Monday, December 1, 2014

Acting Resume


Keep it simple
Tell your story.
Use an industry format.
Ask your agent for their preferred format.
Do not lie.
Do not exaggerate.
Show your best.
There is no such thing as SAG-Eligible. 
Make sure you have talking points.
Resume and Photo must be kept up to date.

    Resumes are talking points for those you audition for, much like a professional employment resume. They should follow one of several accepted industry formats. 

They should never lie. 

Do not represent background work as acting work. 

Do not list teachers or coaches with whom you only took a few hours or few days of workshop. Rule of thumb: will they now you and recommend you if asked?

As a rule, once you have the credits, drop smaller roles, coaches you have studied with for less than a full year and talents or abilities at which you could not claim an expert level of proficiency. 

Do list your talents and abilities, because they can be used as ‘talking points’ or may qualify you for consideration of specific roles. Las Vegas talent has historically abused resumes and photographs, by not looking like their photograph when they show up for an audition, by keeping half truths on the resumes, by not investing in the proper tools and by not making both their name and their agents’ name and number or personal contact number easy to find and read. Resume and photographs are part of why Las Vegas has the reputation it does have, beyond specialty entertainers found in shows on the Las Vegas Strip.

NEVER list SAG-Eligible, as done above. It simply tells professionals who hire that you had a SAG role or extra slots but are not professional or serious enough to join the union.

There are many formats for resumes. As a rule include your name and a contact number plus union affiliation at the top. Start your credits with film, then TV, then theater, then training and special skills (make sure you are good at these, at least far above average if not a trained professional). If multi-lingual, list languages as special skills. . Do not include commercials, or if you must simply put "commercials on request". This is done because commercials listed often are considered, without asking you, conflicts and may keep you from even been seen for the work. Also, modeling resume's are separate. As a rule (rules can be bent or broken) modeling should not show up on a TV/Theatrical resume. 

In some markets commercial actors are no considered for film or television roles and visa-versa (although this trend is being eroded by celebrities doing commercial work).  

If you have an agent or manager, prepare a resume exactly the way they request, then make a separate document (never to be used if you are submitted by the agent for work) for your own use.

In this computer age there are also formatted forms to fill out. They may or may not showcase you at your best, but this is the society we now live in.

Resumes submitted electronically should be submitted as pdf or as a photo. Word may change formats depending on the computer settings on the receiving end. If "word" is requested, then submit word.
Note: Do not put SAG-Eligible...its shows you are not ready to be a profesional (either join a union or remain non-union / pre-union). 

Now a few Theatre Resume samples:

See also the following:

A few sample resume sites:
actor sample 1  

Feel free to share additional sites, your resume or to share info


This site is a work in progress, and will be a part of an expanded web site under the home address of www:// Any additions, corrections, ideas, guest material are greatly appreciated. Please also review the material located along the right hand column, then contact me at No funds are collected or directly solicited by this site. Google Ads are used to expand Google search and tools reach. Web assistance and a web master are also being sought. Thank you in advance. -Art Lynch

Voice Over Basics

Preparing For A Voiceover Career

Are you interested in a career as a voice actor? There is a continuing demand for voice over talent in the acting industry, so now is the time to start building your career.
The industry is a small one, with high earners limited by the reality that a few people, including celebrities from other areas, can do many voices. It is not centralized, however the centers of the film and commercial voice industries are located in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. If well established in a smaller market, or highly established nationally, a voice artist can live anywhere in the world and produce quality work with the aid of modern technologies.
Many different types of work exist for voice talent, including film, animation, video games, television commercials and radio commercials. Animated movies and television programs are also options and can be a great start, even children can use their voice talent to get into the industry in this way, however most children's voices are done by adult professionals. In this highly technological era, you can also be an Internet voice over talent, participating in online advertisements or podcasts. Before you begin sending out your resume, though, you need to ensure you are prepared for a voice over career.

