How To Format Your Actor Resume

Believe it or not, actor resumes are one area where the entertainment industry is pretty standard. Geography doesn’t make that much difference. That’s why most of the nationwide casting sites give you the same basic format to use when entering your resume.

Your resume should be in 10 or 12 point font. No script, just clear simple fonts. For the printed resume, cut it down to 8 x 10, so that it can be neatly attached to a head shot.

Acting resumes always start with the actor’s name, contact information (your agent or manager) and union status. Put this stuff in big bold letters at the top. It’s the most important thing!

There are varying opinions about including personal details such as age, height, weight, hair color, etc. Please always ask your representative what they prefer. However, guidelines related to safety include NOT putting home phone number, home address, and social security numbers on the resume. Use cell phones and P.O. boxes.

You do not get to say you are SAG unless you have paid the big bucks and actually joined. This is a big deal, since it may ultimately involve fines for producers if the union status is inaccurate on the resume. You want to be VERY sure of your child’s status, and put SAGe (for SAG eligible) if they are. SAGe is a good thing–you can do both non-union and union work, and producers know they won’t have to file Taft Hartley paperwork for your child. (Of course you have to be ready to join right away if need be). .Some agents and managers advise that actors at higher levels do not need to put SAG/AFTRA at the top of their resumes. Their credits make that obvious.

The rest of the resume is done in a 3 column format, and with certain categories. The first column in each category is the name of the project, second is the role/type of role, the third column is some identifying info–the studio, the director.

So it looks like this:

FILM 

Titanic            Supporting                  Dir James Cameron/Paramount

The sections are always:

FILM

TELEVISION

COMMERCIALS (you don’t actually list these unless you have nothing else, but you can say “conflicts available on request”)

THEATRE

TRAINING

SPECIAL SKILLS


Note: In New York , often the THEATRE section is first because the NY market places more value on the theatrical experience of an actor. In Los Angeles it is always in the above the order as the work in LA makes it more of a film/TV town.


You simply eliminate any sections in which you lack credits, or in which you just don’t want to share the info FILM categories do not generally list the NAME of the role. Just one of these:

  • Lead
  • Supporting
  • Featured

TELEVISION also does not list the name of the role. TV roles are:

  • Series Regular
  • Recurring
  • Guest Star
  • Co-Star
  • Featured

THEATRE is a bit different: That section often does list the names of the characters because it is assumed that CDs are trained in classics and the character name of the role gives them more information about the scope of the role. For example, if the resume credit includes the name” Betty” on Friends, that character name adds no valuable information for a Casting Director. They likely aren’t going to remember a character named Betty from an episode of a show that was on the air for several years. On the other hand, listing “Dorothy” in the Wizard of Oz, rather than ‘lead’ would give them more information about that experience.

A really important element of appropriate credits is to remember that credits are given, earned or negotiated as part of a contract. For films, crediting refers to the ‘order’. Be careful and realistic when assigning lead, supporting or featured/principal to that role. For TV work, the credit is specifically indicated on the contract. There’s no willy-nillying that one. Maybe you feel the work done was really greater than someone else who lists a bigger credit – that doesn’t mean you can just decide to “up” your credit. It’s very common, for example, that a role that might be a guest star for an adult would be categorized as a lower paying and lesser level credit of co-star for a child actor. This isn’t widely abused, but it happens often enough that it’s worth mentioning here.  When in doubt, check your contract.

COMMERCIALS – as mentioned above aren’t normally listed on a resume, unless specifically requested by an agent or manager. One reason is that if you list all of the products your child has advertised for – you are also indicating to a Casting Director that there are potential conflicts. You wouldn’t want to list a Kellogg’s Fruit Loops commercial from 5 years ago. Because you aren’t indicating any dates, it might appear that your child has a conflict where they couldn’t do a Post Raisin Bran commercial now. Most people will indicate that “conflicts are available on request”. Then if that information is required, a CD can get the up to date conflicts your child has, if any, from your agent.

TRAINING and SPECIAL SKILLS categories are a bit of a free-for-all, but they also have no dates.

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