Your résumé is instrumental in selling yourself and, unlike most aspects of the business, your résumé is something you have complete control over.
Casting Directors and Talent Agents want you to lead with your best foot forward when walking into an audition room, and that starts with what’s on your résumé. Here are some tips that I’ve rounded up over the years.
The film and television industry is cutthroat and so you may find yourself tempted to lie to stand out. For example, if a role comes up that you think you’re perfect for but has one special skill that you don’t have, would it be a huge risk to stretch the truth on your résumé to get seen? YES!
Casting Directors don’t always ask for proof but you never know when some might. In particular, accents/dialects. Unless you’ve had years of training with different accents, you should only list the ones you have studied. If you can’t legitimately execute the accent on the spot, well, you can be sure that Casting Director won’t ask you to come back in for another audition.
There’s absolutely no crime in being a beginner. Everyone was at one point. So don’t be ashamed. Present whatever experience you have in its best light, and put yourself out there
Keep up with trends, but know the basics.
This may sound a little snobby, if you have material that doesn’t adhere to the current forms simply screams, ‘I’m outdated!’ to big-market agents and casting directors.
Here are the basics:
- At the top: your full name, representation (or your contact information if freelance), and union affiliations (if any).
- Next: credits, grouped into ‘Film and Television’ and ‘Theatre’ (put your primary market first)
- Followed by: any special performing categories, such as ‘Hosting,’ ‘Webisodes,’ and so forth.
- Finally: a section for ‘Training’ and ‘Special Skills.’
Understand your priorities
Don’t list the name of the character you played in a movie or a series. The fact that you were hired to play James on ‘Breaking Bad’ means nothing. However, if you list that part as Guest Star or Costar, then we will have a better understanding of what you booked.
The only exception to this is the ‘Theatre’ section on your résumé where you can use the name of your character, especially with famous plays.
Less is usually more
When Talent Agents and Casting Directors look are your résumé, they look for things they recognise. For example, the production company, a director, a reputable accent coach, etc. They’re also looking for credits that stand out.
The goal of your résumé is to keep your it current. The credit is irrelevant if it’s outdated. For example, if you were a lead in a TV commercial when you were five and you’re now 25 then it’s best to remove that.
Keep your résumé clean so that we can find the most important details. Everything should be by and large in chronological order (without listing dates). Put your most impressive roles toward the top of your résumé, where they’re more visible.
Special skills should be special
The ‘special skills’ section should not just be landfill for unnecessary information. It should contain your special skills – skills that you’re trained in and years of experience.
Now get editing!