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Friday, January 2, 2009

Resume: Playing Characters of a Different Age

This question was posted on a popular actors forum, and I posted an answer that I wanted to repost here:

“I re-entered the industry as an adult, but I have professional training and experience from when I was a teenager. I want to include it because it shows that I have stage experience, but I don't want it to look like I just got out of school. The issue is that I look (and have been cast) as a bit younger than I am, and the teen credits are from quite a while ago. Is it advisable to ever include the year of the job? Do I separate my teen and adult experience/training?

The other issue is that I recently have been cast as both a "college student" and a "teacher" in the past month (two different jobs). Would this confuse you if you saw a resume that had both these credits listed, one on top of the other? For the record, my look allows me to play a young 20-something up to my late 20s.”

TAE Responds:

Hi, there- this is a great question. The good news is that you are not alone: everyone in their 20s who acted in their teens has had to deal with this, so there are options for you!

Most importantly, I think that the credits on your resume should reflect roles that you can realistically play NOW. Your resume is your marketing tool - it allows industry folks to understand your body of work and how it relates to the work you can do NOW. So, you should look at the credits from your teen years and remove anything that you could not currently be cast as. For example, if you can no longer play a high school student, remove any evidence of those roles from your resume. This also applies to roles that you are currently too YOUNG to play. I had a huge & meaty role as a grandmother in a college production- unfortunately, it does not belong on my resume because I won't play that role for 30+ years.

If you choose to keep teen credits on your resume...

As mentioned by a previous post-er, stage credits should be listed by character name, which will help you avoid the "teacher" vs. "student" issue. Also, you do not need to put dates on your resume- dates would be irrelevant if your resume reflects what you can play today.

Now, there are always exceptions: If you were a child star, it would probably be valuable to have some of those credits on your resume. In this case I would create a separate section for your professional work as a child/teen.

As for training, you can keep everything under one heading- there is no need to separate by age in this section.

I hope this has answered your questions- if you have any others I'll be very happy to help where I can!

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