One thing that stresses beginning actors is the amount of white space on their résumé. What do you put
on there if you’re just getting started? Most importantly, how are you
going to book a role when you’ve got nothing to show for it?
All actors have started with a blank page and we, as casting directors, understand that. It’s daunting and
sometimes plain discouraging to have a résumé that lacks credits, but
don’t let that stop you from getting out there. That doesn’t mean your
résumé should have nothing though. You should have something on your résumé.
Here are some ideas for how to fill in the blanks.
1. Work on a student film.
Student films are an awesome way for you to land great speaking roles! They may
be low paid or even unpaid, but it’s worth the experience. The
potential to book a meaty supporting or lead role not only means that
you get to list a principal part on your résumé, but you also get
material for a reel—an absolute must for an actor these days! On top of that, you get the
invaluable experience of working on set while making great contacts. My
advice to actors at the beginning of their careers is to audition for as
many student films as you can. One of the last short films I cast went
to the Cannes Film Festival!
2. Book a role in a play.
Booking a role in a play is a great way to keep those acting muscles in shape.
Plus, you get to invite agents, CDs, and other industry professionals to
see your work. Additionally, the “theater” section on your résumé is
treated with respect by those of us on the other side of the casting
table. Why? It shows that you have a commitment to your craft. Between
dedication to rehearsals and performances, we know that you’ve put in
months of work for a role. It also shows us that you can memorize copy.
Those are valuable attributes to have and they’ll serve you well as you
audition and are cast in other productions.
3. Self-produce your own project.
If you have a smartphone, an idea, and yourself, then guess what? You have
all you need to create your own project. This proactive attitude is
great in so many ways. It shows us that you have a can-do attitude which
we love and are organized. Plus you’ll get more material for your reel
as well as an audience. By distributing your work on YouTube, Vimeo, or
any other web page, you demonstrate to agents, directors, and the rest
of the industry that you’re marketable and it’s certainly a must if you
plan to reach out to agents and CDs in the bigger markets!
4. Take acting classes.
One of the other sections on a résumé I hold in high regard is the
“training” section. If you’ve trained at a notable and reputable acting
school, I’ll take note even if there’s nothing else on your résumé. It
shows me that you’re serious about your work and are willing to invest
in your craft. It also tells me a little bit about how you work as an
actor from where you’ve studied. Classes are a great place to create
your own support group and network with other actors. Plus, if you’ve
earned a BFA or an MFA in acting, believe me, I’ll pay attention!
Acting is a journey. The award-winning actors you see on screen all started with a blank
résumé, but they were motivated, diligent, and looking to improve
themselves which resulted in a great résumé and the roles you know
them for today. As you go along this journey, you’ll increase your
network of contacts which, in turn, will increase your chances of
getting booked. You never know, the young filmmakers you work with on
low-budget student or independent films could be the Spielbergs of the
Just keep doing the work and your résumé will flourish!
Original published article: https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/4-tips-for-growing-your-resume-when-youre-starting-out-68251/