Your acting resume is a critical element in landing the roles you desire. It is the casting director’s first impression of you after your headshot. No matter your level of experience, a professional resume will help get your foot in the door.
- Basic Information:
The casting director needs to be able to find basic information about you easily. Displayed at the top of the page should be your name, followed by your contact information. This can be your agent or manager’s name and phone number or if you don’t have representation yet, then your phone number. Also, usually included on your resume is your eye, hair color and any union associations. Remember, not to put any personal information such as your home address or SS#. If you are under 18, please put your date of birth.
- Pertinent Industry Experience
Separate the jobs you were cast in based on whether it was in film, television, or theater. Include the name of the project, the size of the role and the director or production company. It is a personal choice as to whether you list the director or the production company or the network of the show. For example, if you starred on the ABC show, Scandal, you might write:
Scandal Co-star ABC
If it is a feature film that Steven Spielberg directed you could write:
Jurassic Park Supporting Steven Spielberg, Director
It is more important to list the size of the role than the characters name. If we never saw that episode, putting that you played, Samantha in an episode of Modern Family, wouldn’t mean much to us. If you were a guest star, that would be more important for us to know.
- Education & Training
Detail any training and education you received that will show that you know your craft. For example, if you studied acting at Julliard or NYU, then you would put that on your resume. If you are studying in a private acting class, then you would list that on your resume. If you are taking singing lessons that would also be listed.
Any kind of education that has to do with acting, whether it is a scene study, an improv class or a workshop you took can be listed on your resume.
- List Additional Skills
Finally, if there is something special that sets you apart from the crowd, make sure you list it. As an example, if you are fluent in French or can juggle, let the casting director know by putting those items on your resume. Your special talents make you memorable and can help you land a specific role. Also, if you can play any sports or instruments, you would put those on your resume in the special skills section.
As a reminder, your special skills are the things that you can do, not the things that
you wish you can do.
The special skills section on your resume shouldn’t be more than a couple of lines.
You don’t need a whole paragraph. Just two or three lines.
When I was working on a show for HBO, Arliss which was about a sports agent, we were always casting actors who could actually play a sport whether it be football, baseball, basketball, etc. When the actors would come in to read, if they listed any of those special skills on their resume, the producers would have them read and then prove that they could throw a pass if they were reading for a role of a quarterback. So never lie on your resume and say you can do something that you can’t.
- Misc Info.
Create a resume that is pleasing to the eye.
It is best to create a resume, making 3 columns. Resumes aren’t written in paragraph style because they are harder to read. (See sample) Too much clutter can distract us or the producer and director. We typically only spend a short amount of time scanning the resume.
Keep your resume to one 8×10 page, as it will be stapled to your headshot.
If you do not have a lot of experience yet, not to worry, everyone starts somewhere.
You can try out for a role in a your local community theater or get in an acting class.
You can even create a web series or make a You Tube video. Just make sure that it is good quality and something that you would proud to show people in show business.
Those things can be listed on your resume especially when you are first starting out, but like I said make sure they are good quality. If the casting director wants to see one of those projects, you would want to be able to say here is the info on it.
Lastly, you can also list your website on your resume if you have one.
With these acting resume tips in mind, you are sure to boost your chances of landing your dream role.