Preparing to try out for voice over opportunities is very similar to preparing to try out for any type of talent opportunity. An actor auditioning for a role will perform a sample scene to be evaluated by the show’s director. Similarly, voice actors provide a sample of their narration skills to the client that will be producing the relevant piece. So, your first preparation for a voice over career should be to record a sample that showcases your voice talent. In preparation for this, however, you might decide that the real first step is to take voice lessons.
Voiceover can be hard on your voice and consistency of presentation are essential. Each take should be the same in every way as previous takes, changing only what you are directed to change. This takes training. Voice artist take singing lessons, and specialized training on vocal techniques for voice over work.
Understanding the copy writers intent, how to sell a product, how to score your copy, how to use the microphone itself to get desired sounds and effects are tools every voice artist must learn.
When you record your sample voice over piece, you should keep a few things in mind. First, ensure that your recording is of the highest quality possible. No scratchy recordings need apply. When you are preparing for a voice over career, you will want to invest in a high-quality microphone to use with your computer, or in a separate high-quality recording system altogether. The equipment you use should record your voice while minimizing any background sounds and without adding any distortion. Soundproofing the area you are recording, understanding how to mix in additional sound effects or music, and how professional production takes place is essential.
The piece that you narrate for your voice talent sample should be chosen to show the range of emotions you can display, as well as the physical range that your voice can achieve. Ensure that you prepare and read your chosen piece as expressively as possible. If you will be using a sample script that has been sent to you, you should become as familiar as possible with the material so that you can show that you’re the best choice as the voice over talent for the project. Read up on the subject of the script and do your research just as  all professional actors do for the roles they audition for

A Voice Over Career

Voice actors can make extremely lucrative salaries and once you break into this business, you will find that you can often obtain more work than you can handle. By working diligently in preparing for a voice over career, you can open doors that will provide you with a lifetime of work. All you need is talent, quality equipment and diligence to succeed!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Casting Director Advice

General Advice from one individual but representative of many...

Advice remains solid, but information may not be from one casting director.

Complied by Art Lynch

Casting Directors are not gods, or your saviors. They are employees of management who have a job to do and do it to the best of their abilities or they do not work again. They audition and are hired for jobs just as actors are, and are only as good as their last job.

They are not your friend. 

They are not the enemy.

They are not your teacher.

They are not your judge, no matter how you may see it that way.

They are doing their job.

Most want you to succeed.

Most are more open then you think to new talent.

All must know the economics and politics of the business.

Their advice is to be taken as opinion, based on doing their job, not on how to act or what to do in all cases. 

There are great difference in how casting is done by budget level, location, coast, market, type of production, needs of the production and from how business is done and decisions are made from casting director to casting director, company to company, production to production.

Casting Directors usually (almost always) do not decide who gets the role. It is the CD’s job to present a casting session of the best talent for whatever characters our client (Production Company/Ad Agency) is looking to hire. After the client reviews the casting session, they make their “select” choices and present them to their client (the Product Company, Director, Producers).  From there, the choices are narrowed down and eventually a final choice is made. It’s very rare when a client will ask a CD to choose who they should book. Those rare moments usually occur with only the most trusted casting directors or on very small and "insignificant" roles.

There is a difference between NY and LA casting is that in LA a lot of the TV shows are looking for people who look like actors (polished, well-groomed, attractive, etc.). Basically people who are the best versions of themselves. In NY,  CDs are looking for authentic NY faces that look like they were plucked off a city street or subway car. They want virgins who an act and actors who look as if they never acted before. Just look at some of our TV shows in NY, LA and around the country and you’ll see its true.

Professional background talent is at its best in NYC, with larger union numbers on the set, greater training and the look of being real. They are actors from stage, television, film and now from the web and on-line gaming. They are actors.

On both coast, and in between, where union theatrical background zone exist and on most all commercials, there is a negative stigma to being an extra. It can keep you from working as an actor. Most casting directors say not want to see background work (or any lies or exaggerations) on your resume or reel. A few feel that being a background actor can be part of your training and learning curve, but warn of bad habits you can pick up as background and the industry stigma of background not being actors. 

The best casting directors are big fans of quality, not quantity. It is more important for actors to be going out on auditions that are very focused and geared toward their type/strength so that the potential for booking increases. It is better to focus on going on the RIGHT auditions instead of going on EVERY audition.

