Do I need an acting resume? Acting is a real job, believe it or not. And as with any job, you need a resume to apply for it; to make that first impression. Alright, but is the actor’s curriculum vitae the same as a normal resume? No! Let’s learn what should be there, and how the resume ought to look in order to make sure you won’t create a bad first impression.
Acting resume 101
An acting resume is specially tailored, including and yet still more refined to your Art to include your name, contact information, that of your agent’s (if you have one), your bio (your physical measurements and basic description), your experience in the industry (tv/film/theater/etc.), your special skills, your training, and related education.
The acting resume should be sized 10×8 inches (the same as your headshot). You can print it on letter paper and just cut what is extended (make sure you print it in a smaller format and not cut the information on your resume).
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Have your acting resume on a separate paper than is your headshot. Of course, you can also print your resume on the back of your headshot, but I wouldn’t recommended this as you will change your resume more often than you will need headshot, and headshots are more expensive to print.
Personal information and contact
The first part of your resume will contain your name (or your stage name), contact information such as cell phone and email. Don’t include your address. Forget the idea that an agent will knock at your door to offer you the best role ever in the best movie… Aaah. What a dream. Where were we? Yeah, forget it… So, NO address, but what next? Your agent’s information, and perhaps also their logo. If you don’t have an agent, no worries, keep it blank. Well, anyway, you need a resume prepared before you get an agent. So keep it blank until you get one. This is another step to get the agent or to move yourself forward. If you are in a union, here is the spot you should identify it.
This declares your physical attributes: height, weight, hair and eye color. Yep, that’s it, and please don’t write your age unless you are under 18.
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Your experience in acting resume
Now is the time to write down the experiences you’ve been part of. Starting with film and TV, commercials, theater, live performances, web series, etc. If you don’t have any professional experience, you need not worry because you can also add your high school theater experience, improv performances, student movies, etc. But guys – please do not put your “principal role of Peter Pan in an elementary school,” when you are in your thirties. Use good judgment – this is all to help you become a Professional.
Yeah, I know. Maybe you are saying now, ” F#ct, I don’t have any good experience, I don’t have anything to put here.” We got your back again. Calm yourself. Everybody had to start somewhere, which means without any experience in the field. But the experiences from your life are already useful things to use. There has to be something to write down, something interesting, something that says a lot about you. Find something creative you can add to your resume or create something new and write it there.
And don’t give a f#ct about your age. You can start in your 40s or have been in an acting scene in your childhood. The European icon French actor Louis de Funès started his acting career at 31. Christoph Waltz was 51 and won 2 academy awards. Alan Rickman was 46. So as you can see, it’s never too late. It’s just about your passion. You can start anytime.
What I can do to gain experience
Join a film group—contact filmmakers from film schools. If you live in Vancouver, BC, check out Vancouver Acting Guide for posted auditions. Create your own demo reel. Pay an acting coach or filmmaker to create a demo reel for you. Just do something. Find the ways in your niche, and in the meantime – LIVE. By living you create experiences that can’t be listed in your resume, but you will have them in your heart, in your mind. That’s what matters. Your present is created by these moments, and the people who can potentially cast you will see if that’s what they are looking for, if you fit for their role.
But for now, if you don’t have any experience, just skip this part (but make sure, you will get up, off the couch, and persue some cool stuff soon).
A format of writting your TV / Film / Theater / Live performance / voice over / web series / etc. is
Name of the project
Your role as Lead / Principal / Supporting / Featured / SOC. You can also add the name of the character if it’s well-known theater play.
Production / Theater company, plus you can add the name of the director
Order of the sections and how many items you will list depends on what you are auditioning for. And it’s good to have your most recent job on the top, listed as a first.
FILM & TV
Lion’s Gate / DIR: Chad Stahelski
Romeo and Juliet
National Theater London / DIR: Simon Godwin
Training & education
“Wait, I need to study to be an actor? What?” Of course, training and education is the main brick for the actor’s persona. An actor is lifelong student. It doesn’t necessarily mean just attending acting school. As an actor you should train yourself in many disciplines.
“The most successful people in the world are lifelong students. That means they continue learning new skills, keeping up with the latest in their chosen fields. And staying surprise what another field might offer to them.”Limitless by Jim Kwik
So educate yourself in many skills. And here is the section for it. Put here your art school experience, workshop, music school, dancing school, or whatever you have done or doing. Everything related to Acting, of course. I think casting directors won’t care so much if you are an engineer in IT.
How to put it together
Name of school / workshop / teacher
type of education or topic of the workshop (scene study, improve, singing, etc.
teacher or city (country if you studied aboard)
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
On going scene study
Special skills in acting resume
Now you can go crazy with your unique skills. Everybody has at least one thing he/she is good at. Maybe it could be useful for your acting. Try to put it in your resume if you think it’s related to your image, style, ideas you want to go for. You never know, maybe one day they will look for a leading actor who can be balancing on a slackline, juggling, and singing “O sole Mio” in Japanese. No, you don’t have to have these kinds of skills, but every single one counts and you never know, maybe one day, your special skill will be used. Every experience that could be a mystery and the unknown thing for you may potentially open new ways of thinking and being. And could help you with your growth as an actor.
Nothing is wrong.
Just try to involve in skills you think are moving you to what you need to be. Or if you don’t know, try new things, hobbies, sports, play instruments, observe new things, and maybe find another passion that helps you in your acting path.
Maybe discovering your type could help you with your next moves – check it out here.
What skills I can write down
In conclusion, accents, dialects as standard American accent, British accent, Australian accent, texas accent, eastern European accent, etc.
Dances, singing, sports, juggling and others special skills.
Put one skill that is unique and also maybe funny. Maybe it can catch the casting director’s attention, but be careful because if it is so special, they could ask you to perform it. So be prepared to do it. Example like “I can touch my nose with my tongue.”
Lie or not to lie, that’s the question
Single-word answer – NO! Please do not lie in your resume. The industry is small, and if you lie about anything in your acting resume, everybody will know it sooner or later. Or as mentioned above, you might have to prove that which you fibbed. Trust me. It’s better, to be honest.
- Make sure the resume looks nice, easy to read and easy to find everything about your experiences.
- Don’t use more than two fonts. I would recommend using just one, but if you decide to use two, make sure it is decent and a second font is used just for your name or headings.
- Use a font that is easy to read, not some crazy gothic-styled font. It could be nice, but not for an acting resume. Try to stick with the classic as Arial or Times New Roman. Or you can experiment with something more fun as Palatino Linotype, but you have to know how to use it. Easy check – Is it easy to read? Is it nice? Well organized? Good job!
- Black and white is enough, if you really wish to use one more color, you can for headlight or the name, but be careful not to damage readability and make sure the color is dark enough and you can see the text when you print it out.
About the author:
My pursuit of artistic perfection extends beyond the stage and into the world of film. Represented by agent Jill Kabush at Dorothy S. Management, I am actively seeking opportunities to make my mark in the industry. Though my creative interests are diverse - including DJing and illustrating - my primary passion lies in acting. I received rigorous training at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts and have since performed in prestigious theaters such as Theater Around The Corner, Moravian Theater Olomouc, Theater DiGoknu, and Mlada Scena II. Through unwavering dedication and hard work, I continue to hone my craft and push myself to new heights in pursuit of artistic excellence.