If you’d like to work professionally as an actor, you’ll need to make a portfolio. This portfolio functions as a document that you can distribute to casting director at or before auditions. A high-quality acting portfolio makes you appear professional and hirable, and should emphasize your acting experience and talents. You’ll need to include a professional headshot, an acting resume, and a demo reel that shows the strengths and variety of your acting ability.
EditMaking an Acting Resume
- Include physical information relevant to acting. Unlike most other careers, casting directors need to know your physical size and appearance. At the top of your resume, list your name and contact information. Beneath this, specify your height, weight, hair color, and eye color.
- An acting resume is similar to any other type of professional resume: it should open with your name, include an acting union affiliation (if applicable), and contact information.
- Unless you are under 18 years old, do not list your age.
- Highlight your acting credits. This information can be placed in a “Credits” section. If you have acted before and have some theater, TV, or film credentials, be sure to list this information on your resume. Tailor your resume towards the specific role that you’re planning to audition for. Highlight acting roles that are similar to this role.
- That means that, if you are audition for a comedic role and have acted in comedy before, these roles should be at the top of your “Credits” section.
- Create an Education section. Include your acting-related training and education. If you attended a well-known acting school, studied with a famous acting coach (or actor), or majored in acting, theater, or drama, include this information on your resume.
- If you have been professionally trained as an actor outside of an academic setting, use your resume to highlight the training you received and its duration.
- Focus on your relevant previous experience. You can present this information in a “Work Experience” section. Instead of filling your resume with every role you’ve ever played, tailor your presentation of work experience. Include professional work you’ve done (after high school and college) that is relevant to the role you’re auditioning for.
- For example, if you’re auditioning for a role in an action movie, use your resume to highlight other action-oriented roles you’ve played in the past.
- Just like on any other type of resume, you won’t impress anyone by having a resume full of irrelevant details.
- Reach out to a professional headshot photographer. Headshots are a crucial part of an acting portfolio, and they must be taken professionally. Headshots, as the name suggests, are photographs that only show your face and neck. Search online or reach out to other friends in acting to find a local photographer who can take high-quality headshots for your acing portfolio.
- Never try to take your own headshots. Even if the photographs look acceptable to you, a casting director or audition manager will be able to tell that they are not professional-grade material.
- Choose the two headshots that you like best. You’ll have many options to choose from following your headshot photoshoot. A good acting portfolio should include two (or three) headshots, so choose a couple of photos that look good and that you’d be proud to hand to an audition manager.
- Vary your facial expressions in your headshots. It would be redundant to present headshots with two identical expressions. For example, in one headshot you could have a more “edgy” look, while in a second shot you could have a broad, welcoming smile.
- Choose headshots that are tailored to your role. Since you’ll be relying on your headshot to appeal to casting directors and land you auditions, make sure that your headshot suits the type of role that you’re auditioning for. Headshots can convey the “type” of actor that you are, and the type of character that you’re capable of portraying.
- For example, don’t submit a headshot in which you look edgy and rebellious if you’re audition to play a lovable, kind character.
- Tailor your headshot to the type of acting you’re doing. Headshot demands can differ based on the type of acting work you’re auditioning for. If you’re planning to work in television or to appear in commercials, you’ll need what’s known as a “commercial” headshot, in which you are smiling. If you want to audition for theater or films, plan to submit a more serious headshot in your acting portfolio.
EditPutting Together a Demo Reel
- Contact a professional reel producer. Your demo reel (sometimes called a showreel) should give casting directors an idea of your acting ability and versatility. A professional demo-reel editor will be able to take the various sequences of footage that you provide, and edit the scenes together into an effective demo reel.
- Be prepared to pay for this service. Demo-reel editors usually charge from $60 to $75 an hour.
- Select from footage of your highest-profile acting work. Demo reels typically contain footage shot in a theater, or clips of the actor’s performance on film or television. However, if you’re an inexperienced actor and have not had any significant acting performances, it’s acceptable to make a demo reel using independent films, student films, or online media.
- If necessary, you can even film yourself acting to make your own demo reel. Make sure to stand in front of a blank background, and shoot close in. Only your chest, arms, and face should be visible in the footage.
- Include 60-90 seconds of your best work. Select three or four scenes that are relatively similar to the role you’re auditioning for. This will show the audition manager you’re capable of performing the type of role that the script calls for. Don’t make the demo reel much longer than 90 seconds.
- Even as little as 60 seconds will give the casting director enough material to make a decision.
- Never lie on your resume—avoid even stretching the truth. It can be very difficult to get acting work once it’s been found out that you’ve falsified resume information.
- Your acting portfolio should also include a cover letter, addressed to the casting director.