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The Beginner Acting Resume Format, And Beyond...

The proper acting resume format is essential if you want to book an acting job. But what if you have no experience? Or worse: What if you have tons of experience and just can't find a way to organize it?

Simple. Tell them how to cast you. Every shred of information on that page should teach a casting director to hire you according to your type: The good girl, the boy next door, the biker chick, the business man...

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the very beginning. (A very good place to start...)

Name, Stats, and Contact Info

Just like any other kind of resumé, your acting resume format should start with your name. Put it in big, bold letters at the top of the page.

Your name is followed by your height and weight. Some actors mention their hair and eye color too. But if your professional headshots are in color (and they should be), and they're stapled to the back of your resumé (and they should be), it's just a waste of valuable page real estate.

If you sing, put down your voice part. And if you belong to any of the unions, put down the acronym. (i.e: AEA, AFTRA, and/or SAG)

Acting Resume Format

Finally, round it out with your contact info. Your cell phone number and email address specifically. If you have an agent/manager/feudal lord, list their contact info instead.

Theatre Credits

Here's where we really get down to business. Most actors tend to list their theatre credits first. Why? Because casting directors know their theatre. Chances are, that's where they got their start. However, if you're agressive about film and TV, then list those credits first.

Don't get carried away with this section. Your instinct will be to list every show you've ever done. Don't. Instead, create a small list of roles you've played and could play again. Remember, tell them how to cast you.

Other Credits

Beneath your theatre cred, you can list other mediums where you have experience. Film, television, voiceover, commercial, etc. The same rules apply from above. Don't get carried away.

Education and Training

If you have any arts-related education, it goes in the "Education and Training" section. I'm sure you must have a little training, right? (Hint: Your middle or high school drama club counts.)

Special Skills

Sometimes, casting directors are looking for someone who can juggle, or do a back handspring, or simply has a passport. All of these abilities go under "Special Skills" at the bottom of the page. The more skills you have, the more marketable you are.

Acting Resume Format Tips & Tricks

  • One page only. It's tempting to expand your resume beyond one page, but don't.

  • Eight by ten, please. Your standard headshot is eight inches by ten inches. And since it gets attached to the back, your resumé should also be that size.

  • Professional credits go first. Then come your educational credits, and then your community theatre credits. As you gain more experience, start to eliminate the amateur credits.

  • K.I.S.S. I had a professor in college who taught me the acronym K.I.S.S., which is short for Keep It Simple ****head. (A profane bunch, my mentors...)

    This maxim applies to many things in life, but he was referring to my acting resume. It was overcrowded with every role I had played and every class I'd taken. I wanted to impress casting directors, but I was actually just turning them off. And making myself less likely to land an acting job.

    Don't make that same mistake. Remember: KISS KISS...

A final word of advice: The acting resume format is always different. Every actor's story is unique, and so every resumé is unique. Use my guidelines of course, but find a way to tell them where you've been and what you can do.

If you need a clearer picture of an acting resume format, you should take a look at my acting resume samples. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, there's an example that's right for you.

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