Resume And Other Correspondence

 

The Resume

The resume you are compiling for a career in the performing arts is different than one you would prepare for a business career. It should be a one-page summary of you -- education, skills, employment experience and career objectives. It should also be honest and focused in a way that underscores the relationship between your qualifications and the job you are applying for. When you are laying out the resume, try to leave a reasonable amount of "white space" -- generous margins all around and spacing between entries. It should be typed or printed (not Xeroxed) on 8 1/2" x 11" white, cream or ivory stock with black ink.

View Resume Sampler 1; View Resume Sampler 2; View Resume Sampler 3; View Resume Sampler 4

Mass Mailing

When doing a mass mailing, you mail out large numbers of pictures and resumes to a group of agents or casting directors. But for every one of those pictures and resumes, you still must enclose a personalized cover letter for each one.

  Check List of Elements that Should Appear on a Performing Artists' Resume
AGE RANGE, usually indicating the eight to ten year range that you could be cast as.
AGENT, the person franchised by one or more of the major unions who represents and negotiates on your behalf.
AGENCY, the office of your agent.
BUSINESS MANAGER, meaning the person handling your business affairs.
COACH, who guides your development in acting, singing or dancing.
CONTACT NUMBER, traditionally the phone number of an answering service appointed to take important calls for you, but in today’s myriad messaging environment can be many things.
DANCE, the training and/or performances you have had in the field.
DEMO, meaning 1/2" or 3/4" demo tape of one to five minutes showing excerpts of your most recent television and/or film roles.
DIALECTS, the different speech patterns found regionally and internationally.
EDUCATION, your training, college or otherwise, that is particularly concerned with theatre, dance, voice, commercials etc.
EYES, or more precisely, the color of your eyes.

EXPERIENCE, encompassing: Broadway, children’s theater, chorus, classical theater, co-starring roles, commercials (listed upon request), community theater, dance performance, day players, extra work (listed upon request), featured roles, film work, first national tour, game shows (especially since many now hire actors to be contestants), guest starring roles, improv, industrial films, lead roles, modeling, musical theater, music videos, repertory theater, representative roles, series regular, showcase, sit-com, soap opera, special business (a small role in a production that is unique or specialized, usually interacting with a principal), stage combat, starring roles, summer stock or straw hat, under five (U/5) television roles of 5 lines or less.

HAIR, the actor’s hair color.

HEIGHT, the actor’s height.
NO CURRENT CONFLICTS, meaning you do not currently have a commercial running or one that you are on hold for.
PRODUCTION COMPANY, or the name of the entity that puts together or heads the project you appear in.
PR PERSON, or persons who get your name and likeness out to the media and public.
RECENT ADDITIONS, includes space at the bottom of a resume in order to accommodate new credits without reprinting the entire resume.
TRAINING at various institutions, or with well placed individuals, to gain the requisite knowledge of the craft, and which is usually regarded as an indicator of serious intent.
TRAINING at various institutions, or with well placed individuals, to gain the requisite knowledge of the craft, and which is usually regarded as an indicator of serious intent.
UNION AFFILIATION, the most common of which include: Actor’s Equity Association (AEA), American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA), American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Associated Actors and Artists of America (AAAA), and to which all the above belong.
WEIGHT, which would be considered one important aspect of the actor’s type.
 Use our communication tools (chat room; message board; messaging tools etc.) to reach others who can provide you with more help and information

The body of the letter can remain the same for each letter, just the address area and salutation need change. Done by a typewriter, individualized letters could take forever. But with access to a computer, and more importantly a mail merge program, it can happen at the touch of a button.

There are mailing services that offer custom-design mailing lists and labels based on your individual career goals. They will also print individualized cover letters if you supply the pictures and the resumes. These services can be found listed in the trades.

The ATA (Association of Talent Agents) and the CSA (Casting Society of America) have recommended a standardized form for résumés to make reading and checking the relevant information easier. And although out of alphabetical order, certainly do not forget NAME of the actor goes at the very top of the resume in bold block caps.

