Acting Awards on the Actor’s Resume: Remove! / Add!

There are acting awards on an actor’s resume that merit the resume being trashed. There are of course acting awards of merit that matter on an actor’s resume. Which awards are of merit or trash bin bound?

awards_titled

Paul Russell www.PaulRussell.net
Paul Russell
http://www.PaulRussell.net

There are acting awards on an actor’s resume that merit the resume being trashed. There are of course acting awards of merit that matter on an actor’s resume. Which awards are of merit or are trash bin bound?

Recently, there was a heated debate on social media arguing BroadwayWorld awards to be or not to be included on an actor’s resume. Unless you’re a vain, insecure, attention-seeking-at-any-demerit actor: BroadwayWorld awards do not, (repeat) do not belong on an actor’s resume. They hold no merit. Why?

BroadwayWorld awards are beg-for-vote awards driven by actors on social media begging friends and family to vote for performances possibly never seen by the majority of voters. The awards are predominantly for regional theater of which most of the voters haven’t seen the productions. Many of the voters are not industry peers which are vetted for professional related experience. Casting and talent agents know this, as do directors. The inclusion of a beg-for-votes award holds no credibility other than we realize an actor creatively manipulates votes on social media to his or her benefit. And the priority purpose of online voting for actors? Money. The clicks on to BroadwayWorld or similar voting platforms generates review for the website.

If an actor must gain an award via an online poll or an online open voting system that actor devalues their worth as an artist. They’re pandering for votes from the poorly informed—not unlike how Donald Trump disingenuously Tweeted his way to “Hail to the Chief.”

U.S. Acting Awards that Belong (and command respect) on An Actor’s Resume:

Academy Award
Emmy
TONY
Golden Globe
Drama Desk
Drama League
Outer Critics Circle
Obie
Lucille Lortel
Grammy (Only for a spoken, solo recorded performance of a role.)

Regional U.S. Acting Awards that Belong (and command respect) on An Actor’s Resume:

Joseph Jefferson (Chicago)
Ovation (Los Angles)
Carbonell (Florida)
Helen Hayes (Wash, DC.)
Barrymore (Philadelphia)
Elliot Norton (Boston)
IRNE (New England / Boston)
Ivey Awards (Minneapolis – St. Paul)
Kevin Klein (St. Louis)

Awards of merit are ones in which professional peers as voters are screened and/or are accredited by a review panel. As example with the TONY awards: TONY voters are working Broadway professionals chosen through a stringent vetting process. Likewise with the acting awards that are noted here prior to be included on an actor’s resume. That professional peer review is why such award recognitions are respected over the “Vote for me anybody” BroadwayWorld-type awards.

Awards that include, or are predominantly recognizing, community theater companies (hello Ostrander and Perry awards) do not belong on a professional actor’s resume. High school acting awards are just as offending. I’ve been horrified at seeing high school “Best Actor” awards on the resumes of 30-something ‘professional’ actors. Next.

How to Place an Acting Award on an Actor’s Resume:

Using the Industry Standard Actor’s Resume (pg. 86 in ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes & Achieve Success as a Working Actor) place award(s) as follows on these examples:

Which on a resume is this:

awards_resume_reduced

(The italicizing of the award—and the director—is for the eye to differentiate that additional information, and attract the eye to that information.)

Placing the award elsewhere on the resume (i.e. Special Skills, or Awards categories) may prompt the viewer of your resume to overlook your achievement. With the award placed directly under the credit the achievement is prominent to the viewer.

Beware of placing an * next to a credit to note there is more information to the credit. When there is an asterisk (especially for an award) the resume viewer

Paul Russell's Best-Selling Book for Actors!
Paul Russell’s
Best-Selling Book
for Actors!

must then search to where that * corresponds to elsewhere on the resume—don’t do this. An actor’s resume is not a game of hide-and-seek.

Just as awards of respectability are handed out judiciously, actors are to be judicious in the level of awards they honor their work with on their resume. Better to viewed as honored by peers than honored by polls.

.Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has taught master classes at dozens of acting programs at universities including Hofstra, Elon, Wright State University, and Rutgers. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information on Paul’s projects, visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Share this:

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(The InternHamiltonNBC’s The Wiz – LIVE!, Wicked)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

The Background Actor with The Extra Smell

Background actors, also known as extras, are often the most underappreciated and despised positions of employ within screen acting. Mostly because too large a percentage of background actors have that extra smell.

