Aligned Stars Agency – Resume Basics

“How do I format my acting resume?” I get this question asked all the time and there seems to be 1000s of different answers out there. So, here is a compilation of formats I think work for the Southeast Market:

Overall Themes of your Resume:
Your resume sells a story just like your Headshots. It needs to look consistent throughout. Stick with one font that is easy to read. The only exception for a different font is for your name (that is completely optional). Standard sized Acting resumes are 8in x 10in. This is non-negotiable. Casting Directors will immediately trash anything that does not fit neatly in their pile. That means you will need to play around with the margins to get this to print correctly on standard paper. You will need to trim the paper to correct size after printing. Lastly, your resume must be one page.

What does it look like?

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Starting at the Top:

What is needed in the header? Well, this one is pretty standard.
  • Your Name
  • Agency Name
  • Agency Phone Number & Email
  • Height& Weight
  • Your Personal Website (optional)

The Header Section

You don’t need your age, age range, eye color or any other descriptive characteristics of your looks. Your Headshot is in full color so those traits are easily obtained. You don’t want to put the age range YOU think you are on there either … the casting director may think or want differently. Let them decide that! Do not add your personal email or phone number on the resume. It is your agent’s job to talk to production and set up your contract.

Font size should follow the format of the Name being the largest font and the rest of the font remaining the same. The only reason to start making font smaller is because you are running out of room on the paper (Yay for being a working actor!!).

The Meat (of the Meat & Potatoes) Section:

This is where the heart of your resume goes – Your work experience. Now, you have to ask yourself: “What do I want to book?’ Television & Film based jobs? Stage & Theater based jobs? Commercials? What is most important to you? Since this article is directed at all my talent I’m going to assume Film & Television is most important (Lets face it … droves of actors aren’t moving here from LA and NY for our booming theatre gigs). So, I prefer the following Categories for projects:

Proper Billing for Each Section:

This section causes the most headaches. First, here are a few overall notes. The format will follow for each line: Project Title – Role – Production Name/Director Name. As for ROLE, I highly advise you not to use the character’s name and instead use billing type. We all can immediately image characters like Joey, Ross, or Chandler from Friends. They are mainstream recognized roles with FAME. But, no one knows if the character Natalie from the short film IMPASSE was a lead role or supporting (except maybe the people that actually worked on that project!) So, for that reason, I recommend sticking to the basics of the role type rather than role name for this part.

1. Lead – This is the major role for the project (think; Batman and Joker or the Antagonist and Protagonist). You are the focal point of the project. This is a speaking role (obviously).

2. Supporting Lead – This is also typically a larger role in the project. You are supporting the lead character(s) in their story. You can be a major part of the story (Like Robin in Batman). This is a speaking role.

3. Supporting – You may have one line (The famous “Here is your coffee, Sir.” line) or maybe a few more but for the most part your character is not a memorable role in the story but instead just there to move the story forward.

4. Featured Extra – This is a background role. Your face will be recognizable on screen but you will not have any major impact on the story or any scripted lines.

5. Extra – These are the background actors that fill the area and give life to the scene to make it look realistic. No speaking line or recognizable faces.

1.Starring – This one is pretty obvious. This role is the focal point of the show.

2. Series Regular – This character appears is all (or almost all) of the episodes. This is the equivalent of the supporting lead role in Film. This is the main character’s sidekick/boss/best friend. They are living in the main character’s story. Speaking role.

3. Recurring – The role will appear in multiple episodes throughout the season. They are the equivalent to the supporting roles for Film.

4. Guest Star – This is usually a major role for one episode. An easy example of this is the main criminal in any episode of Law & Order. They are a major part of the story for the one episode but usually gone by the end. This is a speaking role.

5. Co-Star – This is a speaking role. This is usually a character with a major role in a scene or two of an episode. This is the mechanic telling the star how he’s going to fix the star’s broken car or the forensic specialist that testifies for the defense in the courtroom drama type.

6. Featured Extra – You are recognizable but have no scripted lines. Example: You walk up and hand a file to the lawyer and then leave, but never say a word that is in the script. Even if you improv a line in, unless negotiated by your agent and added into the script you will not be bumped up in billing.

6. Extra – You are a background actor. No lines and mostly unrecognizable.

This one is quick and simple.

1. Principle – This is any speaking role in a commercial. Or at the very least the main actor while Voice Over explains your actions/ product/ service.

2. Feature – Everyone else. This is the background actor.

This section is the exception to the rules for billing. Here you can actually put your character’s name. This is because plays are usually played all across the world and their names become much more recognizable. Here your format will be: Project Name – Character Name – Production House.
The optional section of New Media is set-aside for Web Series or Online Content. You can create this if you’d like. If it is a short/feature length film you can just place that work under the film section. This section is only needed if it is an episodic web series, video game character acting, or music video.

Wrapping It All Up At The Bottom:

Here is the section for your Training and Special Skills. I personally prefer Training before Special Skills.

Training:

List the Company name followed by the Teacher Name followed by the individual class names.
Example: Art Sake Studio with Yvonne Suhor: Film I/Meisner, Film Scene Study, Audition Prep, Advanced Intensive

Special Skills:

Most often, actors really miss out on this opportunity and sell themselves way too short. Categorize your skills into sections like, athletics, dialects, musical talents, motor skills, and general stuff. DO NOT put items like directing, script writing or other production type skills. This is your acting resume. Not your crew job resume. The last thing a director wants is an actor sharing his/her “tips” on how to run a camera to the crew while on set so lets just leave those off the resume.

Look at your Actor’s Access Profile. The section with all the check boxes is an excellent place to get your special skills. If you check it there, it’s a special skill for your resume.

ActorsAccessMenu
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ASA Resume Template

Here is a pre-formatted Microsoft Word Document. The margins have been set to print 8x10. Simply plug in your information. *IMPORTANT NOTES FOR MINORS: If you are under 18, remove Weight from the HEADER and add your Birthdate.
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Resume Example

Here is an example of a complete resume using this format. Use this as a guide while you build your resume.
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-Updated 7/24/2014

-Patrick Ryan