Living Up To Your Acting Resume

Sep 27, 2010 by     No Comments    Posted under: Acting Tips, The business, Thousands of Stories

Take a good look at the the “Special Skills” section of your resume. What does it say?

“Fluent in Spanish?” “Licensed motorcycle operator?” “Can juggle flaming bowling pins with one hand?”

Sure you can do it. Well, can’t you?

I was on Columbia College’s campus Saturday afternoon, auditioning for a lead role in a student-produced web series. The audition was being held in room 317, the inside of which I know well from previous auditions. But unlike many of my previous attempts, I knew I was perfect for this role from the moment I read the character description. So I prepared like a maniac! I read the script a hundred billion times. I came dressed for the part. Hell, I even brought a small prop to use in the audition. I was the calm, cool and collected actor waiting patiently in the hall for my name to be called. I was the man.

When I walked into the audition itself, I let that confidence shine through in my personality and my smile. God, I was on fire! We did the first take. Nailed it. Felt great. Second take, even more so!

And then it happened.

“Alright Joe, we want you to do this next one using a Cockney dialect.”

This is the part where the lights in the room suddenly go out and you find yourself strapped to a chair with a single hot light burning into your eyes. You start to sweat. You think, “Did I put a Cockney dialect on my resume?” Yes, Joe, you in fact did. That children’s theatre production of My Fair Lady you did when you were a kid? Well, somewhere along the line you decided that was training enough. Well what a fine spot you’ve gotten yourself into now. Bravo.

Don’t get me wrong, I can do a Cockney-ish dialect. And that usually works for my improv shows. But vocal caricatures simply won’t cut it for film and television. Producers, directors, and especially viewers want the goods.

Hoping to lighten the mood, I smiled and wryly quipped, “Ah, so you’re the director that makes his actors actually do the stuff on their resume.” The comment garnered a hearty laugh from the producers, and even the director couldn’t help but smile. “Oh, you know it,” he replied. So with that, I jumped into the scene, which ended up sounding like something between a wannabe Michael Caine and a giraffe trying to swallow Rupert Grint. It certainly could have been a lot worse.

Here’s my point, and it should be a pretty obvious one: Be sure you can actually do what your resume says you can do. You never know when a director is actually going to ask you to do it!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a resume to adjust.

~JVB