Extra Background Actors

Paul Russell_HeadshotPaul Russell – author ACTING: Make It Your Business, director & casting director

Background actors, also known as extras, are often the most underappreciated and despised positions of employ within screen acting. Mostly because too large a percentage of background actors have that extra smell.

Extras are the actors required to fill-out the background of a screen story. Without extras, the world of film and television would appear as empty as a movie theater playing a marathon of Adam Sandler flicks.

Some actors leverage being an extra–the grunt work of acting–as a chore for financial survival. Temporarily they’ll network on set with entertainment colleagues with the knowledge that the belittlement withstood of being herded like cattle around a set is a temporary gig and not a career. These actors though will encounter on set delusional actors who fervently believe that being an extra will eventually propel them to having their own star on the Hollywood Walk-of-Fame; possibly aside Donald Trump’s unearned star. These are the actors who are known in the industry as “having that extra smell.”

The extra smell actor is the actor who believes their self-declared stunning beauty or unusual look once glimpsed on the screen for less than a nanosecond will have a director or producer rise pointing to the screen and shout, “Get me that actor! That’s the star of my next budget-busting-blockbuster!”

More Characteristics of Actors with the Extra Smell

1. Actors with a shopping list of credits on their resume that are named as the following actual credit from an actor’s resume: “Professional business man on the park bench reading The Wall Street Journal as Jennifer Anniston jogged by.”

2. Actors who when opening their wardrobe closet refer to clothing by project names: “For my date tonight, I think I’ll wear The Lovely Bones.”

3. Actors with an app on their smartphone a search engine for public bathrooms that can be used as a changing room while on location.

4. An actor with more autographs of the principals “worked with” than principal credits on their resume.

5. An actor with a composite card that displays them in various costumes from their roles as an extra, and then they utilize that comp card as a headshot to casting for principal work consideration. Extra smell.

6. Actors who send a picture and resume to a casting office that casts only principals and the actor requests consideration for extra work. Doubly extra smelling.

7. A background actor listing the extra credits on their resume as “featured.” “Bingo!” called for the extra smell in the corner of your screen.

8. The extra actor who complains to the caterer at craft services that over the past several years the caterer’s tri-colored pasta salad has been deteriorating in quality. Table for one extra smell.

9. Actors who faithfully believe that if the director happens to silently notice them then that director will instantly, without hearing the actor speak, catapult that actor to principal status.

10. Actors who gaze dreamily at a nearby honeywagon on set and fantasize it’s an oasis of stardom. There’s a room for the actor with an extra smell.

11. If while dressed uniformly among peer extras, there’s the extra actor who notices that their robe has a silver buckle upon its sash while the extra standing aside them has a sash with a gold buckle. And this slight in lower metallic grade on a costume ignites the jealous actor’s anger. Wardrobe knows who has that extra smell.

12. An extra arriving on set with a backpack bulging with screenplays they wrote as vehicles for themselves to star in and their sole intent for the day is to distribute them to anyone who makes eye contact. Everyone sees that extra smell coming.

13. An extra working on a James Cameron film, and the closest proximity they made to Mr. Cameron is the third AD. But later when speaking to fellow extras the actor claims, “James thinks I would be fantastic for the president alien who stops the oil tanker from plowing into the Statue of Liberty.”

14. Actors who mistake casting directors Mali Finn and Jonathan Strauss for a Vegas act.

15. Actors watching a movie who ignore the principals in order to evaluate the extras in the background.

16. Actors lobbying SAG-AFTRA, The Academy of Motion Pictures & Sciences, and The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences that each implement the award category: Best Extra in a Comedy, Drama or Musical.

17. Actors whom after being cast announce on social media, “I got casted.” There’s an actor whose vocabulary has an extra smell.

Put into proper perspective by the participant background work as an actor does have benefits: A paycheck. A networking opportunity. When work for an actor as an extra is approached by an actor with fantasies that the silent background cross or sitting at a table will lead to eventual fame; that actor has an extra smell that prompts principal professionals to run. Talent representation and casting directors advise actors who want to seriously pursue principal screen work to minimize or delete all their extra credits from the resume when an acting resume is sent to principal casting directors and Legit talent agents.

Now, before some actors misinterpret that prior statement and post on an online message board misinformation stating, “Paul Russell said….” let me re-state more plainly. Take the paychecks. Remove or minimize the extra credits on your resume if you want to be considered for principal work on screen. Have a separate resume listing acting history as an extra for when submitting for work to casting directors who cast background actors.

