by Tony Nation
Now that you’ve got a few New York acting seminars 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 TELEPHONE NUMBER/CELLPHONE there (we all have one of those).
Let’s talk for a moment about the telephone number. If you are seriously going to begin marketing yourself, now’s a good time to decide between VOICEMAIL/CELLPHONE, A PHONE ANSWERING MACHINE or A LIVE ANSWERING SERVICE. First off, don’t use a LIVE ANSWERING SERVICE!!! You will lose the chance to perform in NYC, because casting directors and agents don’t want to deal with wasting time giving the information to someone who is writing it down (when they are making 50 phone calls-think about it.) They would rather leave the information regarding the audition as a recording and have you call back and confirm. If your number is a 212 area code, you can get away with a machine for awhile. With any other area code, even 718, PLEASE consider getting a NYC voicemail/cellphone service. You don’t want to lose work because industry thinks you’re either out of town or too far away to get in for a last minute audition!
LADIES-NEVER put your home phone number on your resume-you never know who is going to get their hands on your RESUME!! 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).
If you check it daily, list your EMAIL ADDRESS under the phone number. 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. They 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? Attend some New York acting seminars by clicking on the Seminars tab at the top of the page to check out our upcoming schedule of events.