Last time, we encouraged you to think of an acting resume as an important tool for every theater or film actor, whether fresh out of high school drama class or already a rising star.
We covered basics about the headshot, length, heading, and acting credits. Now, we’re going to discuss the last four sections: education, training, skills, and special awards.
4. Only include a formal education section if you have a degree that is directly related to acting.
As you’ve probably guessed by how far down the list the “education and training” section appears, formal instruction isn’t incredibly important in the acting business. That’s not to say it isn’t helpful, just that it’s not at the top of the typical director’s priority list.
That being said, it shouldn’t be too surprising that only college degrees which are related to acting should appear on your acting resume. So, if relevant, list the name of the degree that you earned, your major, the name of the college, and the location of the college. The college location information should include the city and state, or city and country. If your academic minor was also relevant to acting, you may want to list that as well.
If you have not earned your degree yet, but it is still related to acting, you may put “Expected to graduate” behind the year and month you expect to finish. You generally should not list your GPA on your acting resume.
Now, you may also want to list specific classes in your education section, if you have room. This can be especially helpful for actors who are just starting out, since a “selected coursework” or “related coursework” section lengthens an acting resume without making it fluffy.
Elizabeth Abbot, academic advisor at the University of Utah for Film and Media, recommends mentioning the specific techniques or methods you were taught in your acting classes. For example, she said that instead of just having a “Voice and Speech” class mentioned on your acting resume, you should also mention the method used, such as Skinner, Lessac, Linklater, Fitzmaurice, etc.
5. In your training section, include acting seminars, private coaching, studio classes, workshops, and similar experiences.
The training part of this section is where acting-related seminars, private coaching, studio classes, and workshops fit in. You should include training in related fields, such as singing, dance, acrobatics, martial arts, and so on. As we said before, be specific! For example, you can mention what type of martial arts or dance style you learned.
You can list how many years you’ve studied a particular subject as well. Any prestigious teachers, acting coaches, or studios should also be mentioned.
6. In your “skills” section, list any special abilities related to entertainment.
The types of skills that are appropriate to put on your acting resume will be different for a theater resume and a TV/film resume. For theater, stage combat and traditional dance might be more important, while TV and film tend to emphasize more “realistic” skills, such as proficiency with firearms and different types of vehicles.
Basically, any special skill that is relevant to acting or entertainment might fit here. Elizabeth Abbot recommends listing proficiency with any of the following:
- Foreign languages
- Musical performance (playing instruments and especially singing)
- Styles of music
- Reading music
- Styles of dance
- Stage combat
- Martial arts
- Team sports
- Individual sports
- Extreme sports
- Acrobatic tumbling
- Unicycle riding
- Relevant professional training (think of roles you might realistically see on the stage or screen)
You should also list your proficiency for each ability, with modifiers such as expert, fluent, proficient, and so on.
Even mentioning whether you have a license or can drive a stick shift might be helpful, since your character might have to drive on screen.
7. Finish off strong by mentioning any special awards.
According to the career services office of Pace University, which has an active theater program, adding any theatrical awards or honors you’ve received is a great way to polish off your acting resume.
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into an acting resume. However, of all the professional resumes, the acting resume is one of the shortest, since it must always fit on the back of a 8” by 10” headshot, which is smaller than a standard sheet of paper, and cannot be longer than one page when printed.
So, you must be very economical with your words if you want to make the cut. Put yourself in the director’s seat and imagine what you would be impressed by if you were looking at an acting resume. If you do that, you will have a much better idea of what to include.
Break a leg!