What if extra credits are all an actor has listed under the Film/TV header of their Legit resume and that actor wishes to grow beyond being an extra? Minimize. Actors with that extra smell will often include on their Legit resume every silent walk-on. Which in turn leads the purveyor (casting directors and talent agents) of the actor’s work history to ponder, “Can’t act. Directors don’t trust him or her with an Under Five or better.”

(continue reading)

HAMILTON’s casting director
praises Paul Russell’s book on acting
as “a must read for all actors… the actor’s roadmap!”

AMIYB_Amazon

There’s nothing disgraceful about being an extra (other than the sometimes disgraceful treatment of extras on set). An actor as an extra produces a paycheck. The under-appreciated work provides an actor with fresh contacts. The temporary employ won’t be an end-solution for becoming a star. Which by-the-by, fame should never be the reason for being an actor, and if that is an actor’s sole intent for being in the arts–that actor has that extra smell.

My best,
Paul
www.PaulRussell.net

Share this:

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(The InternHamiltonNBC’s The Wiz – LIVE!, Wicked)

 

“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)

 

“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates

 

“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress

 

“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.

 

“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

 

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Best Solution on How to Send an Actor Headshot & Resume via Email

There’s a better way to ensure your emails with your headshot and resume gets seen by your intended target, and doesn’t drop into the spam chasm. A simple solution that is user friendly for both the sender and receiver. A solution that has casting or a representative doing one click: opening your email.

Email Success

Paul Russell_HeadshotPaul Russell – author, director & casting director

The majority of actor emails with picture & resume attachments to casting and agents or managers is dumped into spam folders going unnoticed. Worse; those vital actor messages seeking employment and/or representation are annihilated and unopened by a single click with hundreds of other actor emails. All that work and hope by the actor lost to the digital ether…

The spam algorithms of nearly all major email services (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and the antiquated AOL) automatically dump emails from “strangers” to a recipient into the recipient’s spam folder. Gmail has the largest wall protecting its borders against spam. Once Gmail detects what the algorithms suspect is an alien email with an attachment the email is deported to a hidden folder unseen by the recipient.

There’s a better way to ensure your emails with your headshot and resume gets seen by your intended target, and doesn’t drop into the spam chasm. A simple solution that is user friendly for both the sender and receiver. A solution that has casting or a representative doing one click: opening your email.

 

Step 1:

No attachments.

Attachments = Spam Folder

Attachments ≠ Receiver Friendly

 

Besides the spam folder abyss; attachments cause recipients to avoid opening attachments for fear of viruses contained within the files. Your target deletes your precious email without their opening your message.

 

Step 2:

Insert a thumbnail image of your headshot in the body of your email (following your signature).

 

How to Place an Actor’s Resume & Headshot into The Body of an Email:

 

Step 1:

Create an industry-standard formatted resume in a table using a word document program.

Tables ensure your resume remains neatly, industry-standard formatted upon the email being opened.

(Below: The resume of the Russell-Menashe family queen cat Dorie)

Actors Resume Table Format for Email

 

Step 2:

The full-width email version of the resume is to be 5 ½ inches.

Email Resume Margin

 

NOTE: Studies reveal that the average, smallest width of an open email desktop browser window by a user is 5 ½ inches to 6 inches.

 

Step 3:

Make the resume table’s cell borders invisible by either using the “No Borders” option, or having the borders all colored white. This way the nasty, unattractive black lines won’t show or print.

Resume_No_Table_Lines

 

NOTE: Select the resume’s entire body (pressing “CNTRL” key & “A” key simultaneously for PCs) to change all the borders in one step.

Step 3a:

Select All with table showing

Step 3b:

No_Border_DropDown

Step 4:

Select the entire body of the resume and Copy (pressing “CNTRL” key & “C” key simultaneously on PCs)

 

Step 5:  Paste the resume into the body of your email BELOW your signature.

Actor Resume in Body of Email

 

Step 6: Create a thumbnail of your headshot

NOTE: Your headshot thumbnail is to be no larger than 250 pixels wide & high. Never place a full 8×10 in an email. The download on the receipt’s end is near endless. Plus the recipient will more than likely see only one of your large eyes, and then use scroll bars to see other too large proportions of you.

 

Step 7:  Copy the thumbnail headshot.

 

Step 8: Paste (or insert) the thumbnail of your headshot after your signature but before your resume

Thumbnail Headshot in Body of Email

 

Step 9: 

Write your best message for what you seek, and why you’re the best at what you do in the body of your email ABOVE your thumbnail headshot & resume.

 

NOTE: Write in your VOICE.

