Insider Acting Tip #10

The Perfect Resume: Part 2

by Tony Nation

Your resume should list your credits in three columns with title of show or film in the first column, role in the second column and theater/production company/network in the third column. If you list directors, they should be names that will be recognized otherwise don’t list them!

For film and TV actors, you should list behind the role of the character in parenthesis:  Lead, Co-Star, Guest Star, Supporting, Principal or Featured/Extra. For soaps, list: Contract Role, Dayplayer, Recurring Dayplayer, U/5, or Featured/Extra.

Why should you list this information??? You don’t want to just list a role, you want to provide the information on what your work consists of—even if you are just starting off. Even Meryl Streep was a beginning actor at one time!

If you are just starting off, and have only worked on roles in an acting program or studio, you may list roles under the column of “Representative Roles.”  When industry sees this on a resume, they take it for granted that the actor did scenes from these plays in his or her acting class. That’s fine—it shows you have some training and you know what roles you’ll be sent out for. But don’t put on your resume the role of BIG DADDY in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof if you’re 22 years old. Also, make sure you’ve read the whole play so you can talk about it. There’s nothing more embarrassing then being caught in a lie or not knowing the material.

Commercials should never be listed out on the resume instead use “List Upon Request” or “Conflicts/List Upon Request” if you have a commercial currently running.

Never list modeling jobs!

Under “Training”, list where and what you have studied. If you have a bachelor’s or master’s it should be at the top—even if it is not performance related. You spent many years in school getting your degrees—don’t understate it!

“Special Skills” vary from person to person! If it’s something that makes you unique-list it-especially as an icebreaker line!!! Here are some often found on a resume: Archery, Golf, Professional Decorator, Surfboard, Badminton, Gymnastics, Stunt Person, Swimming/Diving, Baseball, Hang Glide, Puppeteer, Tennis, Basketball, Hockey, Race Cars, Toboggan,Baton Twirl, Horseback, Race, Speedboat, Track,Bike Riding, Handgun Ride, Pogo Stick, Trampoline, Billiards/Pool, Hypnotist, Ride Unicycle, Tumbling,Body Surfing, Ice Skate, Rodeo Rider, Typing (W.P.M.), Bowling, Karate /Judo, Roller Skate/Blade, Boxing, Juggler, Rope Twirl, Bull Fighting, Mime, Rugby, Canoeing, Magician, Sail Boat, Carpentry, Meteorologist, Scuba Dive, Cartoonist, Fly Plane, Sculpt, Cheerleading, Musical Inst., Sew/Dressmaking, Computer Skills, Milk a Cow, Skateboard, Cricket/Soccer, Motorcycle, Sky Dive, Farm Machinery, Nurse Speak, Foreign Language.

Click here to download a sample resume.

Learn more of the ins and outs of auditions, resumes, and more by attending some of our online acting seminars.

For more information on how to navigate the business part of being an actor, check out the The Biz tab under Acting Classes and Seminars.

Elizabeth Taylor: RIP

It’s hard to believe that Elizabeth Taylor is no longer alive. She was an actress who successfully transitioned from child actress to 2-time Academy Award winner. She also was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the 1981 revival of Lillian Helman’s The Little Foxes.

The list of her honors and awards go on and on. She was from a different era but will certainly be remembered for decades to come.

The entertainment world may never see the likes of her again. In Thursdays’s New York Times, William J. Mann noted  that “Ms. Taylor was the first celebrity to really make her personal life a vital part of the trajectory of her stardom.” and that ” Elizabeth Taylor’s dictum that fame is an exchange with the public.”

She wasn’t a Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen. She was Hollywood royalty.

Elizabeth Taylor is the very reason many of us were inspired to pursue acting classes in New York in the first place.

Many lessons can be learned from her life and career. She was a great actress, great personality, great humanitarian and more.

Take a break from you life in the next week or two and watch one of her works — from National Velvet to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf to Butterfield 8 or even The Flintstones. Acting in New York City wouldn’t be the same without her.

Sure, she had some ups and downs but what a career, right?

Insider Acting Tip #9

The Perfect Resume-Part 1

by Tony Nation

Now that you’ve got some acting training and credits under your belt, your headshot and resume are your TWO most important tools in your show business arsenal. Your resume is not only your body of work, it’s also your list of referrals. Here are some tips for creating the PERFECT RESUME.

