Whenever you go to an audition, you are expected to leave the casting folks a headshot card, not just a snapshot, but an 8 x 10 headshot with your name pre-printed on the front side. Everybody knows that, but what a lot of people don’t think about is having a resume to accompany that headshot.
The acting business is a highly competitive field and your resume is a very important piece of information that can truly make the difference in getting selected for a part . . or not. If a choice comes down to two similar looking people who have comparable “reads” in an audition, and one leaves a resume and the other not, the odds favor the selection of the one with a good resume.
Your resume should fit on one side of a sheet and should be attached to the backside of your headshot card. Most people simply staple the resume to the headshot at the four corners. You often are asked for two headshots and each should have a resume attached so that the information all stays together. Don’t walk in and hand the casting folks a headshot and a separate resume, expecting the casting people to keep up with both or clip them together for you. You do it before you get there.
A sure way to keep your resume with your headshot is to have your resume run off on the back of the headshot. Just run a few headshot cards, backside up, through the copy machine with your resume on the copy plate. Then you have a headshot with your current resume printed right on the back.
Let me caution that you only run maybe 4 headshots at a time this way. Why? Your resume may need to be changed and updated frequently. If, before your next audition you get a commercial or attend a workshop, your resume needs to have that new information on there . . . and here you are stuck with 25 headshots with less than current info on them. It only takes a minute to run just a few and it is also easy to update your resume sheet, so you can see where I’m coming from. Don’t “waste” those headshots, but DO make the very best use of them by always having your updated resume attached.
What does a good working resume contain? —next blog.
A Good Working Resume
Casting people are busy people. They have a lot of people to sort through in an unbearably short span of time, and they simply do not have the luxury to take as much time as you might like. So, it is up to you to give them the cleanest (fat free), most accurate, and up to date resume possible.
It begins with your name and your contact information. Your contact information could be your agency and their contact information, which is the proper chain of contact. If you are not with an agency, give your name and contact phone numbers and email. There is NOTHING more frustrating to an agent or casting director than not being able to contact you day or night. There is little use for your street address in your contact information because you will not be contacted by mail and your street address is no one else’s business anyway. Keep it simple and clean.
Your “stats” should be next: Height, Measurements, Hair and Eye Color (should be evident from your headshot), Dress size, Sportcoat size, Shoe size should be enough. For children, current clothing sizes and hair and eye color are all that is necessary.
Then you should list your experience— the things you have done:
Keep it simple and to the point, i.e. the name of the play or movie, the name of the character, and the director . . . and that’s it. The casting director doesn’t have the time or inclination to read a biography or the details other than just those facts. Don’t attempt to pad a resume with things like “I was a butterfly in the second grade spring play”. That does not impress and will get you a quick trip to the trash can.
Follow “Experience” with “Training”—pertinent training. They don’t care that you attended a financial planning seminar at the local library—they DO care that you attended Karen Lee’s “Runway” workshop at the American Talent Showcase/Model Jam America. And, again just the facts:
Workshop — Runway Technique — Karen Lee — American Talent Showcase/Model Jam America.
Every workshop, seminar, personal training whether one-on-one or as a group, ALL should be listed. These are legitimate and important things for your resume. They not only make you better at what you do, but are strong resume builders.
You can follow this with things like Awards:
Gold Medal—T.V. Commercial—American Talent Showcase/Model Jam America, etc.
Awards, certificates, titles, etc. attest to your skills validated by professionals in the industry.
Finally, you might want to list special skills, but again, keep it pertinent. Things like skilled horseback rider, fluent in 5 languages, are useful, but I think I’ll cry if I have to hear or see “I can cry on cue” or “burp on command” one more time.
And, one last thing, it is much to your advantage if you can keep your resume to one single page. This is a case where enough is simply enough.
Things to remember:
Keep your resume updated. Every time you do a commercial or print job or attend any sort of training or seminar, go to a convention or conference, put these things on there. Don’t rely on long past things. You may have appeared on Leave It To Beaver, but what have you done lately? That’s what the casting directors want to know. And when you go to conferences like the American Talent Showcase and Model Jam America, there are numerous opportunities for workshops and training—every single one adds to your skills and adds solid credits to your working resume. Click on www.Z1ModelsAndTalent.com and check out “ATS/MJA”