Actors will not be taken seriously until they approach casting directors as applicants. Remember, qualified professionals do not beg for a job. They apply and if they do not get the job, they move on and apply someplace else. If they do not get the job and another one opens, perhaps that application will be reviewed and they may get the next opportunity to come around.

Auditioning has a great deal to do with the art of social networking. Everything in an audition sends a message and builds a profile in the mind of the casting director. The more you know, the larger potential you have to grow.
 “Staying on a casting director’s radar” is subject to each individual CD’s methods and systems. This is a business of individuals and generally we all have a different process. What usually stays standard across the the board however is that CD’s remember good work and talented actors. IT’S OUR JOB! It’s how we make a living and advance our careers. So while there really is no rule or exact science to staying on a CD’s radar or holding their interest, my personal opinion on the matter is QUALITY OVER QUANTITY! It doesn’t matter how many CD workshops or classes you take or how often you mail a postcard out. If your aren’t presenting polished, appealing, interesting and QUALITY work, then you probably aren’t making an impression (or even worse…you’re making a bad one). 

Focusing on the actual work when you do have an opportunity to meet a CD is more important than figuring out how to keep in touch or stay on their radar. If you do good work and they like you, casting directors are going to want to keep you on their radar!
Every casting office works differently. Some only want submissions and other mail via post while others prefer email. Even after 9-11, casting offices open their mail regardless of how it gets to them. That doesn’t however guarantee or warrant a reply. Cover letters should be brief (you don’t want to take up too much of the CD’s time) and submissions should only be project/role specific. Show and screening invitations are generally always welcomed, but pleased don’t abuse the process. Quality not quantity.

Do your homework. Research the roles, the director, the CD and the projects before you submit. If you are right go ahead and submit an be ready to apply your research when applicable  (it may not always be). If it is about an historic event, actual issue or based on a the books, research in an academic and not just a cursory way, what you need to know to have a complete, deep and well reasoned audition. Then internalize your research.

Read your resume and review your experience and skills before every interview to remind yourself you right for the job!

Remember that auditioning is what you do. It is your chance to shine, to act to do what you love doing. If you land a role that is cream and money in your pocket. If not, you are practicing your craft and doing the best you can with every opportunity.

Know your craft, even that which goes beyond the talent and instinct of actors. You need to know how to slate, how to audition, camera angles and frames, how large or small to make a character or line-read, how to be real and when not to be real.

Take lessons and stay with the same teachers. Less than a year, and in some cases three, should not be on your resume. If a Casting Director calls the teacher or coach, they must know who you are and be able to recommend you. Never lie.

There are a large number of actors in the non-union market who are new to this business and unfortunately do not have any on-camera training. You need to study, learn, stay on top of your craft and of the industry. Sometimes an actor will shift their weight, blink their eyes a bit too much, lick their dry lips.  Those are the most common ones.

When slating, it’s always better to keep it real and simple.  And be yourself. Remember the "edit time", so pause before and after your audition. The camera is still rolling and your knowledge on how to use that time shows your professionalism or lack of professionalism. Use the moment before to be in a reality, whatever is required to set the scene and make you a real character before anyone opens their mouth in a scene or monologue.

Relax.  If an actor is relaxed and open to the direction they are showing their mastery of the craft.  It does not matter if the direction is real or made simply to see what you do with it.  If an actor looks good, then the casting director looks good to their client. 

Read the trades, follow blogs, seek out advice on where to list your services, how to build your own tools (web site, IMDB, Actors Access, head-shots, reel, business cards and so on).

On reels keep it simple is the rule and put your best foot forward. The average attention span of watching these reels is 10 - 15 seconds. Have a creative way of showing your best work. Usually  put the most recent work first and edit them together in chronological order.There are alternatives of having larger segments, but these are more for agents who know exactly which segment to submit for which role,  Do not make a self produced reel any longer than 90 – 120 seconds. Most casting directors don’t have a lot of time to sit through 3 – 5 minute reels. But as always follow the advice of your agent or manager, as the trends change, vary by coast and by the nature of the submission. Thee is no such thing as one perfect reel.

