The Professional Arts CV
If your experiences as a performer with an amateur dramatics society have led you to seriously consider becoming a professional thespian then congratulations! It’s a big step, but one that has resulted in success for people who are practical and systematic about the process.
Among the many items you should consider when starting off on this exciting career path is putting together an up-to-date performing arts curriculum vitae (CV).
To help you create a CV that will get noticed, check out the reminders and information below.
The HeadshotThespians are required to have a headshot; thus, actors’ CVs are printed on or stapled to the back of a headshot. Be certain to get your headshot through an experienced headshot photographer; it’s essentially your “business card” and should show off your personality.
Yes, you’ll have to spend money to have your headshot developed and turned into appropriately sized images. Consider this an investment in your future, not a thrown-away expense.
Personal InformationAt the top of your CV, list your name and all pertinent contact data. This may include a phone number, email or website. One caveat, though—should you be working with an acting agency, you’ll likely be encouraged to list the agency’s address and phone number rather than yours; that way, you can protect yourself.
Along those lines, do not include any identifying security numbers on your CV. In fact, some performers only list the first letter of their last names. Hence, John Smith’s CV would list him as “John S.” This is for privacy; after all, your CV could be seen by many people, some less scrupulous than others.
MeasurementsIt’s wise to add physical information about you that casting directors will want to know, such as your weight, height, and measurements. You can also include information such as your hair colour, hair length and eye colour.
Though this data might be apparent from the picture on your headshot, there’s nothing wrong with reiterating it somewhere else.
ExperienceIf you have no acting experience, get some! Or, better yet, use your amateur dramatics group roles in place of paid theatrical jobs.
The more expertise you can gather, the better off you’ll be. Just make sure you don’t reach too far into your past for content—if you’re 22, you shouldn’t list a play from elementary school as your experience.
Training and AffiliationsHave you had any formal acting training, even if it was just a one-day conference or weekend course? Are you a part of a recognised actors’ guild? If so, this counts toward your performing arts CV credentials.
Though you don’t have to get any kind of education in the dramatic arts to obtain work, it never hurts. Look for opportunities to take classes, especially with well-known directors, agents and performers in the theatrical field. They often host courses, and you’ll be able to use their name as a part of the description of the class to add substance to your CV.
On the other hand, if you have had tons of experience or a degree in theatre, this is the place to mention it.
Special SkillsSome thespians like to add a section in their CVs devoted to special skill sets. These skills can be anything from the talent to speak in several dialects to the ability to emit a particularly chilling scream.
Should you become “stumped”, ask a former director for some ideas. Alternately, you can leave this out for the time being.