 

(Answers For Actors’ TIPs on HOW TO WRITE THE BEST COVER LETTER EVER)

 

Step 10:  Review for typos, voice, clarity, and then send!

 

You just beat spam algorithms.

When the receiver opens your email they are forced to view your headshot thumbnail & resume that is in the body of your email.

NOTE: Gmail & Outlook users may create the table resume within the email itself without doing the copy and paste from a file option. But it’s best to always have an email version on file, with the proper bowser widow size width resume (5 and ½ to 6 inches).

 

You’re done! Almost…

 

For many, many more actor marketing tips plus audition room technique, and how to best find and keep agents get that vital information from the people who know it best: Broadway and Hollywood actors, agents and casting directors speaking to you from the pages of the book the casting director for Hamilton, The Intern, The Wiz – Live hails as:

“Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”

BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(The InternHamiltonNBC’s The Wiz – LIVE!, Wicked)

Get Paul Russell’s best-seller for actors; ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistake & Achieve Success as a Working Actor

Share this:

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned over thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)

 

“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates

 

“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress

 

“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.

 

“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

 

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

How to Create the Best Actor Résumé That Gets Auditions

Smart marketers know well how to nab your attention making the sale while exploiting personal interests. Actors can hold casting’s attention and score an audition (or talent representation) with résumés, leveraging successful techniques modern marketers exploit.

Smart marketers know well how to nab your attention making the sale while exploiting personal interests. Actors can hold casting’s attention and score an audition (or talent representation) with résumés, leveraging successful techniques modern marketers exploit.

Top 5 Résumés Every Actor Must Have

Having one-résumé-fits-all-needs is poor actor-marketing.

Legit casting and agents have no interest in your commercial, voice-over, and extra history. In contrast, commercial casting and agents care little for your playing the Bard on the boards in Barrington, VT.

As marketers target individual consumer’s interests so must an actor. That begins with the actor’s résumés.

Résumé 1
– The Everyday General Legit Actor’s Résumé:

This résumé is purposeful for:

– Your website (A résumé visitors can download and print.)

– Carried with you everywhere (You’ll never know when industry bumps occur; ask the actor I met in the Sarasota airport, or the actor who approached me at my local QuickChek.)

– Seeking talent representation

How to Categorize the Everyday Legit Actor’s Résumé:

Lead with your most impressive employment field. For some actors this will be screen credits (TV, Film & New Media). For other actors more impressive areas of work may be New York Theater, or Regional Theater, or Educational Theater.

Résumé 2
– TV, Film & New Media Résumé:

Acting for the box (Movie screen, TV, computer, and smart phone) is a learned technique vastly differing from playing to a 2,800 seat cavern. Screen casting immediately wants to know viewing your résumé if you have the skills of immediate acting intimacy. Sell that history first.

A résumé for screen acting begins with a listing of the following areas of principal work history:

Film

Television

New Media

An actor with stage credits follows the above categories with the following areas of actor employment:

New York Theater (This would include Broadway, Off-Broadway & NYC Showcases. See Note below on Résumé 3 if your theater work is primarily outside of metro NY.)

Regional Theater

Educational Theater (For students and recent, acting school graduates. This is removed 2 – 3 years after schooling is completed as professional credits outweigh an amateur history.)

Résumé 3
– Actor’s Theater Résumé:

The actor’s theatrical résumé begins with their strongest category of their best principal, theatrical history.

The theatrical résumé order is:

New York Theater (Broadway, Off-Broadway & NYC Showcases)

National Tours

Regional Theater

Industrials (Optional; only industrial casting has interest in this category)

Educational Theater (Removed as professional credits grow)

Film, TV & New Media

NOTE: Multiple theater credits on a single continent that are not in North America, or within a city like Chicago, are categorized by region (i.e. European Theater, Chicago Theater, etc.)

Résumé 4
– Commercial / Voice-Over Résumé

Commercial & voice-over casting and representation are generally tended by the same family of employment gate keepers. A casting brood where look, (sound for voice-over), and type trumps talent.

Begin with the more prestigious commercial credits, followed by voice-over credits.

Add several screen credits, followed by a smattering of prestigious theatrical credits. Adding non-commercial acting credits displays you’re not just a face/type that matches a corporation’s narrow wants; these additional credits provide sample history of actual acting.

Résumé 5
– Extra / Background Résumé

Extra & background casting is based on look. Begin your extra / background résumé with your best extra credits.

NOTE: With Legit casting and talent representation, the pompous elevation of an extra credit to ‘Featured Extra’ is a red flag flapping actor insecurity; lack of honesty; and that you’re a tin-foil-hat-wearing extra squirreling savings for a never-to-be star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. NEVER claim to be a ‘Featured Extra!’ It’s a nonsuch delineation.

