For those coming to the Acting: A Director’s POV for Teen and Children actors on Saturday Jan 21, bring your headshot and resume and we’ll talk about them.  (Register for the morning or the afternoon session here).

The Resume

Most of the time, I get handed a headshot as I sit behind the table about to hear your audition.  I might have been handed the headshot by the casting associate or given when you walked in the room.  I will glance at the headshot (more on the next blog) and then turn it over and read. Here’s a bullet point of things I see:

  • SAG or SAG eligible — A very common question is whether a non SAG actor who is eligible should put “eligible” on there.  I’m fine with that.  It tells me you’ve worked on a SAG set above Ultra Low contract.  Go ahead– adds a little more credibility.  If you are neither, leave blank.  In the Dallas and Texas market, many actors choose not to join SAG because a lot of commercials and corporate video gigs are non-union and they can earn more revenue.  I get it.
  • Because I mostly work in feature films, I look at this section intently.  What have you done?  What type of roles?  Principle?  Featured?  Extra?  If you have none here, I recommend that you take whatever student film, no/low budget indie you can get into.  I don’t recommend listing films you were an Extra in.  All that tells me is you’ve been on a set.  Featured Extra is better than Extra.
  • TV is usually the next paragraph.  Here in North Texas, almost everyone’s resume for years listed Walker, Texas Ranger.  Now that’s been replaced by Friday Night Lights or Prison Break.  If you’ve got it, put it down there.  Same rules apply as far as listing Extra work.
  • I might see Corporate/Commercial next.  Commercial is more valuable.  If it’s a national spot, put that there.  If it’s a local, maybe not so much.  If you were a corporate spokesperson or did a corporate job for a large production company, you can list that.
  • I also see Theater.  This is just one director’s opinion, but I wouldn’t put a lot here.  The number one problem with local actors is that they bring theater acting to film.  It’s a totally different thing.  I develop a bias against you (shame on me) before you even read if half your resume is all about how you were the lead in Streetcar Named Desire at the community theater.  (BTW, Broadway and Off-Broadway is different.  If you have that, put it down).
  • The last section is usually Training and Special Interests.  List the workshops and classes you’ve taken.  I look at that.  I know a few of the local acting coaches and if you’ve gone through someone’s system it does tell me a little about your approach to the craft.  If you like dance, that tells me something.  If you’ve gone through martial arts training, that’s good info to have.  If you sing or play a musical instrument, I like to know.

Director Dan MillicanAvoid having too little on the resume (lots of white)– which is the challenge for you just starting out.  It’s okay to have a lot of training and special interests for you new actors… so if you don’t have much, get training.  Then list it.

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