Working in LA or NY is like working in most major cities. There is lots of quality work here that’s both union and non union. The qualified professional talent will have the edge in landing jobs, as the market will know who does the Job well, can be reliable and is takes their craft seriously enough to do their best work when it is needed most. Find some sort of survival job ASAP ( even before moving to the city) because both cities are expensive and rent is also high even in less popular areas.

First published March 7, 2013

Friday, November 28, 2014

Acting Resume Tips !

Dos and Don'ts

  • Print or staple your resume to the back of your headshot.  
  • If you are stapling, trim your resume to fit the headshot. Cut you resume - 8x10.
  • Make sure the contact information on the back is up-to-date, and that you have an email address.
  • If you have a lot of projects, it's better to list the best ones.

  • Never lie about your experience.
  • Don't make up special skills or write things down just so to fill in the special skill area.
  • Don't use a resume that is larger that 8 ½ x 11.
  • Don't use a resume that is more than one page. 
  • Don't staple reviews or clippings to your resume. They just get in the way.
  • Don't make the type smaller than 10 pt. If you have that much experience, edit it down.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Creating Your Résumé

AFFILIATIONS (if any) such as SAG / AFTRA

William Morrison Agency
Height: 5' 10"
Bob Smith
Weight: 160 lbs.
Telephone: 213-555-1212
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Dir. James Cameron
Over the Hedge
Lou (voice)
Dir. Tim Johnson
Star Wars
Hans Solo
Dir. George Lucas
Hart's War
Lt. Hart
Dir. Gregory Hoblit


CSI New York
Lab Tech - Featured
Dir. Rob Bailey
Other George
Dir. J.J. Abrams
Grey's Anatomy
Bob the Orderly
Dir. Shonda Rhimes
Mr. Kahn
Dir. J.J. Abrams
Head Injury Patient
Dir. Christopher Chulack


Catch that man
Theatre of the Arts
Mental case
Elite Theatre
Lovely Tom
The Clash Theatre


Conflicts available upon request


UCLA, BA Dramatic Arts

Brian Reise
Scene Study & Cold Reading
Los Angeles, CA
Howard Fine
Comprehensive Technique
Los Angeles, CA

Specials Skills

Basketball, African Dancing, Martial Arts, Mime, Extreme Biking, Rock Climbing, Hip Hop, Singing, Stunts, Basketball, Football, Diving, Precision driving, Fluent French, Cry Easily, Current Passport

See also:

From Showbiz Extras

Published by Cheryl Woolsey
First of all let's differentiate between a résumé you would use to get a job in an office environment versus the type of résumé you would use as an actor. A business résumé will contain your name, contact information, work experience and skills relative to the corporate world as well as education. An acting résumé will include your name, your contact or agents contact information, personal details about you, the film, television, theatre projects you've worked in, what role you played, any acting training/education you've completed and any special skills you have to bring to a role. As you can see, the only information they have in common is your name and contact information, unless of course you choose to use a stage name instead of your birth name or you have an agent. Other than that, the two are fairly dissimilar.

Click on Read More (below) to continue or go to Showbiz Extras by clicking here. Additional resume and photo advice can be found in the links listed in the right hand column of this blog/newsletter.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Actors are too mechanical

A highly respected acting coach phoned into WOR radio in New York City with this observation:

"Actors today are too mechanical."

What the coach was talking about was not only the formula stereotyped actions and reactions of actors at auditions. but the reality that many interact better with their cell phones and video games than with their fellow human beings.

"How can you create a full human being on stage or film, if you think in terms of text messages and stiff video images?" they ask.

An actor must learn to listen, to the other character, to the environment, to the perceived reality of the characters world, to the very subtext and pattern of their own words or lines. Listening is how we capture ad understand reality. As any good salesperson can tell you, listening involves all of your senses, including a full understanding of movement, body language, intent, facial expressions, and like poker, subtle "gives."

An actor should listen and react as if it is the first time that the words are spoken, the actions taken and the reality of the scene unfolds. To do that they need to engage their senses as well as their mind, and set aside the mechanical we learn form pushing buttons, viewing two dimensional screens and constantly accepting stereotyped characters and images.

