We're well into a new year. You've probably made all your resolutions... what you're going to do differently or better.
If you're an actor, or want to be an actor, it may be time to have another look at the acting career you want. And one of the main tools of the actor is their resume. Whether you're putting together a resume for the first time, or have updated your existing resume in awhile, it's worth a look.
Working in movies, we see a lot of actor's resumes. We also see a lot of resume mistakes, especially from novice actors. But sometimes even from people who've been acting for awhile. A resume is the first thing most directors or casting directors see of you. While it has nothing to do with talent (you can be the most talented actor in the universe and have a lousy-looking resume), your resume still reflects on you.
Here is a list of some of the common problems we see...
...Your headshot and resume are not attached to each other
This is a recipe for one of those pages to go AWOL. Ditto for using a paper clip. Paper clips come off. They attach onto other papers. If a casting director has to search for your missing resume, they just might give up and pass on you.
Please use staples. Even one staple in the corner is preferable. Use at least two staples (one in each of the top corners). Some people use four staples for each of the four corners.
...Your headshot and resume are not the same size
We've seen tiny headshots on standard size resumes. We've seen super huge headshots on standard size resumes. Remember, we have to carry these resumes around.
Use the standard 8x10 size for both headshot and resume. Remember that printing paper is slightly bigger (8 1/2 x 11 inches). This means you'll have to cut your resume to match the size of your 8x10 headshot. This seems nit-picky, but it's really all about keeping your resume from getting dog-eared.
...Your contact info is missing
You'd be surprised how many actors forget to supply this information on their resume. But how are we supposed to contact you to offer you a callback or even the role? Sometimes you may not be right for a particular role we're casting, but you'd be perfect for a role in another project. We keep resumes of people who might be right in the future.
It's best to give us at least two ways to contact you: Email and Phone. There may be times when we want to email you. There may be times when we need to speak to you by phone. (Oh, and by the way, there is absolutely no need to put your home address on the resume... Ever.)
...Forgetting to bring your headshot/resume to an audition
Or anywhere you might be meeting us. Yes, you may have emailed it to us already. But what good is that going to do for you while you're in the audition room with us? When we meet to discuss casting decisions, we often look at headshots. Hard copies of headshots. If yours isn't there (because it's somewhere on our computer)... well, you should get the picture.
Always have a hard copy of your headshot and resume when you come to an audition. Have it up-to-date and ready to give to us.
...We can't read your name
Sometimes, to set yourself apart, you want to use a specialized font for your name. There's nothing wrong with that. But beware the crazy fonts. We might not be able to read it. If we can't read it, we might translate that into finding you hard to read (or hard to work with).
Use a legible font. We need to be able to read your name, it's that simple.
Hopefully your resume has passed these 5 mistakes. When we cast a project, we really want you to succeed. But we often have hundreds of actors and we can only pick one. Don't put yourself in the automatic reject pile just because your resume has a couple things wrong. Fix the errors. Then go out there and audition!
We hope you get the part! [Photo by Jenni C]