Creating Your Acting Resumé When You Don't Have Much to Put
Students at The NY Acting School for Film and Television in New York 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 their craft and become an expert at acting. As such, I encourage you to take professional classes and perform wherever and whenever you can.
Now then... in general, you should not lie or make things up for your resume; however 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 or “Godspell”, Frank Lloyd Wright HS Theatre, Buffalo, NY.
I also 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 sections are great places to fill in your resume. You should list all of your classes, relevant experiences, and skills. For example, under Special Skills you can list: “High School Cheerleader”; “Drama Club President”; “College Tennis Team”; “Classical Guitar”; and any other hobbies and quirky skills that apply.
Under Education you can list: "Voice Lessons"; "Dance Classes"; "Acting Classes"; "Film Study"; etc. And if you've taken classes or lessons from an instructor or coach – you can list that as well. For example: “Acting Class for Film and TV" with Mark Stolzenberg at The NY Acting School for Film and Television.
One strategy I use is to showcase all my “Star in a Movie” students in an industry screening at The New School University. I then suggest that they can list this separately from the class listing. This gives them another listing from the actual class and it is legitimate.
If you want to get more experience you can list on your resume you can always produce your own showcases. Get together with friends and produce a play together for a week run. You will learn a quite a lot and get to build your resume without having to run around to auditions.
There is also a professional and standard format for acting resumes which you must follow. However, this is a topic for another discussion.
By Mark Stolzenberg
Mr. Stolzenberg is the Director of The New York Acting School for Film and Television - which provides professional acting classes for film and Tv acting.
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