After extra / background credits, include:

TV & Film (Under this category place your most prestigious acting credits: Under Five (U/5), Day Player, or Principal.)

Special Skills note:

Non-special skills such as running, driving, jump-rope skipping, diving and similar ilk are best added to commercial & extra résumés. Commercial and extras casting cast first by look, second by ‘skill’ the client and/or director demands.

On a Legit résumé for principal work the prior, superfluous ‘special’ skills are not special skills to be included. Legit résumés special skills include; dialects, languages, instruments played, stage/screen combat skills, dance skills, vocal skills, and gymnastics.

For principal casting projects that specify a special skill; make the receiver of your inquiry aware you possess that skill. Don’t weigh-down a Legit principal résumé with every ‘skill’ imaginable making the bottom of your résumé as verbose as War & Peace.

Proper Actor’s Résumé Format:

IMPORTANT: There’s an industry standard for actor résumé formatting (layout, and what’s to be included). A format that allows easier reading of your credentials by strangers. A résumé format meeting requirements utilized by talent representation, and well-established actors.

Information on How to Format Your Résumé to Industry Standard.

fixedfooter_AMIYBAlways have the above five actor résumés ready. When a principal, film audition notice comes your way, send your Film, TV & New Media industry-formatted résumé. Same as for the other work areas of acting; target your history to opportunity. You’ll leap ahead of the competition with your marketing. I guarantee it.

My best,
Paul

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

 

 

 

 

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Get The Feed:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul Russell on Facebook Paul on Twitter Paul on MySpace
ACTING: Make It Your Business

Do Actors Need a Business Card? | Answers for Actors

This week: Getting Acting Job Opportunities via an Actor’s Business Card…

One Christmas I and my partner (the talent agency owner) were on a plane heading to my parent’s Florida home. Because of booking the flight at last minute I was sitting next to a jock-type who was watching football on the Jet Blue in-flight TV while my partner was sitting one row behind watching, as is his custom, The Girls Next Door (Oh good God… he’ll never be CNN material).

When we got off the flight my other half and I began speaking about a work issue at his agency as we walked through the quiet, yet swank, Sarasota terminal. While at the rental car desk, behind us came a voice.

“Excuse me; I heard you were an agent?” There’s no escape even in Death’s sunny waiting room.

We turned ‘round and it was the football-watching, jock-type who I had been sitting next to for the past two hours. He was a New York based actor visiting his snowbird Sarasota parents as well.

He ignored me, not knowing what I do for cha-ching, and focused on my other half. He was polite, introduced his smiling folks… to my partner. Again, I was ignored. Which is O.K. I’m basically shy (yes, believe it) and love my anonymity. But I’m also a bit of a devil and love to play with human behavior. So after he presented to my partner his business card with his picture and turned to leave I couldn’t help but be mischievous and casually mentioned, “You know you were sitting for the last thousand miles next to a director and casting director.” Ping! I suddenly gained his attention, a parental introduction and of course deemed worthy of his business card.

Opportunist? Yes. Wrong? Yes and no.

This actor knew that here was an opportunity to introduce himself to gate keepers (agents and casting directors are nothing more than glorified employment agencies and human resources). He was right to begin a conversation. Where did he go wrong?

He would have been smarter had he had his picture and resume with him. A business card with a picture may work for funeral directors and car salesman (you always want a trust-worthy face handling your car and dead) but it has little relevance to agents, directors, casting directors, producers, and writers, anyone who provides work opportunities. It doesn’t help us getting to know the actor as an actor.

I’m surprised how many actors do not carry with them, at all times, some form of their picture and resume. That’s your business card! You never know who the hell you’ll run into and where. Just this past week I was walking in my suburbia neighborhood on my way to Whole Foods for my morning muffin and yogurt when someone called out “Paul Russell!” It was an actor who had read my book. He went to offer me his contact info but came up empty. Now you may argue, “Well Paul, I can get the person’s contact info and e-mail or I can hard copy them my resume.” Good luck in getting a personal e-mail. Double the good luck chances that the e-mail will be opened or that you’ll be recalled.

