whether it is dance, music, athletics or even combat ability, you can include them in this portion of the resume. Categorize them and indicate your level of proficiency for each skill.
Do not put in hobbies, but rather things that you are proficient at. The same level of professionalism must also be seen in this section of your resume.
People often think that you have to rely heavily on your acting talents and skills to bag the role you are auditioning for. However, not many know the importance of putting together a good resume and headshot.
Contrary to what most people say and think, sometimes it is your resume and headshot that first create an impression among casting directors. They represent your professional profile in the industry and are what can initially be seen by the casting directors before they would even give you the chance to see you and your talent.
Remember that people in the industry highly value professionalism. It can come from a variety of sources and not just by how you deliver yourself in front of the casting directors or how you perform during production.
The best way to make a good impression is to put your best foot forward and you can do this by presenting a really good resume, along with your headshot. Being a first timer or a newbie should not hinder you from putting together a good resume. If you don’t have acting credits to highlight yet, then input your skills and training that will increase your chances of bagging the role. Your acting resume will slowly build up as you book more roles and auditions in the future.
Resume making skills is a must in this industry. It will help you tailor fit your ‘business card’ in a way that will show you are simply the person perfect for the role. Should you wish to develop more of your resume making skills, do not hesitate to look at other acting resumes and headshots that can be found on other sources such as the Internet. Make your actor’s resume and headshot work for you.
Everything You Need to Know About an Actor’s Resume by Holly Bissonnette