Creating and Filling in Your Acting ResumeBy Mark Stoltzenberg
Many of my acting school students ask me about their resumes. A common question is , “I don’t have very much to put on my resume. What should I do?”
First let me emphasize, that the first job of an actor is to know your craft and become an expert at acting. Take professional classes and perform wherever and whenever you can.
In general, you should not lie or make things up for your resume but you can stretch the truth or rename things to suit your purposes. For example if you have High school and college credits, you should definitely list them. For example:
“Fiddler On The Roof”, George Gershwin Theatre, Brooklyn College
“Godspell”, Frank Loyd Wright HS Theatre, Buffalo, NY.
I advise dancers who want to act to change some of their dance credits to theatre credits. If you danced Juliette in Romeo and Juliette, you can list Romeo and Juliette under Theatre instead of Dance and call it an acting role. You certainly need to act to play this role in a Ballet
If you performed at a party or special event, you can list it as an industrial or regional production.
Again don’t lie or make it up, just rename it slightly to fill in weak spots on the resume page.
Education and Special Skills
Education and Special Skills sections are great places to fill in your resume. You should list all of your classes, relevant experiences and skills.
Here is an example of an acting resume section labeled
High School Cheerleader, Drama Club President, College Tennis Team, Classical Guitar, High School Chorus, Gymnastics Club, Horse Back Riding, Drivers License, Juggling, Guitar
Hobbies and quirky skills are all good items to put into an acting resume. Who knows when a filmmaker will need someone who knows how to body surf?
Education is more than just the high school you attended. If you’ve taken voice lessons, list them. Also list dance classes, acting classes, film study, and improv Classes.
I showcase all my “Star In A Movie” students in an industry screening at The New School University. I suggest that they can list this separately from the class listing as, featured in “The Scene Study Film Festival at The New School”. This gives them another listing from the actual class and it is legitimate.
If you want to get more experience you can also produce your own showcases. Get together with friends and produce a play together for a week run. You will learn a tremendous amount and build your acting resume without having to run around to auditions.
There is also a professional and standard format for
acting resumes which you must follow. More on this in my next article.
Mark Stolzenberg teaches at The New York Acting School for Film and Television.