Acting Tip: Acting Resumes, Cover Letters, and Headshots, Oh My!

If you want to really stand out as an actor (and I think you do), you will have to make your resume stand out for you.

Your resume, cover letter, and headshot are really the first impressions you’ll ever make. They act as your agent–good ones get you auditions, bad ones don’t…

So, how does one go about standing out from the rest of the crowd? Well, first of all, you have to think like a marketer. What makes YOU interesting and unique as an actor? This is you USP (Unique Selling Point). Your resume and cover letter act as your USP…

In order to make your resume and cover letters really effective, you must follow a few simple guidelines:

For your resume, divide the page into two parts–one part for your actual resume, one part for testimonials (yes, testimonials!). Testimonials should be from former directors, playwrights, etc. and they shouldn’t be hard to get. Just ask! (but be sure to get their permission to use their testimonial on your resume) Include the name and position of the person underneath each testimonial quote.

If you are just starting out, include EVERYTHING acting-related on your resume–list every acting job you’ve ever had–no matter how small or big the part (yes, even the non-speaking parts!). Remember, you are trying to fill out your resume–list as much as you can. As time goes by, pick off the less glamorous acting parts and replace them with the true gems that highlight your best work.

Include a small thumbnail headshot of yourself on your resume. This will ensure that if your headshot and resume ever do get separated, your photo will be forever intact ON your resume.

Actors have little time to spend on marketing themselves–let alone anything else non-acting related. For this reason, you should have two form letters ready to go at all times–one for theater, one for film/television. Keep it short and sweet. Your letter should include a brief introduction, your purpose for writing in, your recent endeavors, and a friendly closing. For example, my cover letter states: I’m writing you today because I am very interested in auditioning for your play (or ‘film’ or ‘project’–depending on what you’re submitting for) . I know your time is valuable, so I’ll make this short: I would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to review my headshot and resume and let me know if you’d like to meet with me. Again, your letter should include your most recent or current work (try to include pictures within the body of the letter), what classes you’re taking, etc. Then wrap it up with something short and sweet like: Thank you for your time and consideration. I’d love to meet with you. I can be reached at XXX-XXX-XXXX. I hope to hear from you soon. And then, sign your name to it.

When sending a headshot and resume via email, use the same cover letter used in regular mailings–simply cut and paste it into the text portion of your email (remember, you’re trying to save time, so make it easy on yourself!). Don’t forget to attach your headshot–and make sure to size the headshot appropriately.

Headshots should look like how you look right now. If your headshot doesn’t look like how you look now, get a new one…

You don’t have to spend a big chunk of change on a reputable, big deal, bells-and-whistles photographer to get a nice headshot. Just look around and find someone who has a pretty good portfolio and low prices. I got my headshot done by a photographer who was just starting out. I got a great deal on my headshots and she used my images in her portfolio. A win-win situation!

Get an 8″ x 10″, black and white headshot (which is standard).

I recommend keeping it simple–your clothing, jewelry, etc. You want YOU (not your clothing and accouterments) to stand out.

That wraps up our section on resumes, cover letters, and headshots. I hope this section has inspired you to make your HS/resume kit brilliant!

Photographing Grumpy Kids – The Solution

I recently ran a couple of baby & toddler portrait photography sessions back to back and had a great morning photographing some gorgeous kids. But one of them was really grumpy and didn’t want a bar of the whole thing.

How did we deal with it? Every parent wants a smiley happy shot of their kids with bright eyes resonating happiness and joy with few parents happy to sit back and let the mood of the moment shine though. It was an interesting session with the first gorgeous wee girl one of those perfect models born for the camera and happy to be the star of the moment. Our more subdued candidate came a little later and certainly wasn’t in the mood to be in front of the camera. However – this little man had a more serious demeanor and just didn’t fit the standardised smiley face we tend to see in a lot of kids portraits. So we all relaxed and just got him engaged in activity on the studio floor with his wee brother…. but still no smiles. What we ended up getting was my personal favorite shot of the day…. a poignant photograph of a perfect face with incredible clarity and a unique moment in time. It reminded me of why we are there in the first place as photographers – to record moments in time and try to represent more than just mimicry of other images we may have seen or been asked to create. So to answer the question I posed at the beginning of the article?

  1. Relax Mum & Dad Make sure Mum and Dad are as relaxed as their tension will only add to the problem of grumpy kids. Remind them that this is completely normal and won’t ruin the time you have with them. We all know in extreme cases its best to draw the line and re-book sometimes and its by no means the end of the world. Everyone has their off days.
  2. Smile You can’t expect your subjects to have fun if you aren’t – You will often be a total stranger to some of these little fellas so you will need to establish some trust boundaries and a comfort zone.
  3. Get Involved Studio lighting and equipment can sometimes be scary to these little ones so for the older kids, getting them behind the camera to take a few test shots for you is often a great way for them to comprehend whats going to happen and why everyone is there in the first place.
  4. Wait Take the pressure off yourself and just be prepared to wait for that shot…. you know… the one that makes it all worth while and the shot that you would personally hang on your wall.
  5. Go with the flow Time to get unconventional – I tend to rig the lighting in the studio to give me as much coverage as possible so when these little ones go mobile, you’ve got the capacity to simply follow them on their journey around the studio. We’ve managed to get some great candid shots this way as they engage with various elements and people onsite.

If you’ve photographed kids for any length of time I’m sure you can relate to the above – however if you’re just starting out – don’t despair if your first few shoots don’t go according to. With a relaxed attitude and practice, you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time.

Beginners Guide to Photography Tutorial

Photography is a very important part of our lives and as a result we use cameras to take memorable pictures that describes so many things related to us. There is a saying that says “a picture is worth a thousand words”, how true that is. Good photography is all about taking pictures that stand out and make an impression or pass a message. To be a good photographer, there are basic information that you need to have with the use of a digital camera. Getting the right camera for the right occasion is one of the basic information that a good photographer should be equipped with. As a beginner you need to know that most of the new digital cameras that you would see now cameras that come with easy to use features. These features has made it very easy for anybody to use a digital camera without been a professional photographer. Operating a digital camera might be easy but that is not all about photography, you also need detailed lessons that can be acquired over time if you want to be a professional photographer.

When it comes to photography, people take different measures to learn it and that is what you need to also know to get the best out of photography. Some of these ways of learning are; online photography tutorials, live courses, instructional guides and reading of books about photography. either of this ways will impact you with a lot of basic knowledge you need to start out. But one of the best and very effective way to learn photography is through an online digital photography tutorials. the advantage that this method provides is numerous. It will help you learn at your pace and deliver to you all the informations that you need. And gives you the opportunity to meet professionals you may never have gotten to meet but through an online tutorial you will get that opportunity right in front of your PC.

You may ask how do I develop my skills and techniques and also know what kind of digital photography tutorial to go for? The answer to your question lies in your willingness to become better at digital photography. But one of the things that you need to know is that every method towards learning photography has its advantages and disadvantages. You can also make out time to attend live tutorials as this kind of tutorials have great impact on the learning process. Learning in this atmosphere is easier because that is where you get to meet people who are like you and want to learn as well. There you can share your ideas and challenges live.

Photography tutorials come with different options that you can make choose from. Some of these digital photography tutorials deal with the basic information about photography while some others give you a detailed information on everything you need to know about photography. The choice is all yours to make. If you are a beginner who barely knows anything about photography, My advise to you is to go for the second option because it gives you all that you need to understand everything that has to do with photography. Some of the subjects that you must learn in a photography tutorial guide are lighting, zooming, lenses and positioning. They are basics of camera that every professional should have a comprehensive knowledge about.