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by Lindsay Kyte

A properly put together acting résumé can be essential to a successful audition for performing artists. It is an important tool. It's the ticket to getting noticed, to getting auditions and to getting parts. Therefore, an improperly done resume is a huge hindrance to an actor's career.

Gary Vermeir, of the Maritimes branch of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA ), says the most common mistake made with acting résumés is a muddy layout. "The auditioner wants to be able to scan it quickly and have the pertinent information jump out at him," he says.

Diane Nyland-Proctor, director and choreographer of Anne of Green Gables-The Musical, agrees. "The cleaner the better. In the audition room, you have to be able to go through them in a heartbeat."

Both Vermeir and Nyland-Proctor insist that résumés should only be one page. This page should have an actor's name at the top, height, weight, eye and hair colour, vocal range, whether equity or non-equity (professional or non), agency (if applicable), and contact information. Clothing sizes are unnecessary clutter, says Nyland-Proctor.

Listing your date of birth may limit casting potential, says Nyland-Proctor. "For example, if I was looking for someone that was kind of mid-twenties, and all of a sudden I look up and see that this really sophisticated young girl is really only seventeen, yes, it could affect casting."

After personal information, the next category is experience, says Vermeir. This should be separated into two categories: stage and "film and television." Nyland-Proctor suggests, "If you are going to a theatrical audition, it's a good idea to have your theatrical experience at the top. If you're going into a television or film audition, it's a good idea to have a résumé that just switches that around and have film at the top."

Nyland-Proctor says experience should be listed in columns. Productions are listed in the left-hand column, the character portrayed in the middle column, and the venue and director on the right. "By doing it that way," she says," I can rake through their résumé in a moment's notice."

The category below is "training," which should list an actor's training and instructor, says Nyland-Proctor. Finally, the last category is "special skills." Vermeir says any skill useful towards a production should be listed here. "If you are a skilled ballroom dancer or voted the best bartender in town-add it. You never know what skills the next role is going to require."

Vermeir warns against comic additions to this section. "`Great kisser' or silly things like that just waste everybody's time." As well, Vermeir says not to add skills like "various dialects" unless absolutely true. "If all your British accents sound like a drunken Ringo Starr," he says, "then you shouldn't be claiming to be a dialect specialist."

Lastly, Nyland-Proctor says actors should attach their résumés to their photos, with the blank part of a résumé facing the blank part of a photo. Therefore, when the director flips the picture over, the résumé is on the other side. Nyland-Proctor gives her Charlottetown show as an example. "We have gone through in the area of 1100 photos and résumés, so if it is not attached, the chances of it wandering are pretty good."

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