Your Actor Resume, How to Write It, Even with No Experience
Yes, your actor resume is hard to write. But it's your single greatest tool when marketing yourself. The goal is to tell them who you are, and what you can do as an actor. All in 10 seconds.
Why only 10 seconds? Because that's how long anyone will look at it before they move on. I'll show you how.
The Anatomy of a Resumé
The acting resume format is somewhat flexible. It should be hand-tailored to fit you. But here are some of the standard sections:
At the top. Your name in large, bold letters. Followed by your contact info, height, weight, hair color, eye color, and union associations.
Credits. The roles you had in plays, musicals, films, TV shows, commercials, voiceovers, etc. Don't have a lot of experience? We'll talk about that later.
Training. Where you studied and what kind of program. If you've had quality acting training, directors are liable to take you more seriously.
Special skills. Do you speak another language? Do you play an instrument? Can you drive a car? Those are all special skills.
I know, this is a lot of info. So let's look at some acting resume samples...
Knowing (And Using) Your Type
We'd all love to be Meryl Streep or Daniel Day-Lewis, playing a wide range of interesting characters. But the truth is, most working actors fall victim to type-casting. Directors look at you and say, "He's a leading man type," or "She's the best friend type..."
But here's the good news: You can use type-casting to get more acting work!
Look in the mirror and imagine who you might play in a movie. Are you the girl next door, the bombshell, the romantic lead, the funnyman? Once you know, you can tell them how to cast you.
Tell Them How to Cast You
That's right. I said it. Tell them how to cast you.
For example, I'm tall, thin, and funny. I'm a character actor. So on my actor resume I don't list roles where I played the lead. I list roles where I played the villian, the goof, or the poet.
When a casting director sees my actor resume, he understands immediately who I am and what I can do. That makes me marketable.
So find out your type and play into it. You'll thank me later.
Well, everyone has to start somewhere.
If you have no experience, then go down to your local community theatre and ask to be in the chorus. Or volunteer to be in a student film. Or become a movie extra.
Whatever you do, don't lie on your actor resume. You will get caught. And because acting is a small industry, you'll be black-listed. Trust me, I've seen it happen.
How you present your experience is also very valuable. Chances are, you've done some acting somewhere. In high school, or an acting class, or a high school acting class, whatever the case...
So be proud of your accomplishments. Have confidence in yourself.
White space is good. The human eye is easily overwhelmed. Leave some breathing room on the page.
Don't list every credit. Directors are not impressed by how many plays you've done, they only care if your work is good.
Make it 8'x10'. Not 8.5'x11'. Because it will be stapled to the back of your professional headshots.
One page only. Unlike the business world, your actor resume should be kept to one page and no longer.
Leave out personal info. Don't list your address, home phone, or social security number on your resume.
Use an acting cover letter. If you're mailing your headshot, make sure to include a letter.
The Bottom Line
Your actor resume is great for telling directors what kind of actor you are. If you can do that, you're bound to get hired!