Now caution note here about running into someone who can help advance your work goals: Talent reps., directors, writers, producers, choreographers, stage managers are the same as you when on the street or at a Starbucks. We’re people. People, possibly like you, who enjoy privacy and anonymity. If you get into a conversation with an industry person who you think can help you in the future in obtaining work, be extremely tactful, polite and respectful of space. And treat us not as objects of use to you but as someone to get to know as a person. Don’t forget that we’re all people, not opportunities. That is so often forgotten. And when we’re treated as a doormat, it’s a big turn-off. I know talent reps who have been accosted by actors as the agents were shopping for underwear, getting their Sunday morning coffee, or sweating in a sauna.

If the person you run into asks for your picture and resume, of course give it to them. Don’t ambush. That happened to Alan Alda once in a hospital by a nurse who believed herself to be an actress. It pissed off Mr. Alda so much that he used the occurrence for fodder in a later movie. On my book tour I encountered, in each city, actors who could be runner-ups to Mr. Alda’s nurse-actress. I’d give the free, one-hour seminar on the business and then sign books that attendees generously purchased. People would wait in line for their turn to speak with me and have their copies of my book signed. And without fail, in each city, there were several actors who would wait in line without a book, come to the table hand me their picture and resume then ask me to keep them in mind for future casting. Excuse me?

What is most important in the message here is this: Try at all times to keep a picture a resume on you. One that is up-to-date, the picture and resume are stapled together and clean in appearance. Have it in some form; full or reduced to an over-sized postcard easier for constant carry. You may not run into an industry person on the street but there will be many times when you’re needed to be at an audition with very little notice. Sometimes only an hour’s notice. This happens often with film and TV casting.

I teach. Students at NYU, privately and as a visiting guest to campuses across the country. In every situation one of the first things I ask (including my weekly NYU students) is, “Who here has their picture and resume, stapled together, ready to hand to me or anyone in the industry you meet on the street who can get you work?” I’m lucky if one hand goes up. And forget about the stapled together request… that would be asking far too much.

Not having your business card (i.e. an updated picture and resume) with you as often as possible means that you are losing out on opportunities for future employment. It’s your career. Your opportunities for work lost or won.

My Best,
Paul

Casting Directors, Talent Agents, Directors & Actors

Love the Best-Selling Book for Actors
ACTING: Make It Your Business!

AMIYB_Amazon“Humorous and witty…
Actors everywhere who are trying to succeed in the business, young or old, on stage or on camera, anywhere in the world, take note:

This is your roadmap!”
BERNARD TELSEY, casting director – CSA
(NBC’s Peter Pan – LIVE!, Into The Woods – The Movie, Wicked, Sex & The City)
“All the right questions asked and answered…
and with a generous portion of good humor.”
SUZANNE RYAN, casting director, CSA
(Law & OrderUnforgettable)
“I love this book!
Paul’s book tells you what you don’t want to hear but really need to know
EVERY actor should read this book!”
DIANE RILEY, Senior Legit Talent Agent
Harden-Curtis & Associates
“Paul’s book made me proud to be a part of this community we call ‘show!'”
KAREN ZIEMBA, TONY & Drama Desk Award Winning Actress
“Paul Russell’s words are not only blunt & accurate they zero in on all the questions every actor wants to know but is afraid to ask!”
KEN MELAMED, Talent Agency Partner
Bret Adams, Ltd.
“I had my Business of Acting, BFA Seniors, class do book reports on a variety of “business of acting” books and ACTING: Make It Your Business came out a clear winner—considered to be essential for their bookshelves!
Dr. NINA LeNOIR,
Dept. Chair – Dept. of Thtr.
Chapman University

Get smarter on the business of acting from legendary Hollywood & Broadway actors and talent agents in a casting director Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING:AMIYB_Amazon Make It Your Business!

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Bookmark and Share

E-mail This Post to a Friend or Two…

Get One-On-One:

Get New Insights:

Get The Feed:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or:

Paul Russell on Facebook Paul on Twitter Paul on MySpace
ACTING: Make It Your Business

Mistake Actors Make on Their Resume

According to a too large percentage of actors I encounter you can’t act.

Paul Russell
Photo Credit: JackMenashe.com

You can’t act…

…possibly according to your résumé, and too many of your actor-acquaintances. You’ll never be a good enough actor to play a lawyer. Nurse. Doctor. Cop. Politician. Any profession beyond that of an actor.

An epidemic of your peers foolishly believe that if an actor doesn’t possess a degree for a particular, non-acting profession or own a police uniform, nurse’s scrubs, or lab coat, they won’t be considered by casting for an audition and/or job to play a principal role reflecting the occupation of study and/or dress.

You may scoff. Trade casting chairs with me. Discover in the following exchange (based on a true conversation) where this poison festers—delusional, novice actors I and my casting colleagues encounter:

 “Why do you have on your acting résumé your graphic design degree?”