The coach went on to say how hard it is to break a beginning actor of the mechanical movements and predictable, or telegraphed gestures and expressions they have grown up to think of as "acting." While it has always been hard, today the cell phone raised gaming generation is more entrenched and dependent on these mechanical short hand tools than ever before.

The expectation of fast results, the ego of assumed rather than polished talents, the "overnight star" fiction of our society all work against the serious training and proven results seasoned actors know is needed to longevity in a very difficult, but rewarding profession.

Students jump from teacher to teacher, coach to coach, job to job without allowing the time for concepts, loyalty, "ah-ha" moments to set in and take root.

Acting resume, regardless of coaching or teaching skills and experience, attract students who think that by association along they can advance their degree. Long term investment and carefully fertilized individual talent and the needed life experience behind it, are overlooked or skipped entirely.

Craft and art are treated as an inconvenience or something you can learn the same way as you might learn to use a new computer program or electronic gadget.

As a result, the craft, the level of acting talent and the overall quality of the final projects are suffering, careers are shortened and the view of the general public of actors continues to spiral down toward "something anyone can do."

Students need to slow down, be more loyal and realize that you are only as good as your ability to suspend disbelief and create the reality of the story you are one part in telling, no matter how large or small your role.

What the NYC coach was referring to was the need to put aside the fast and the furious, and take up the bones or what it is to be human; to create reality; to tell the story in a way that it is believed and experienced

Live life. Use your life experience. Learn from the life experience of others. Be a true artist.

Lose the machine.

Acting class vs casting director workshop

Even though I had great teachers prior to me moving out to LA and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Longwood University, I still needed to take acting classes when I came out to Los Angeles. Why? The most dangerous phrase in the English language is “I already know that!”

In the television and film world, acting classes and casting director workshops are not the same thing and for some reason when actors move Los Angeles they think they are.

Think of an acting class like a gymnasium of emotions and behavior. A place where you lift heavy weights of character, sweat out emotional sense memory, fart, burp, scream, cry, work out and push yourself to limits you never imaged. However casting director workshops are not that. They are the more like the ESPN CrossFit Games, where they give you the task and you better be able to perform it. Your “A” game is a must.


The trap for actors is that we so desperately want to be “discovered” by the casting directors of a hit television show, box office feature or indie film that the casting directors end up discovering something else about us that we never intended them to discover in the first place. They discover that we are not ready. (I’m so guilty of this) Not ready for what?

Not ready to take directions when a casting director gives you an adjustment and actually make the adjustment, not do the exact same thing they directed you not to do.

Not ready to give the casting director a great eye catching headshot with a resume that looks like you have experience in the acting business.

Not ready to cold read a scene which means you don’t have the ability to perform a scene

very well with little to no preparation.

Not ready to perform under the pressure of having writers, producers and directors that are in the room watching you, during your audition.

Not ready to not take things personally.

Not ready to accept the fact that casting may never call you

Not ready to work with other talented actors.

Not ready to work in front of a camera.

Not ready to break down scenes and characters.

Not ready to stop making excuses.

Not ready to be the great actor you are meant to be and let your greatness shine because you have not taken the time to practice your craft.

Let’s face it. Perception is reality in this business and the perception you want to create in front of casting is that: I’m a professional actor, ready to help you make your show the best show it can possibly be and if it’s not this show it will be the next one.

As Phillip P. Keene, Series Regular from The Closer and Major Crimes once told me, “If you sit at the dining table long enough, they’re going to have to feed you.”

But if you are not willing to work on your craft as an actor, then don’t even expect to get another invite to the dining table. In my opinion there are 2 invites. The casting director workshop is the first invitation, the one you paid for to meet them, hear their words of wisdom and show them your talent. The second invitation, which is not predicated to the first invitation, is where they call you in to audition for the show they are casting. Please be very aware, there is NO guarantee, and I mean NO guarantee they will call you in to audition for their show just because you took their workshop. However remember, your goal with the first invitation, the one you paid for, is to do such a good job that they have to call you in to audition for them because you were so unforgettable. Be great and they can’t forget you, even if they tried.

By Ransford Doherty
Stage 32