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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Resume: How To List Credits

In both large and small markets, actors are wooed by all kinds of different mediums: theater, film, television, commercials, industrials, etc. Since each audition normally relates to just one of these mediums, it stands to reason that an actor might have different resumes for each type of audition. It also stands to reason that an actor might only have a resume that reflects their top, preferred medium - film actors only including on-camera credits, for example. But what happens when an actor is auditioning for someone whose interests extend to multiple mediums, like agents and casting offices? If an actor wants to be known for performing in multiple mediums, how should they organize their resume?
I received this question from Ben, one of the readers of this blog:

“Currently I'm working off two resumes, one which features film work, and the other theatre. On Saturday I'm doing a meeting with 5 legit and 5 commercial agents each at The Network - would you recommend bringing one of the two resumes, or make a sort of all star selection list for them. I was thinking of doing a “2011-12 work only” resume for them to show how current my bookings are. Any suggestions?”

Regardless of what medium you’re auditioning for, I always recommend that your resume represent the full breadth of your work - in this case, your top theater and top film credits. They need not be the most recent credits, only the most representative of the kind of work you can do right now. Think about the kind of roles you want to play - which roles have you played that would help create that picture for prospective directors, producers, and casting personnel?

If you choose, you can have two resumes: one that's more weighted toward film and the other more toward theater. This will allow you to bring the resume that fits the kind of audition you're going for. In an agent setting (like the one you mentioned), bring the resume you feel is a better fit for the kind of actors they represent, or the medium for which you find more passion.

On this same topic, I saw this posted on the Backstage Forum:

“I’ve been given some advice about my resume, and I'm not sure how worthwhile the advice is. I've been told that, even though I'm primarily pursuing film/TV work in New York, I should still put my theater credits first on my resume because, according to the person who made this suggestion, most film/TV casting people in NY are "New York theater snobs." Does this sound like a smart move (putting theater first on my resume when all I'm really after is film/TV work)? Any thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!”
This topic falls into the genre of, "No matter who you ask, you'll probably get a different opinion." For example, your friend says theater should be on top for film producers, but for a lot of producers having it up top would indicate that you are more interested in theater... and for some film producers that equals "too big for the camera." Neither perspective is wrong, but you obviously cannot satisfy both types of people at the same time.

So, because so many headshot & resume preferences are subjective, it is a better idea to focus on the aspects of marketing that are objective. Namely, people who read resumes will naturally scan them from top to bottom. Because of this, you want to put your most important information up top to make sure it is seen. If you are primarily pursuing film/TV, put those credits before your theater credits. The fact that you have theater credits listed at all should satisfy any film producer/CD who wants a theater savvy actor.

With that, inside each section it is recommended that you put your best, most representative roles at the top, so that someone who is scanning quickly from section to section will see the credits you feel are most important. Some options for choosing: roles you feel are most representative; high profile directors/producers; well-known theaters; well-known plays/films/shows; etc.

Do you have questions about resumes, or comments about this post? Leave it by clicking below!

Erin Cronican's career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and San Diego. She has appeared in major feature films and on television, and has done national tours of plays and musicals. She has worked in the advertising & marketing departments of major corporations, film production companies, theater magazines, and non-profit acting organizations. To learn more, check out


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