Most of the time, your headshot and resume are your first impression.
Even if you’re already in the room talking to the accompanist about your song, the split second that casting director looks at your headshot they get a wealth of information about you.
- Do you know your type? Have you created a package? If you walk in the room as a charismatic character actress and you have a non-smiley headshot – you have a messaging problem. Know your type – create your package – from your headshot to your song to your outfit. Everything should be in alignment.
- I thought I should use one picture for my headshot (smiley), another picture (trying to smirk) for my postcards, and another picture (my good side) for my business card. Turns out that just confuses people. If casting directors see your headshot at an audition and love you, they might not remember your name, but will more likely remember your headshot. (Why do brands have logos?) If you send them a different picture, they might not put 2 & 2 together when you send them a postcard months later letting them know you’re back in town after a great gig.
- Are you Serious?
- If you walk in with a headshot that your college friend took (aka me – before I got my first headshots in the city) – or a bad Kinkos copy – it tells the people behind the table you don’t take your career seriously, so why should they take you seriously and entrust you with their show? Yes, being an actor is expensive. That’s why you need a Survival Job and Parallel Career.
Check out the Reproductions website or their NYC office to browse headshots from various headshot photographers. You’ll find each have their own personal style.
You want to make sure you interview with a few photographers before you make your choice. You want to feel comfortable around that person, so they can get the best “you” out of you.
Photographer Jordan Matter has some great info on his website, but the Clothing and Preparation section is a must-read!
Printing your pictures
You’ve just spent a fortune on amazing shots, so don’t be cheap about getting them reproduced.
Reproductions is the go-to place for getting your headshots, postcards and business cards reproduced.
You’ll need to pick things like where to put your name (vertical – middle; horizontal – bottom left, because most people are right handed), and what font (something easy to read) and with or without a border (all depends on your picture.) All headshots will be 8×10.
In the old days we used to mail post cards as thank you notes, or “Hi, I just got back into town after XYZ gig” to casting directors. You don’t have to have postcards anymore, but if you do here’s what you must have on them:
- Website URL (MichelleDyer.com)
- Phone Number
If you have an agent you can put their logo on it (ask your agent for guidance on this) and some people list their union affiliation (SAG, AFTRA, AEA). It’s all up to you, but my advice is, the cleaner, the better.
Social media handles are not usually listed, but if you have a big social media presence – go for it.
Business cards are usually given to new connections at industry events. I highly doubt you’ll use a lot of them, but always a good idea to have a few in your wallet.
Resist the urge to put every show you’ve ever performed in – especially when starting out.
White space is a beautiful thing.
- Spell Check, Spell Check, Spell Check – and then give it to someone else to Spell Check.
- At least 12pt font (see above “White space is a beautiful thing“). You’re not going to not get a job because you didn’t have every college credit on your resume.
Top and Center
- Name (if a member of a Union, list that below your name)
- Height, Weight, Hair, Eyes, Website, Phone Number to Contact, (or agent’s log), Email address, Voice Type/Range
Credits (Chronological Order – by category)
- List Show, Role, Theatre
- List Show, Role, Director (dir. Name Here)
- Regional & Summer Stock
- List Show, Role, Theatre
- If you just have college & a cruise ship or theme part credit, that’s ok, too. Just starting out no one is going to expect you to have a lot of credits. Don’t lie to make yourself look better. Your reputation is everything & this world is very small.
*Some people will recommend you list the credits by role, to feature your type. It’s totally up to you. As in most things in this business – everyone has an opinion. Don’t ever take mine to be the end-all be-all.
- List any degrees you have.
- List the name of the teacher, type of class, studio and/or program you’re enrolled in.
- Voice Teacher
- Vocal Coach
- If you have any skills other than singing, dancing or acting that could get you hired for a theatre job, list them here.
- Special acrobatic skills, juggling, play an instrument, fluency in another language, proficiency with an accent…
- Do not list “has drivers license” or “passport”, being a good cook or an avid reader will not get you a job.
Personally, I use the rulers in word to format my resume, print it out on 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper, staple it to my headshot in all four corners – pretty staple side on the headshot (if your headshot is horizontal, look at your headshot holding your right hand, and then flip over your resume to make it vertical to see which end to make the top) and then cut off the excess printer paper. They make 8×10 printer paper, but for the price, I didn’t find it worth the expense.