“Because,” the actor defensively began, “it’ll snag me a role playing a graphic designer.”

“I guess Mandy Patinkin playing artist Georges Seurat was miscasting. Mandy went to Julliard for acting, not painting.” Before the jawing actor responds I continue, “So you profess a director will consider your unrelated degree over acting as the trump card, and not cast a superior actor without the graphic’s degree.”

The actor’s cheeks bloomed red. “No, it’ll help me get a better shot at the role.”

“If I follow your failed logic, then I should be auditioning graphic designers, not actors. You believe that what you can fiddle with fonts and squiggles is more important than story-telling.”

The actor then tossed back, “It’s gotten me work. I did a gig with Travel Trunk Players.”

“That’s non-union, touring, childrens theater.” I then review the actor’s résumé for the credit; ‘ensemble.’ “I’m sure you’d want to elevate your career beyond non-union kid plays that doesn’t have cash for a staff. Those debt-ridden producers often hire actors to do double duty. Let me guess; you painted the set between rehearsals.”

“And designed the playbill.”

“Three jobs worked for the paltry price of one. Your parents must be proud.”

If you, as an actor, have more faith in costumes, and non-performing arts’ degrees to get you work as an actor than your story-telling skills to believably portray a role, I recommend thus: excise your acting credits (i.e. speaking principals) from your résumé. You believe acting doesn’t matter.

When an actor becomes obstinate about hugging onto irrelevant information on their résumé I further propose, “If you earned a mathematics degree then applied for an accountant position or tax preparer at H&R Block, would you provide your potential civilian employer your acting credits? If so, and I was Human Resources, I’d be suspicious of your honesty. Do you act your accounting proficiency to cover embezzlement schemes? Are digits a side-line? What career do you truly want? You’re confusing your message for desired employment.”

That same confusion of message occurs when an acting resume contains a non-arts related degree. When an actor lists on their acting résumé, non-acting degrees and/or costumes, the offense brings up more questions than answers—How serious is this actor as an actor? How late in life did this actor change careers, and why: Unhappy with life? Has a lack of conviction? Or is acting their fantasy? Why is the actor providing irrelevant information to the craft of acting? And how insecure are they in their craft the actor must muddle their acting resume with non-acting degrees?

If an actor remains deaf to reason, I ask the actor review actors from Kevin Kline to Harrison Ford. Two, of thousands of thespians who portrayed American presidents. Actors who didn’t possess a political science degree on their résumés. Before Robin Williams played Theodore Roosevelt he burst onto American television in the ’70s as Mork from Ork. Where was his B.S. in Earth and Space Exploration making him suitable to play a visiting alien? I wonder what Anthony Hopkins—who played Hannibal Lector—has listed on his résumé under special skills?

I’ve cast many actors as lawyers, medical professionals, law enforcement personnel, politicians, scientists, and writers in principal roles; never did a director demand the actors auditioning hold a degree in the field in which the character worked.

Exceptions? Yes. If a project has in its casting breakdown that the role requires the actor have a history within a civilian profession or skill, and you own that history or skill make the casting personnel aware of your specialty. Projects that hire relying more on non-acting skills for profession skills are commercials, screen extras, and industrials.

Keep your acting resume relevant to acting. And once hired: just act.

My best,
Paul

AMIYB_AmazonGet entertainment industry-standard resume formatting for actors here.

Read advice from legendary talent agents,
plus Hollywood & Broadway actors in Paul Russell’s Best-Selling Book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Share Answers for Actors:

Facebook Twitter More...

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail Post to Friends…

Follow Paul Russell Casting:

follow Paul on Facebookfollow Paul on Twitter

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Get The Feed:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net

Don’t Call Us. We’ll Call You. (Really) | Answers for Actors

Why do some actors feel that because they are “artistes” they deserve recognition for everything thing they do from bowel movements to sending out job inquiries? A reader sent me the following:

Why do some actors feel that because they are “artistes” they deserve recognition for everything thing they do from bowel movements to sending out job inquiries?

A reader sent me the following:

“Hi Paul,

a month ago i sent my cv & pics & clip scenes to a castingagent [sic] for a movie project in London & asked if there’s still a possibility to do audition- the shooting will start somewhere in fall-i didn’t yet received an answer-yesterday i ‘ve mailed him again to let me know if audition is still possible-no reply- If a castingagent doesn’t reply does this mean that the actor/actress doesn’t match totally & thinks it isn’t worth to let him/her do an audition? Is it better to call him personnaly [sic] & ask him the reason? I am afraid i will come over as a jerk (you know)-Or should i let it this way? A Castingagent is supposed to help advancing an actor & i notice i get stuck (& in my case it’s dubble [sic] hard work to achieve my goal)-feel free to comment- Have a nice day Peter”

My reply:

“Hello Peter,

Thank you for the note.