Everybody has a NAME, and yours should be in the largest letters you can get, right at the top of the page. Whether it’s in the center or on the left-hand side is a personal preference, just as long as it immediately catches the eye. Traditionally, whatever union affiliation you have goes directly below your name.  If you have no unions, you can opt to put your BEST CONTACT NUMBER/CELLPHONE there (we all have one of those).

NEVER put your home phone number on your resume-you never know who is going to get their hands it! Let your voicemail filter out the weirdos! Whatever you decide, place the number prominently either below your name, or on the LEFT side of the resume (since the eye reads left to right).

List your EMAIL ADDRESS under the phone number. That’s the #1 way you’re going to be contacted about auditions and interviews. When your contact number isn’t working, this is a great alternative to getting in contact with you. Also include your WEBSITE ADDRESS if you have one underneath your EMAIL ADDRESS.

VITAL STATISTICS should be on the right side-height, weight, color of hair, color of eyes. You may wonder why this is important. Well, sometimes casting directors MUST have an actor of a certain height or hair/eye coloring.

DO NOT put your SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER on your resume! Identity theft is a huge problem in the US, don’t let it happen to you!

DO NOT put “ACTOR” or “ACTOR, SINGER, DANCER” or “ACTOR, SINGER, DANCER, MODEL, DIRECTOR”—it’s redundant. The industry should be able to tell by reading your first, few credits whether you’re a legit or musical theater performer.

DO NOT include an age or age range. If they cannot tell your age by looking at your picture, then your photo isn’t working for you!

DO NOT include your clothes sizes; it brands you as a model (or background actor)!

DO NOT lie about roles or credits on your resume!!!

Looking for more great insider acting tips? Learn more of the ins and outs of auditions, resumes, and more by attending some of our online acting seminars.

For more information on how to navigate the business part of being an actor, check out the The Biz tab under Acting Classes and Seminars.

A big mistake…

By Paul Liberti

I recently watched a demo coach direct a voice actor to give “one feeling” during a piece of commercial copy. That is the obvious mistake that many voice actors and less experienced coaches make. The reality is that you have to change during your copy. Even with just a line or two.


There is always constriction of thought – or conflict – and a release. For example, try the line: “I have a headache. I took an aspirin and now I feel better.”

Many actors would read that with a sense of satisfied relief. But you don’t sell the product that way. You need to play the conflict and the release.


For example, constrict your eyebrows and say, “I have a headache.”

Begin to relax your brow and say, “… so I took and aspirin.”

Now relax and widen your eyes and say, “… and now I feel better.”


Commercial copy is always about conflict and resolution. Play them both if you are given the chance to do so! Commercial copy has to change. It does not have only one feeling!

Paul will be co-leading Book It! Professional Voice Over Tune Up! beginning March 24. Click here to learn more about New York acting classes.

If you missed Paul’s class but are interested in New York VO classes, explore the listings found under our Classes tab at the top of the page.

Charlie Sheen Round Up

America is fascinated with celebrity meltdowns: from Lindsay Lohan and her rehab problems to Tom Cruise going nuts on Oprah’s couch to Zsa Zsa Gabor slapping a policeman to Mel Gibson’s phone calls and more.

But nothing has been more fascinating in the past month or so than the performance of Charlie Sheen, the actor who claimed he was underpaid at $2 million an episode for television’s number one hit sitcom, Two and a Half Men.

He’s been featured on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, written about on and has a long thread chronicling his shenanigans on And, just this week, he sold out two shows at Radio City Music Hall.

Even though Sheen is filthy stinking rich, Sheen probably isn’t someone you want to use as a role model for professional behavior. His actions certainly aren’t what you’re taught in any respected NYC acting class.

This is exactly the type of behavior that Erica Palgon offered talked about in our recent blog post. In case you didn’t catch it, here it is again. It’s worth looking at again:

Insider Acting Tips #8

By Tony Nation

When you are networking at film festivals the best people for you to me of course are directors and producers, but other actors can be excellent for networking and building relationships. Right after a movie is a great time to approach directors and compliment them on their work. Don’t offer that you are an actor right off the bat, but if they ask you can let them let know. Writers are another great resource as you never know when they might like your work so much they write you a role in their next film. There will also be opportunities to meet agents and if you get invitations, go to the parties as they are fantastic ways to meet everyone!

