Director to Actor

I like to address the most common questions I get in the seminars and workshops.  This past Saturday, we had the Acting: A Director’s POV Child/Teen acting class, and while talking about the headshot and resume, I had a couple of recurring questions.  If you find this useful, please feel free to retweet or facebook forward this page.

Extra Work

Do I post all the extra work I’ve done or should I leave it off?  Does this turn off a director?

Generally speaking, when I flip over the headshot to look at the resume and it’s chock full of extra listings, I mentally downgrade you at that point.  You haven’t been able to land any real roles.  And I know it’s the easiest thing in the world to be an extra on a film.  So as a guideline, don’t list extra work.  But, if that’s all you’ve got, then that’s all you got.  It is a small step up if you were a “featured extra.”  Especially in a large Hollywood film.

I look for leads and principles.  Or if you were just a dayplayer but had a character name, you can list the movie and the name of your character.  Maybe you can say you were “featured” which is different than featured extra.


On the set of Rising StarsDo I list all my theater experience?

This one is very controversial.  But this director has a strong opinion– most local actors come in to the audition way too big.  Their audition would be improved if they just read flat, no emoting.  I believe a big reason is theater training.  Treat theater as a totally different skill set.  There’s theater acting and then there’s film/tv acting.  They are completely different.

Now because I have this opinion, if I see a ton of theater work on your resume, yes, I immediately think “they’re going to be too big.”  The exception is broadway or off-broadway.

So should you pull theater off or at least minimize it?  Well, another guy I know who directed a film came from the theater.  So it might be a plus in that case.  Google the director before the audition and see what kind of background he has.  Or blogs about the issue. <grin>

And finally, I will add that actor Tom Wright told me that he recommends lots of theater for actor training.  I’m not so sure.  But you see, there are various opinions on the matter.  I will grant that the most rewarding type of acting is theater… you get to take a character through a process in a two hour span.  Not that way in film and tv, that is almost always shot out of order over days and weeks.

Special Skills, Hobbies, Talents

Do I just list a couple of my stronger skills or list many?

I like this.  List what you’ve got.  One person int he class yesterday said she looked at a lot of other resumes to get ideas… Oh yeah, I forgot– I do ballet!  Or have some weapons training.  If you do it, list it.  Now I’m not a proponent of lying– if you say you do horseback riding and get cast and you’ve been on one horse for a bridle-led walk around the carousel, I’m going to be really peeved on the set.  Yes, you got this role, but I doubt I’ll ever want to work with you again.

Anyway, this is all from one director’s point of view.  Next up– if you need a scene for your demo reel, we’re shooting Feb 7.  More info here.