How to Write a Great Acting and Talent Resume

FT Contributor  | 

Unlike a traditional college resume, an acting and audition resume is very industry-specific. A great acting and talent resume serves as your chance to stand out from the countless others who want to see themselves on the silver screen and highlight the relevant experience and skills you can bring to a particular role.

No acting and talent resume is complete without a headshot. Include a wealth of other information encompassing your education and any acting credits that you have, but make sure your resume is no longer than one page. Anything more could be ignored by casting directors, who have very little time to begin with.

Your acting resume needs to be extremely well organized to get the important details across to casting professionals. This guide will demonstrate how to write a great acting and talent resume that gets noticed by the right people.

How to Organize an Acting Resume

The format of a good acting resume is as follows:

Headshot

Headshots change in style and size by time, region, and the type of acting gig you’re applying for. As such, it’s important to research and find out the current style for displaying your headshot, as well as if there are any regional or type of gig preferences.

Traditionally, acting resumes are printed on the back of an eight by 10 headshot, but that might not be the right vehicle to display this information. It all depends on what you’re applying for.

Header

The header of your resume should include your name bolded and centered or left-aligned at the very top of the page. Below that, list your contact information, including address, phone number, and email. Next, list your agent’s information and your union affiliation, if any.

In a brief paragraph, provide your biography, including physical descriptors like eye and hair color, weight, height, and age range you’re able to perform.

Introduction

Your introduction should be a brief paragraph that explains why you want to audition for the role you’re applying for, as well as why you’re passionate about acting and what you can bring to the table. Similar to an executive summary, this is your chance to make a great first impression on the casting department.

Skills

The skills required of good actors vary greatly from the traditional skills one would list on a typical resume. Highlight the industry-specific or special skills you possess in a bulleted format. This might include:

  • Bilingual.
  • Singing.
  • Accents or physical abilities.
  • Combat training.
  • Acrobatics.
  • Stand-up comedy.
  • Musical instruments.

Experience

The experience section of your resume should cater to what you are auditioning for. If you’re applying for a role in a Broadway play, list the relevant theatre experience that you have. If you’re applying for a television role, include that experience.

Be sure to include the following information when detailing your experience:

  • Theatre:
    • Name of the show.
    • Role you played.
    • Theatre.
    • Director.
  • Film:
    • Name of the movie.
    • Role you played.
    • Director.
    • Production company.
  • Television:
    • Name of the show.
    • Role you played.
    • Network show aired on.
    • Director.

In this section, avoid listing jobs that you’ve had that aren’t relevant to the role you’re applying to. For example, you might be a server part-time, but those skills aren’t necessarily relevant to an acting role.  

Training and Education

The training and education portion of your resume should highlight any relevant training you’ve received. Include the name of the institution, as well as when you received the training.

Once again, this section should be tailored to the role you’re applying for. It doesn’t really matter if you have a finance degree or a doctorate in biochemical engineering. List only the classes, workshops, or college-specific courses or school work that are completely relevant to your portfolio and the acting gig you want to land.

References

Acting and talent resumes can include references from former castmates, directors, agencies, unions, and sometimes even professional reviews of your work. Only include references who are going to speak highly of your ability as an actor. Friends and family shouldn’t be listed as references because they are not credible sources as to your abilities.

Regardless of who you decide to list as a reference, it’s important to make them aware that you did so. Ask if they are comfortable with being your reference — this will ensure they’re prepared should the casting team reach out.

Finally, list your reference’s full name, their relationship to you, and their preferred method of contact.

Tips for Writing an Acting Resume

Below are a few writing tips for the creation of an acting resume, which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Use the right language. It’s important to describe the role you played or the type of experience that you have using industry terms like:
    • Lead.
    • Principle.
    • Supporting or day player.
    • Voice-over artist.
    • Featured.
    • Extra.
    • Stunt performer.
    • Stand-in.
    • Body double.
    • Stunt double.
    • Broadway.
    • Off-Broadway.
    • Regional theatre.
    • Musical.
    • Feature film.
    • Short film.
    • T.V. movie.
    • T.V. series.
    • Soap opera.
  • Edit and proofread carefully.
    • With any resume, it’s important to use concise and accurate language that is free of grammatical and spelling errors. This demonstrates your attention to detail and leaves a favorable impression with casting crews.

Acting Resume Template

Use the acting resume template below, filling in the brackets with your own information:

[Your Name.]

[Address.]
[Phone.]
[Email.]

[Agent’s Name.]
[Agent’s Contact.]

Biography

[Brief biography explaining who you are.]

  • [Height.]
  • [Weight.]
  • [Eye color.]
  • [Hair color.]
  • [Age range capabilities.]

Introduction

[Briefly explain why you want to play the role, as well as your relevant experience and passion for the industry.]

Skills

  • [Acting ability #1.]
  • [Acting ability #2.]
  • [Acting ability #3.]

Experience 

[Name of Show, Name of Theater.]

  • [Dates performed.]
  • [Role you played.]
  • [Director.]

[Name of Show, Name of Theater.]

  • [Dates performed.]
  • [Role you played.]
  • [Director.]

Training

[Name of School, dates attended.]
[Title of certificate or training earned.]

References 

[Reference name — Relationship.]
[Reference contact.]


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