Is Your Resume Short on Credits?

July 18, 2016


With all the emphasis on gaining experience in the acting profession, how is one to begin building momentum when his or her resume is short on credits? This Keep It Real Acting video features Commercial Talent Agent James Vaughn who urges new performers to highlight their skill set if they are lacking in credits. In an advanced callback class, Vaughn gives the following advice to aspiring talent:

“You need to understand that your skill set that you bring are going to be those things that get you in the door probably more so than being that experienced commercial actor that I’m going to submit for the projects that say in all caps, ‘Must know copier, must be able to act copy.’ So, if you’re athletic, get athletic pictures. If there’s a certain skill set that you can maybe make a ten or 20-second video of or something like that. But it’s about putting the materials in front of your agent that reflect who you are and what you bring to the table.”

Vaughn’s comments reveal how important it is for actors to provide the necessary materials to their agents to demonstrate their unique skills. The best way to do this is to include highlights of you executing specific skills on your actor reel or clips. Doing so will open you up to more casting possibilities, help agents and casting directors clearly identify you as an actor, and ultimately help you to stand out amongst the competition in your quest for jobs. Legitimate skills can include mastery in specific sports, dances, languages, or instruments; they can also include proficiency with accents, the ability to cry on cue, firearms training or experience in the military, being employed as a nurse, or the ability to pilot a helicopter. If there’s a chance you might be called in for a skill, then include it. Some actors include more unusual skills like knowing how to groom a dog, perform a hula hoop routine, or sculpt ice. Heck, one actress even emphasized her uncanny ability to sing off-key! But make sure that what you provide gives the best idea of who you are as a performer. Make your package stand out by being specific, and being honest about your skill level so you don’t find yourself auditioning with other actors who exhibit abilities well above your own.

Vaughn continues, “And if your agent is asking you for those things, all of the worry is to get them. But if they’re not asking you for them, and then you come to them and say, ‘Hey, I’m an athletic guy, I’m a gym rat, I’m a this, I’m a that…I got a video that shows me bench pressing…that would be like free money to me.” In other words, your unique skill set has the potential to pay the bills! So don’t hold back any of the abilities that you’ve accumulated throughout your life.

He ends by asserting, “If you know who you are, and you know the skills that you bring to the table, and you bring the mentality to bring those things to your agent so that they can use them and put you in those projects, that helps us tenfold. We can’t be the ones to pull that kind of stuff out of you guys. You have to be thinking that way.”