This is your calling card. Your resume very often gets in the door before you do and you want it to represent you in a clear, accurate, and professional manner. A good rule of thumb is to provide enough information to make them interested, but not so much information that it is a turn off.
Should be top & center and in a clear font. Large and in Charge!
List your cell, email, & web address and/or your Agents contact information.
* If you have an agent, use their contact info. It is usually better to have someone in your corner who can handle the details of the contract when you get to that point. Always include your web address, especially if you have your reel on your website.
* NO home address or any personal information. Ie. SS#. They need to know how to contact you, they don’t need to have easy access to steal your identity. Plus there are a lot of scammers out there and you don’t want some personal information ending up in the wrong hands. Also remember, a fair amount of headshots and resumes go straight in the trash. It is unfortunate, but it happens and you don’t want any of your information that isn’t already readily available to end up on the street corner.
Height, Weight, Vocal Range (if a singer), Eye & Hair color (some people are leaving this off now as headshots are now in color, but if you change your hair a lot I would include your natural color. In the past when I have had to change my hair color, to something other than what is in my headshot, for a production I have added a header note stating: “Hair is currently Brunette for a production”. I found it helpful because when you walk in the room they are expecting to see the person in the photo. That little note can ease the shock if they’ve pre-read your resume and also remind them later of what you look like if you are being considered.
First you want to list the category of your work. These include, but are not limited to: Film, TV, Commercial, NY Theatre, Regional Theatre, Touring Theatre, Improvisation, Dance, etc. Bold faced, ALL CAPS, and Underlined are usually a good idea. It helps to make it clear and distinct.
Underneath each category you will list your work.
First: DON’T LIE! PERIOD!
Second: Keep it to a 3 column format.
First column is TITLE. Second column is BILLING. Third column is
The first category should be your most experienced category. You can also adjust your experience based on what you are auditioning for ie. If you are going into a Film/TV audition, move your Film/TV credits to the top of the list. It’s a little extra work, but it makes for easy viewing by the CD’s, Directors, & Producers you are in the room to see. They want to know what you’ve done in that genre and they need to see it quickly. So by making it easy for them you are helping yourself out as well and making yourself look professional.
PRODUCTION TITLES should be ALL CAPS for ease of read.
BILLING should be correct.
For Theatre: Character Name
For Film: Lead, Supporting, Principal
For TV: Star, Co-Star, Guest Star, Featured, or Under 5
COMPANY NAME and DIRECTOR
*no need to put the year
you did the show
*Commercials: It is typical to list your work in this category as “Commercial conflicts available upon request”
*DO NOT list Extra/Background work. Not much goes into this work (except patience) and what they really want to see are the projects you put all your years of training to use in.
*If your resume is small and you want to list scenes you have done in class work, so industry can get an idea of what you can play, that is fine, but PLEASE make sure you label the category as Class Scene Work.
What, Where, and Who. *College education is not necessary, unless you are just leaving college and entering the larger markets.
Acting: T. Schreiber Studios - Terry Schreiber
Voice: T. Schreiber Studios – Page Clements (vocal production)
Dance, Stage Combat…etc.
Last, but not least! Special Skills. This is where you list things like stage combat ability, accents, other languages, or any other special skill you might have, ie. Juggling. The important thing to remember is anything you list must be performance ready. I have been in an audition before where I was asked to combine my Irish accent with a lisp while doing the scene in American Sign Language. Obviously the director was really bored and it was a bit over the top for them to request all of these things at once, but I did it. You must be performance ready with everything you list you can do!
Things to Remember!
* Don’t add more information than is needed. Remember: keep it clean, clear and easy to scan.
* Your resume should match your IMDB resume. If you do not have IMDB credits yet, make sure your resume matches on the different casting sites you are on. Ie. Casting networks, actors access, backstage, 800casting, etc. People in the industry do cross-reference.
* Very Important: when you attach your resume to your headshot, trim it down to the same size as your photo. (preferably before you arrive at your audition…not while you are in the lobby)
* Be proud of your work and what you have accomplished. If you are just starting out people in the industry understand and expect you to have a shorter resume. Wear it proud!
Written by Helen Abell. With interview by A-List Atlanta Actor, Vince Pisani.