I hear a lot of excuses as to why a young actor doesn’t have a printed resume to hand me at an audition. A sampling:

“My printer/computer is broken.”

“We don’t have a printer/computer.”

“I don’t have anything to put on a resume.”

“I forgot.”

“I didn’t know I was supposed to bring one.”

None of these is acceptable. Here’s why:

  • You should have a stack of printed resumes ready to go, so that if your computer/printer breaks, it’s a non-issue.
  • There are free computers for your use at school or at the public library, copy shops, community centers, friends’ or relatives’ houses. You may have to pay to print, but it’s worth it, a small investment in your future.
  • I forgot is never ever ever a good excuse. Just sayin.
  • Always assume you should bring your resume. Even if you are trying out for a camp show, a school show, a church thing, a choir, whatever, get in the habit of bringing it. If nothing else, it’s really impressive.
  • You have something to put on it. You thought I skipped that one, didn’t you? Nope. Just left it for last so I can go more into it.

Start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. Start with your name. it goes at the top of the page, centered, bold, in all capital letters, a fairly large font:

CHRIS ACTOR

Just below that, you will have your contact info. If you are younger than 16, don’t put down your personal cell number. Put your email address and one of your parents’ cell numbers.

CHRIS ACTOR

chrisactor@gmail.com

Mom’s cell 202-555-5555

Good start.

Next, list any education you have in the arts. It could be any class or workshop or camp that you have participated in, including school drama class and after-school programs. Nothing is insignificant.

CHRIS ACTOR

chrisactor@gmail.com

Mom’s cell 202-555-5555

EDUCATION

Youtheatre Drama Camp Summer 2014

Drama classes Springfield Middle School 2012-present

Piano lessons 2009-present

Ballet- 2 years at Ballet Guild

 

Whatever you’ve got. Now we get into experience. There are lots of opinions about how to organize your experience, most of them are right. It’s good to take someone’s resume that you like and copy that format. The date that you did a certain production is not necessarily important, but the role you played is, and the place that you did it. Do keep your stuff in chronological order, with the most recent thing you did at the top. Below is just an example:

CHRIS ACTOR

chrisactor@gmail.com

Mom’s cell 202-555-5555

EDUCATION

Youtheatre Drama Camp Summer 2014

Drama classes Springfield Middle School 2012-present

Piano lessons 2009-present

Ballet- 2 years at Ballet Guild

PERFORMING EXPERIENCE

The Wizard of Oz                      Munchkin, Flying Monkey             Springfield Middle School

Jack and the Beanstalk          Giant Child                                          Missoula Children’s Theater

Choir Concert                        Alto soloist                                        Springfield Middle School

Christmas Pageant               Shepherd #1                                     Springfield Methodist Church

 

At your age, pretty much anything goes. Any pageants, concerts, talent shows, parent’s night MC gig, camp skits can even do in a pinch. Put everything you can think of on there at first. As you gather more experience, you can start to drop things off your resume and pick and choose what you want to best represent you.

This is not the time to be modest! If you played four different characters in a play, put them all down! If you were in the ensemble of your school musical but had some extra lines or a special dance moment, use the phrase Featured Ensemble. Put down any time you did an understudy role, even if you never went on; you put down the character name as if you had played it, with (US) after it. The skills involved in all of those- multiple characters, specialty ensemble, understudying- are all really valuable, and give  the director a ton of information that they wouldn’t get if you decided to say “well, I was really just chorus in all those shows, so that’s what I’ll put.” This is where you have to exploit every moment you have spent on that side of the footlights.

Now we come to that most amorphous and sometimes the most entertaining part of your resume: Special Skills. The great thing about this category is that there are no rules! It’s a perfect place to put down stuff that you couldn’t put anywhere else. Here are the things you should definitely let them know that you can do:

  • Music reading/instruments you play
  • Gymnastics or tumbling
  • Sports you play
  • Dialects or accents you can do
  • Juggling
  • Magic
  • Foreign languages you are fluent in, especially ASL

Then, the sky’s the limit! Especially if you are auditioning for film and commericals, thinks like horseback riding, swimming, ice skating, able to stand on your head and sing The Star-Spangled Banner, whatever! I will often look at this section on a person’s resume first, because it tells me a lot about their personality.

CHRIS ACTOR

chrisactor@gmail.com

Mom’s cell 202-555-5555

EDUCATION

Youtheatre Drama Camp Summer 2014

Drama classes Springfield Middle School 2012-present

Piano lessons 2009-present

Ballet- 2 years at Ballet Guild

PERFORMING EXPERIENCE

The Wizard of Oz                      Munchkin, Flying Monkey            Springfield Middle School

Jack and the Beanstalk          Giant Child                                         Missoula Children’s Theater

Choir Concert                        Alto soloist                                        Springfield Middle School

Christmas Pageant               Shepherd #1                                     Springfield Methodist Church

SPECIAL SKILLS

Play jazz clarinet (2 yrs) and piano (5 yrs); basic tumbling (somersaults/cartwheels/splits); fluent in Spanish; yo-yo tricks; origami; can solve Rubik’s Cube in less than one minute.

 

Ta-daaaah! A resume! Print it, stick a fork in it, it’s done! Make sure to keep a backup. The very best way to do that is to email it to yourself, then it’s stored in a place that is safe and is not going to get lost even if your computer self-destructs or is stolen. Play with the fonts and the spacing till your resume fills one page (it should never be more than one page). Make it look the way you want, but keep those sections in that order.

Print at least twice as many as you think you will need, and keep an electronic copy on your hard drive and in your email. It’s good if you save it as both a Word document and a PDF, and if you have to submit your stuff online use the PDF.

Have at it.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s