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How to Construct an Actor's Résumé

by Sarah Bennett

Building an Actor's Résumé can be simple if done correctly and by following industry standards. Although there are no strict rules when it comes to creating a good résumé, by adhering to just a few outlines you can be in a better place when it comes to finding a suitable role. I have outlined a few points below which I think you should find helpful:

  • Name, centered, to the top in bold letters. If you are a dancer, singer or actor (or all of these) add them after your name.
  • Professional letters if you are a member of a union, this should be the line under your name.
  • Include contact telephone numbers. For privacy reasons list the address of your post office box rather than your home address.
  • Add your agent's details instead of your contact address, if preferred.
  • Add email and web site addresses, if applicable. Remember, a casting director or talent agent may want to follow up a conversation with an email - if the information is on your résumé already then it gets the basics out of the way.
  • Describe yourself, your physical details such as height, weight, hair and eye color.
  • Additionally, you may add your vocal range next, if you are a singer.
Following your name, contact info, and short description, is the main body of the resume. This is where you include your relevant experience. Split into type of acting medium (movie, theatrical production, etc.) then divide further into the name of the play/movie, Director's name/production company, acting role, location, and any known named actors you starred with.

The most important part is first, so add theatre or television roles to the top of this section and then include the others as you prefer.

Okay, so start your résumé and use the following tips for each different section under your experience:

Appeared on film? Add it here whether it's a no-budget movie with your friend or a box-office hit.

You might have held a very small role in a two-minute documentary or a on a radio soap, include it.

You performed a school play or played a main role in a major theater show. Add up to four but, if you haven't had much to list under movies and television, then add a couple more.

If you have mainly worked commercials, then add them here to fill up your page. Do remember though to add a line such as 'Commercial experience provided on request' if you have already added lots of experience in other sections.

Finally, list your training and any other relevant skills that you feel are important. Examples would be you attended, or currently attend, a stage-school or took (are taking) special lessons in acting or music. Skills may be that you can alter dialect spoken when you need to, or that you can do street dance.

Add anything that makes up your experiences, so don't think that the play you took part in at school was insignificant - it probably lead you to decide on becoming an actor. Just remember that an actor's résumé is tailored to your own special attributes and not somebody else's. You may be tempted to embellish your résumé. Don't do it. Sure, it may look fantastic, but lies will be discovered, potentially destroying your career before it has even begun.
Copyright © Sarah Bennett. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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