Promotional Marketing Through Mailings

Mailing offers a way to make contact with casting directors and agents in a professional and non-intrusive way. Thoughts can be better organized when set down on paper, and you can attain a more controlled presentation. Aspects of any mass promotional mailing would include:

* Resume
* Headshot
* Cover Letter
* Follow-up Post cars or note cards

Cover Letter

Quite similarly to a job seeking cover letter for business industries, the actor's cover letter should be professional, direct and succinct. Furthermore, it should:

* State the reason for writing the letter.
* Briefly highlight recent important successes.
* Briefly outline future plans and expectations realistically.
* Make note of any high level contacts -- like casting directors.
* Make the addressee aware you will contact them soon.

Postcards

Postcards can be an important tool in securing work in the industry for some very simple reasons:

* Postcards are mailed more frequently (or should be) than any other mass mailing item.
* Agents and casting directors may request them as a means to keep in touch by.
* They take less time to prepare, and are inexpensive to reproduce and to mail.
* Agents and casting directors are more likely to have ready storage and filing systems for them than for the larger headshots, letters and resumes.

Wording for a post card should be brief, as you are limited by space anyway, and can sound something like this:

Dear Max, I just got back from Houston where I was doing a short run musical for the Texas A&M Ensemble Group. Now that I'm back in town, I'm ready to go to work and hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, Tristan Piels (your signature)

 

Targeted mailings can help keep the size of lists more manageable, making record-keeping and personalized cover letters easier to do. Commercial, soap opera, theatre, and motion picture are possible categories to build targeted mailings under.

The postcard is a tactical and valuable follow-up tool when done appropriately and professionally. A month or two after your headshots go out, you can follow up with postcards. On the back of the postcards, write a quick note to include your recent career news and a request for an interview. Of course each postcard should be polite and gracious in nature.

Sources of Publicity

870 Market Street, Suite 375
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415-430-1140
http://www.theatrebayarea.org

Editors, critics and contact names and addresses for more than 210 newspapers and magazines (including Web sites) and more than 108 radio and television stations throughout the Bay Area.

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Terms to Know

Acting Resume. Focuses exclusively on acting and establishes your credibility as an actor by listing your acting experience and training as well as promote you as an actor to agents and casting directors.

Biography. A concise account of an artist or group’s industry related experience or background.

Press Kit. A presentation including newspaper clippings, review of movie, television, musical and theater productions, a biography, headshot and resume given to the media and interested industry professionals. Also called a press package.

 

For a full glossary listing click here

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Relevant Associations & Organizations

Actors’ Fund of America
729 Seventh Avenue (48 & 49 Sts.), 11 Floor
New York, NY 10036
Phone: 212-354-5480
Los Angeles: 323-933-9244 ext. 50
Career management and counseling mostly for sideline and second careers; educational grants for retraining and education.
Email (NY/LA): This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.actorsfund.org/human/work.html

Association of Talent Agents (ATA)
9255 Sunset Blvd., Suite 930
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Phone: 310-274-0628
Fax: 310-274-5063
Trade association composed of approximately 100 agency companies engaged in the talent agency business. The membership includes agencies of all sizes representing clients in the motion picture industry, stage, television, radio (including commercials) and literary work.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.agentassociation.com/

Career Transition for Dancers (CTFD)
In New York:
The Caroline & Theodore
Newhouse Center for Dancers
200 West 57th Street, Suite 808
New York, NY 10019-3211
Phone: 212-581-7043
Fax: 212-581-0474
A mission to empower current and former professional dancers with the knowledge and skills necessary to clearly define their career possibilities after dance, and to provide resources necessary to help make these possibilities a reality.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.careertransition.org/

Casting Society of America
606 N. Larchmont Boulevard, Suite 4-B
Los Angeles, CA 90004 -1309
Phone: 323-463-1925
Fax:323-463-5753
Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
http://www.castingsociety.com/

   
     
     
 For a full listing of helpful associations and organizations click here