Professional actors often can’t help but feel a little powerless when it comes to the process of auditioning and booking jobs. Sure, from the outside people think that actors have some say in creative aspects, but your input and personal preferences are really quite insignificant in the process (well, not until you’re on a Brangelina level at least). So while you’re on your way to superstardom, it’s smart to leverage the opportunities at hand.
The first area you have control of as an actor is the manner in which you’re represented to casting directors and agents. This starts with a professional and relevant acting resume. So pull it up on your computer now as we reveal a few common acting resume mistakes that could be costing you work.
1. Too Many Stats
You’ll need to give a director or agent just the basics about your physical appearance. Most acting resumes go a bit overboard with inseams, collar, bust sizes, and so on. Even eye and hair color don’t need to be stated as it should be pretty obvious from your headshot. To be frank, the director does not care about that kind of stuff – in many cases he or she only needs to know your height and weight.
2. Home Address
There’s no need to include your home address on your acting resume. It in fact comes across a little naïve, especially if you’re a young actress.
3. Unrealistic Age Range
Be careful about being unrealistic about your age range. In the hopes of getting more work, many actors list a large age range. This doesn’t help the person reviewing your resume at all. It’s actually better to leave out your age range altogether and let them decide if you’re suitable for the part or not.
4. Incomplete Work History
This section will naturally make up the brunt of your resume, so here are a few mistakes to avoid when outlining your experience:
- Don’t just list the name of the character you’ve played before. The director gets very little insight if he or she simply sees Susan on Homeland. Instead, include your previously played roles as Guest Star or Co-Star. An exception to this rule is theater. If you’ve been part of a well-known play, then it’s OK to list the character’s name. As with all resume writing, make sure you’re speaking in the language of your potential employer.
- While we’re on the subject of theater, don’t forget to include both the name of the director and the theater. Some would-be actors just include the director’s name, which doesn’t help if he or she is little known.
- Don’t include work as an “extra” on your acting resume. Of course, we all want to appear super experienced, but extra work does not really mean much to directors or talent agents in terms of your acting ability. Also, don’t try to bend the truth – an extra role is not a feature. Integrity will ensure longevity in the industry when you make it big!
- Don’t forget about listing student films you’ve participated in. Directors and agents do like to know that you have experience on set. Just remember to include the name of the school you shot for as well.
Also: the word ‘recurring’ is probably one of the most commonly misspelled words on an acting resume. Please get this one right – if you’ve played a recurring role make sure you’re expressing it correctly – ‘reoccurring’ and ‘re-occurring’ are incorrect words.
5. Lying About Languages
So we’re back on this issue of integrity. It’s important that you only list languages you are fluent in – and you must actually be fluent. Being able to pronounce a few words off a script is not enough. Some directors and agents will go as far as to test your fluency at your audition.
6. Misleading Headshots
A good-quality headshot should accompany your acting resume. And remember that your headshot needs to look like you! Tempting as it is, refrain from having your headshot retouched. This image needs to be an accurate representation of what you look like right now. What they see on your headshot and who they meet in person for a screen test should be exactly the same.
So there you go! We hope that these tips have given you some insight on how to edit your resume, which can give your career an extra-polished nudge in the right direction! Looking for additional help with drafting your acting resume? Get some pointers from one of our acting coaches in your city. Best of luck!
Photo by Tom Vander Well