Acting Tips: The Acting Resume
People are often confused by what an acting resume should look like and what should or should not be on one. The acting resume is fairly similar to a regular job resume, save for the fact that you'll probably skip any sort of "intro" paragraph" and the work you've done is generally just in list form.
Commonly, the resume will be stapled or printed directly to the back of your 8 x 10 headshot. The format isn't set in stone, but there are some fairly standard elements. Generally, the resume will go something like this:
Any union affiliations you have, like SAG or AFTRA (or if you're eligible to join.)
Your height, weight, hair and eye color (don't fake!)
Your contact info, or the contact info for your agent / manager.
FILM (for example)
Role / Status: Sarah Jane (list whether lead, supporting, featured extra, extra)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Studio, production company (or school if a student production)
Role / Status (Guest star, recurring, series regular, co-star)
Network (or production company if a pilot without network backing)
Major Broadway Show
Role / Status
Venue (i.e., St. James Theater, University Theater, Local Theater)
Crazy Web Series
Role / Status
Website (Youtube, Vimeo, John Doe's Website)
TRAINING / EDUCATION
List all acting specific training first.
School (or Instructor)
Type of study (Dance / Meisner / Scene Study, etc.)
List em' if you got em'!
List things you can do that others might not be able to, especially if it's a unique skill set. Dancing, foreign languages, horseback riding, skiing, driving (seriously!), driving a stick shift, competitive eating, cooking...the list is limitless, but be creative and thoughtful about this section, it can really help.
So, that's pretty much it. A lot of people ask "so, what should I do if I don't have any acting credits?" First of all, don't make them up! Secondly, when you're first getting started, it's not always that critical. Chances are good that whatever role you may be going out for is probably pretty small, or it part of a smaller production. In that case, you more than likely got called in because they liked your look. It's up to you to make an impression from there.
Obviously, having some training under your belt is a good thing. Be sure to not overlook something as being "too small" or whatever. Oftentimes, it's more about how you present something, rather than what the role might have been. For example, if you and your friends made a small skit on Youtube, you could definitely list that. School plays count too, but ideally, try to leave out any references to it being in High School (if that's where the experience came from.) Just remember, the experience is still valid, even if it is a little "cheesy". Don't worry too much, everyone started somewhere and most people know that.
The beauty of all this is that if you DO start booking those small acting gigs, the resume will start to grow. If you're not landing the small ones right out of the gate, try not to get discouraged, it's an incredibly frustrating business and you will hear "no" an awful lot. Just keep working on your training and practicing your skills. If you persevere, you'll start to book work sooner or later.
If you want to learn more about how to get started in acting for film or tv, be sure to check out Acting For Film And Television.
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, or would just like to share some of your successes, please feel free to drop me a line. I actually answer them.
Best of Luck out there and remember, you can't fail if you don't quit.