Some things you do want to avoid when meeting these industry folk are appearing to eager, green or being too pushy at festivals. The industry is not there to meet actors, they are there to promote their films. But if you get the opportunity to speak with a director, producer, writer, or agent and they ask you, that’s great. Just go, network, meet people, be open and create relationships. Get as many business cards as possible because you never know when you might be chatting up someone from a BIG film office or production company that normally you would never be able to get on the phone.

Since there is pretty much a film festival in every state, I recommend looking to see what film festival is in your area. In NYC alone, we have several festivals that occur during the year including Tribeca Film Festival, NY Film Festival, NY International Independent Film and Video Festival, and the NY Horror Film Festival just to name a few. These provide tons of marketing/educational opportunities to advance yourself in this area of the business or perform in NYC.

What is the best was to prepare for an audition?

A.C.: If an actor is lucky enough to get an audition for PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, what is the best way to prepare for the audition and what are some “no-nos”?

DALE BROWN: It may seem obvious, but the first thing is to fully prepare the materials sent. This doesn’t mean memorization, but know the characters, what they want. Know what you want to relay with the music not just the sound. Also, though knowing the style and context of the production are important, we want to know what you bring to the material, not a copy of what you may have seen in the show.

Dale will be leading a 5-week Musical Theater Showcase beginning this Thursday. Click here to learn more and register for this NYC acting seminar.

Dale joined Tara Rubin Casting in 2007. His current specific projects with TRC include on-going casting for all US companies of PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and the original casting of both BILLY ELLIOT, THE FIRST WIVES CLUB and Des McAnuff’s production of GUYS & DOLLS.

How did you begin your career in voice overs?

Paul Liberti

I have two people to thank. Herschel Bernardi and Skip Hinnant. I did my first professional play at McCarter Theater in Princeton when I was 13 years old! In the cast was Herschel Bernardi. He was the voice of Charlie the Tuna and the Jolly Green Giant.

We would sit backstage and do voices together and he told me then that one day I would make a living as a voice actor! Many years later after he passed away… I got to play the voice of the little Green sprout in the Green Giant commercials.

Herschel really encouraged and gave me a joy with creating voices that stays with me today. I hated the soft sound of my voice as a kid and kids made fun of me at school.

Skip Hinnant was someone I knew from watching The Electric Company on TV in the ’70s. His voice and timbre were not the booming voice you heard in many commercials but a soft and joyful sound. I remember him in the ‘love my carpet’ commercials saying, ‘that old fogy stogy..” and singing, “you’re gonna love… love my carpet!” He sounded like me! and I imitated him till I could do a ringer impression of his sound. That taught me to find my own sound and learn the truth of who I was and not to fight it (something I instill in all my students today)!

Later I freelanced with my first agency and to my astonishment , Skip was also there! They called me the ‘young version of Skip’. I was flattered. Skip and I have become friends as an adult and I only hope that I have half the heart and joy of my readings as he does!

Oh, and I used to imitate the voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher on the playground for other kids. They gave me their desserts from lunch if I would do it. So Twinkies included… I have been a working voice actor since a kid!

Starting today (Friday, March 4), Paul will be teaching the five-week class, Character and Animation V/O Technique. Click here to learn more.

Reading this blog too late and have missed Paul’s class? Click on the Classes tab at the top of this page to see what other New York voice over classes are available.

Insider Acting Tips #7

By Tony Nation

It’s film festival season! Sundance just rapped and the Tribeca Film Festival will be here before you know it! So how should you promote yourself as an actor at film festivals?  There are actually two ways to approach these events as an actor.

First, as the actor in a film that is being shown. Of course it’s the position that every actor wants to be in: having hundreds, maybe thousands of people seeing your work and a lot of that being the industry at a film festival. The opportunities are rampant from film Q&A’s with directors and stars, nominations for your work, awards, being seen by directors and producers to maybe having your film picked up by distribution companies in a movie packaging deal.

Make sure that you bring business cards with a photo on it and then have a picture and resume on hand in case it is asked for as well as a film/TV demo. I recommend photo business cards first as it’s a little awkward to be giving out headshots and resumes and then expecting the industry you’re meeting to schlep around with it for the whole evening. A business card is easy to put into a pocket or purse and then they can reach out from there.