Having once been an actor myself I understand your frustration. But that must be tempered with reality.

Casting directors are no different than human resources. Just as employers in the civilian world receive hundreds of applications and resumes from job seekers so do casting directors from actors. Not every inquiry can be answered.

When employers receive resumes they respond only to those they feel meet their expectations for the job opening(s). It’s no different in casting. As much as everyone would like to be recognized a response to each individual would be poor time management and counterproductive.

The best answer is an analogy I offer you by asking; do you respond to all ads and marketing you receive either via land or e-mail that doesn’t interest you? Of course not.

Move forward and look to other opportunities.

My Best,
Paul”

That was my polite, I-just-woke-up-and-have-yet-to-munch my morning muffin-happy reply. Here’s the candor.

To those actors out there that think that every inquiry for work or audition by them merits a thumbs-up or down response; get a reality check. It’s not going to happen. If you keep waiting for replies from all you contact you’ll eventually drive yourself mad and be one of those scary people on a subway platform who reek of a sour milk stench and mumble incoherently that Disney — in collaboration with the government — is tracking brain waves.

Recently I encountered another cry for ‘answer me damn it’ within the following Facebook status of an actress:

Seting up interviews with agents next week in New York. Have 2 appointments already…does anyone have an agent they like or that they have heard is good? I don’t want to work with an agent who doesn’t have time to take a phone call, I want someone who can give me advice and who will steer my career in the right direction. NO SNOBS!!!!

“NO SNOBS!!!” ? Honey you’re the snob of reality for not understanding how life works.

I wonder how many times this actress receives telemarketing calls from strangers and gets cozy will the uninvited intruder selling their wares? Actors cold calling agents is no different than a telemarketer calling you. Just as your life and/or work is being interrupted so too are agents who are trying to serve their clients being pulled at by interloping, uninvited actors calling on the phone.

In my diversified work as a casting director, director, teacher and writer I send out multitudes of inquiries for employ. Is it realistic for me to expect a response from each individual? Do I really want hundreds upon hundreds of ‘thanks but no thanks’ responses from producers, university theater department chairs and/or publishers? Would you? How fucking depressing. Why ask for the rejection to be voiced? Why are some actors masochists and demand to hear a reply – even if it’s a ‘no’ — from whomever they contact for a job? Is it because they enjoy wallowing in woe? Or is it because their labors are creative and the muse-afflicted believe themselves elevated above all others on our humble spinning rock in space?

The tired but worn phrase “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.” is not a suggestion. It’s reality. An instructive that is telling you (and Sondheim appreciators) to move on…

To the actors who expect a nod and bow to every resume they submit for potential employ:

– Stop focusing on a single submission. Look to other opportunities.

– Stop bitching, blaming and bemoaning that you’re not hearing back from people who hire. Look at what you have on paper to offer; could it be improved? If all is well with the resume, cover letter and headshot then pursue others with a first approach.

– Stop thinking that because some God or deity has sparked your soul to be an actor this makes you ‘special’ above all others on this planet. You’re not. You’re an individual among many, all of whom are also asking to be heard. Everyone can not answer everyone. (If you come up with a telepathic invention to make this happen universally; I’m outta here.)

Keep marketing yourself. Go after new opportunities. Take classes to improve your abilities. And please, stop waiting for responses. You’re wasting valuable time getting mired in melancholy while others are moving past you as they focus on what’s next.

Move on.

Side Note: FREE subscriber to Answers for Actors?

If not, then you’re not one of the 5,700 plus actors getting Answers for Actors delivered directly to your in-box. Each new post (once every two weeks) gets you industry info. I and my office do not view your e-mail address when you subscribe (the techno-elves do all that).  We just know you’re on-board and happily sharing in your journey. To subscribe for free use one of the subscription services either the gray ‘Follow Answers For Actors’ button to the lower right or the follow options in the right hand column.

My Best,
Paul

Bookmark and Share

StumbleUpon.com
E-mail This Post to a Friend or Two…

Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit www.PaulRussell.net.

Get One-On-One:

Get Work:

Get The Feed:

Classes with Paul Russell Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!

Answers For Actors Feed

Visit Paul @ PaulRussell.net and/or: