3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

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  • 3 Misdemeanors to Avoid on Your Acting Résumé

    Misdemeanors aren’t felonious, but they can still be problematic

    (by Jim Webb)


    (Photo: Niu Niu/Unsplash)

    When it comes to an actor’s résumé, there are differing levels of crime that an actor can commit. Some are simple violations, others are misdemeanors. And some are so egregious that they are downright felonies.

    We’ve already detailed some of the simple résumé violations an actor can commit. Those are things like misspelled words and using improper lingo to describe the size of your role.

    Now, let’s dive into a deeper level of crime you can commit on your acting résumé: the résumé misdemeanor.

    Misdemeanors aren’t felonious; meaning, they’re not opportunity-threatening or career-threatening mistakes. But they can still be problematic.

    Here are 3 acting résumé misdemeanors you’ll want to avoid:

  • #1. Using Incorrect Contact Info

    (Photo: Icons8 Team/Unsplash)

    Never miss out on a golden opportunity due to simple neglect. Always check and recheck the information on your résumé.

    Over the years, your phone numbers will change, perhaps many times. Your email might change. Your representation might change. Your vital statistics might change.
    Your résumé should always, accurately, reflect those changes.

    Having old phone numbers that no longer work can cause you to miss out when opportunity comes knocking, as will listing your former agent when you sign with a new one.

    The same is true for links and URLs that no longer work. You never want to have a casting director click onto a link to your online profile, website or résumé, only to find that it doesn’t work.

    Check, recheck and triple-check your information and update when necessary.

  • #2. Sharing Too Much Information

    Be careful not to list too much information on your acting résumé. While you may be tempted to share as much information as you can on your résumé, in hopes of landing a role, sharing too much information can defeat its own purpose.

    Case in point: don’t list your age on your acting résumé. Listing your exact age is usually a requirement reserved for child actors.

    For adult actors, it is unnecessary to list your exact age. It could even cost you an opportunity. For example, I once knew an actress who had all but landed a great role. That role was for an actress in her early thirties and she looked to be that age.

    But during the casting process, she made the unfortunate mistake of revealing her exact age, which completely turned the decision-makers against her. Upon learning she was actually in her early forties, they immediately began to see her as a “mom-type”, instead of the younger, “millennial-type” they were seeking.

    She didn’t get the role. All because she shared too much unnecessary information.

  • #3. Adding Background Roles to Your Acting Résumé

    (Photo: Seb/Unsplash)

    Being an “extra” is a fantastic gig when you’re just starting out on your journey as an actor. You can learn how to properly behave on set, earn an easy paycheck, eat some free food and make some new friends.

    But if you’d like to become a respected actor, you should leave your background roles in the “background” of your career, by leaving them off your acting résumé.

    The purpose of an acting résumé is to sell yourself and help you obtain acting work. Background acting defeats this purpose. It does not sell you as a well-trained actor with budding acting career.

    The same goes for “featured” background roles.

    Just because you were selected to play the non-speaking role of “FBI Agent” on a network drama does not mean you can claim that role on your résumé. Fudging the details and calling it a “featured” role does not change the fact that it was still a background role.

    Unless you played an actual character with a name or had a line, it is background. Placing the word “featured” next to it changes nothing.

    Leave it off your résumé.

    Beware, this is an abbreviated list. There are many other résumé misdemeanors you can commit. But these are a good place to start.


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