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Resumes - Yes, Another Thing to Update...& Often


Here's my 2 cents: If you are NOT represented by an agent, list contact information that is very minimal, such as professional email only, and NEVER PUT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY # ON YOUR RESUME! You never know where the HS & Resume will end up, and there are TOO many crazy people out there.

Here's an article I found from Industry Experts:

"The images below show what your resume should look like. But basically, your resume is your first chance to tell the casting director, director, producer, and production assistant that you are worth their attention. It may be the headshot that draws the producer’s attention, but it’s your resume that showcases your abilities, achievements, and illustrates your level of professionalism, dedication, and experience.

How can I make my acting resume stand out? Typically, a casting director will spend only a few seconds looking at your resume. Therefore, it is important to highlight upon your major accomplishments.

What should I do, If I don’t have acting experience? But, what do you do if you don’t have a lot of experience? Well, according to Melissa McQueen of the Kim Dawson Agency, “being referred by a casting director, respected acting instructor or producer who has hired the talent is a good way to present yourself in the best light.”

Should your acting resume have special fonts and colors? Are you deciding to spend a lot of time with a fancy layout? Well Don’t. Casting director Don Shaner says, simple, easy to read, clean, straight information is best. Leave the fancy texts and colors alone.

Should you put extra work on your acting resume? Yes, unless you live in Los Angeles.According to Paul Weber from the Casting Society of America (CSA) he argues that you “Don’t list extra work on your resume unless you are a regional actor in a regional market. Producers shooting in your state like to know that you have worked on a set. But, when you move to Los Angeles, drop all of your extra credits. They won’t help you here.”

Check out the images below to give you an idea on what your acting resume should look like. Union, Non Union, No Agent, and Child Resumes are below!

Union Resume

No Agent Resume

Non Union Resume

Child Actor Resume

What Information Goes on a Child Actor Resume?

Acting resumes always start with the actor's name, contact information (your agent or manager, or your cell phone if you are unrepresented), and union status. Put this stuff in big bold letters at the top. It's the most important thing! There are varying opinions about including personal details such as Birthdate, age, height, weight, hair color, etc. Please ask your representative what they prefer. However, guidelines related to safety include NOT putting home phone number, home address, and social security numbers on the resume. Use parent's cell phones and P.O. boxes. You do not get to say you are SAG unless you have paid the big bucks and actually joined. This is a big deal, since it may ultimately involve fines for producers if the union status is inaccurate on the resume. You want to be VERY sure of your child's status, and put SAGe (for SAG eligible) if they are. SAGe is a good thing--you can do both non-union and union work, and producers know they won't have to file Taft Hartley paperwork for your child. (Of course you have to be ready to join right away if need be). .Some agents and managers advise that actors at higher levels do not need to put SAG/AFTRA at the top of their resumes. Their credits make that obvious. The rest of the resume is done in a 3 column format, and with certain categories. The first column in each category is the name of the project, second is the role/type of role, the third column is some identifying info--the studio, the director. So it looks like this: FILM Titanic Supporting Dir James Cameron/Paramount The sections are always: FILM TELEVISION COMMERCIALS (you don't actually list these unless you have nothing else, but you can say "conflicts available on request") THEATRE TRAINING SPECIAL SKILLS Note: In New York , often the THEATRE section is first because the NY market places more value on the theatrical experience of an actor. In Los Angeles , (and Texas) it is always in the above the order as the work in LA makes it more of a film/TV town. You simply eliminate any sections in which you lack credits, or in which you just don't want to share the info FILM categories do not generally list the NAME of the role. Just one of these:

  • Lead

  • Supporting

  • Featured

TELEVISION also does not list the name of the role. TV roles are:

  • Series Regular

  • Recurring

  • Guest Star

  • Co-Star

  • Featured

THEATRE is a bit different: That section often does list the names of the characters because it is assumed that CDs are trained in classics and the character name of the role gives them more information about the scope of the role. For example, if the resume credit includes the name” Betty” on Friends, that character name adds no valuable information for a Casting Director. They likely aren't going to remember a character named Betty from an episode of a show that was on the air for several years. On the other hand, listing “Dorothy" in the Wizard of Oz, rather than ‘lead' would give them more information about that experience. A really important element of appropriate credits is to remember that credits are given, earned or negotiated as part of a contract. For films, crediting refers to the ‘order'. Be careful and realistic when assigning lead, supporting or featured/principal to that role. For TV work, the credit is specifically indicated on the contract. There's no willy-nillying that one. Maybe you feel the work done was really greater than someone else who lists a bigger credit – that doesn't mean you can just decide to “up” your credit. It's very common, for example, that a role that might be a guest star for an adult would be categorized as a lower paying and lesser level credit of co-star for a child actor. This isn't widely abused, but it happens often enough that it's worth mentioning here. When in doubt, check your contract. COMMERCIALS – as mentioned above aren't normally listed on a resume, unless specifically requested by an agent or manager. One reason is that if you list all of the products your child has advertised for – you are also indicating to a Casting Director that there are potential conflicts. You wouldn't want to list a Kellogg's Fruit Loops commercial from 5 years ago. Because you aren't indicating any dates, it might appear that your child has a conflict where they couldn't do a Post Raisin Bran commercial now. Most people will indicate that “conflicts are available on request”. Then if that information is required, a CD can get the up to date conflicts your child has, if any, from your agent. TRAINING and SPECIAL SKILLS categories are a bit of a free-for-all, but they also have no dates. RULES and TIPS for KID RESUMESSafety first: Remove any mention of churches or schools or your hometown. However, you don't need to remove the whole item if it is a credit you have decided is useful given the criteria above. Just say the name of the auditorium, rather than the school. For instance, you listed “ XXXX Lutheran School , ANYTOWN”. Just say, something like "Lutheran Theatre, Southern California " or "Fellowship Auditorium". Nobody cares about the specifics anyway, but you don't want to broadcast a credit as being from a SCHOOL. Schools aren't professional. You may wonder why this is a concern? You don't want to give the creeps or overzealous fans a way to find your child, or have a meaningful conversation with them by using those identifiers on the resume. Always plan for success - you never know what project is waiting around the corner. Your child's privacy (as well as your families) is of the utmost importance at all times Do not lie on your child's resume. Ever.... Really. With the advent of the internet, it is relatively easy for CDs and producers to check the validity of your credits. Every Casting Director has anecdotal stories about seeing a resume with a credit on it for something they cast – and the fact that they know they didn't cast that person. You can probably imagine that a situation like that isn't going to have a positive outcome for your child. Beyond that, it is usually pretty obvious to Casting Directors and even to the casual observer. It just isn't worth the risk, not to mention the life lesson you would be teaching your child. An important skill that child actors master is the ability to answer questions related to the work on their resume. It becomes more and more common the older they are. It would be unwise to create a resume of jobs and experience that they could not talk about if asked. Do not put extra work on a professional resume. That is a surprising fact for some people, but it simply isn't done. Why? It isn't considered “acting” in the professional world. If that is tough to hear, we understand. Of course kids learn valuable work ethics and on set experience when they are doing background work! So, we have a solution for you. List background work under the “TRAINING” category. Something like, “Worked as a Background Player in over 20 productions” tells the CD that you have some experience, but doesn't try to pass it off as principal work. In general, "featured" is interpreted to be extra work. If it wasn't, you might choose the generic word "principal" instead. *NOTE: The spelling is “princiPAL” not “principle”. There are NEVER dates on an acting resume- (except for a child's birthdate). Things are ordered by the most important or recognizable roles/projects first...not date order. This is one area that differs from the way we, as adults, do a resume for our own careers. CDs are in a hurry...they are only going to scan a resume in 10 seconds. Put important stuff on top. Hollywood is all about trends and "what have you done lately". So you will not want to admit to anything very old. Typically, actors take stuff OFF their resume that is no longer on television unless they were a recognizable star. If you still have Chicago Hope or Ally McBeal on the resume, it is time to dump them. It gives away that they were OLD (vs. fresh new hot talent). Just keep reminding yourself...this is a MARKETING TOOL. What impression does that info give to a CD? Leave Chicago Hope in their scrapbook, but not on their current resume.​ Be aware that you don't want to build up the TRAINING section to a ridiculous extent. There is a feeling in Hollywood that kids can be over-trained, and become too showbizzy, especially if they have done theatre. Be careful of too much Disney training, it's a sign that the actor doesn't know how to be real and subtle.

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