It seems like everyone claims to be an expert about an actor’s resume. The internet is littered with articles about the do’s and don’ts sure to guarantee a resume that stands out from the crowd. But honestly, I don’t believe a lot of them. Now, of course, it’s not all hogwash. I have found some common denominators– especially when it concerns what not to do. But in the process, I have also discovered my own truth.
In my quest to figure out why my resume was garbage, I stumbled across a Backstage article fervently titled: “8 Things to NOT Do With Your Acting Resume” by Secret Agent Man. “DON’T use a paper clip to attach the resume to your headshot…DON’T forget to include your contact information…DON’T use the metric system.” So far, so basic, right? I mean, I don’t even know how to use the metric system so I would never think to list my height as 85 centimeters (I’m sure this measurement is completely off). Anyway, I think most actor’s would agree with these things as universally correct across the board.
Another Backstage article titled, “What Belongs on an Actor’s Resume?” by Rebecca Strassberg, gave me a different perspective. Instead of focusing on the dont’s, this article took another approach that was refreshing and enlightening. In an interview, she asks David Patrick Green, founder of Hack Hollywood, what should be on an actor’s resume. He simply says, “As little as possible. Put yourself in the shoes of the person viewing it. In most cases, they only have a few seconds to look at your material. If it is crowded and overwritten, it will be hard to latch onto what is relevant to their project”. And that is when the light bulb went off.
In this scenario, the thing that is most relevant is The Actor, not the things he or she has or doesn’t have on their resume. Maybe it doesn’t make a difference whether I have master class credits with Sam Shepard or Viola Davis as long as I am right for the role in front of me.
So here’s my process:
- Trim it down – Brief or concise resumes are focused and give a more accurate depiction of who YOU are.
- Follow the basics – We all learned in Kindergarten to put our names on our papers.
- Stress less – You are the most relevant part of your resume. Just make sure you can act!