While we’re talking about attachments, helpful life hint, casting or no. Write your resumes in whatever you want. Save it as a PDF. Send the PDF to potential employers. If I can’t open your resume on this end, I won’t bother to tell you, you just won’t get the slot. PDF files are universal – they open on all operating systems. Also, PDF’s make the format fixed so that they look EXACTLY the same on my screen as on yours, regardless of operating system. There is no excuse. Word creates PDF’s for you now by going to “Save As” and selecting it as an option. No, you cannot alter a PDF (unless you have Acrobat), so keep the word doc, create a new PDF every time you change something. If you don’t have a computer with word, googledocs (a free online program) does it too. Or, go to a library. They have it. Need help figuring it out? Ask someone! Ask google! Ask your smart computer friend! Post about it on facebook. This isn’t computer science and it isn’t coding. It’s BASIC software knowledge. Lots of people have it. You should too.
Here’s why this is so important. My number one pet peeve in casting is headshots that don’t look like the actor. I will not cast you on principle. Even if you are perfect for the role. Hell, sometimes, I won’t even let you in my room to audition because the person I asked to audition is in the picture, and NOT in the room. (Just so you’re clear, this is not just my number one. I asked 10 of my casting type people friends for their top 5, this came up as #1 on all 10 lists)
If your look changes dramatically and you haven’t had the time or money to get new shots – send me your professional shot AND a good snap (which can be taken by a friend) of the new look with a note: “Hey, I just got my hair cut (dyed whatever goes here) and haven’t had new pictures taken yet. So I’m sending you my headshot and a picture of the new look. Thanks!” Trust me when I say that will actually get you in the door to audition. A shot of you with brown hair when you are now blonde gets you turned away at the door. (This is the time snap shots are appropriate, not as the only headshot you send me) Also, get new headshots every 2 to 3 years even you don’t change your hair. You really do look differently for casting purposes. And finally, if you physically change or have changed something on your face – your headshot MUST represent this! I once had a girl who had a perfect headshot walk into my room with a scar across her cheek. Suffice to say, she did not get the role.
If you do not get the audition, do no re-submit. The same people are likely to be looking at your stuff, and you are still unlikely to get the audition. Also, now we're annoyed because we had to tell you no twice.
For the record, there are always stories about how so and so did it different, broke out of the mold and got a part etc. Here's a hint, those stories (some of which *are* true, most of which are probably exaggerated), at least the true ones, are about SUPREMELY talented people, or people with connections in the first place. Those people aren't normal. Chances are pretty good that those people aren't you. Sorry to burst that bubble.
Look. I know, that was long, and harsh, and no sugar coating.But all this information is out already there. If acting is what you want to pursue professionally, then find out how. Don't make assumptions, ask: ask a friend who is in the industry, ask google, ask a professor - it is your (the actor's) responsibility to make sure you are doing things correctly, it is not my (the director or casting director - especially when I have come across your things because you have sent it to me for an audition) responsibility to tell you you have done it wrong and need to change it. Because man, I so don't have time for that crap. As a result, if you want the part, you shouldn't either. I know it sucks for you, I know it's hard. Please bear in mind that you, likely, do not send out as many submissions as we read. Do what we ask, you are more likely to be seen and cast that way.
And anyone has any others, please let me know in the comments below.
Please note. I make no money from this blog whatsoever. I have compiled this advice from myself, who casts 3-4 shows a year, and several friends who work at varying levels of casting. I have put this information out there because of the sheer volume of head shots and resumes that I know I, and my friends, receive that do not follow basic protocol. I want the pool of actors that we all receive to be better, so we can see more and better people, instead of being turned off from basic mistakes. Please take it for what it is. And if you don't believe me, there are links right below me to professionals casting directors saying the same thing.
Also, it's not just me. This is a blog post from a CD in the DC area. Same advice.
And some more advice from about resumes.
Let's talk about resumes. Another talk about resumes. Resumes, resumes, resumes.