Hello Bonnie,

First off, I just wanted to thank you for all of the great advice that you have graciously made so accessible. I only wish that I could have found your column years ago but after finding it I have been going through the articles from the beginning.

Earlier this year, I went to a seminar put on by The Actors Market on launching your career in pilot season. The speaker spoke about how important it is to have your tools together before you move forward. I have my headshot and resumé but felt that I would need more experience to build my demo reel and have a website.

My experience in acting is mainly in theatre other than one student film I was in. The student film isn’t listed on my resumé because I wasn’t sure how to list it on my resumé. The only footage I have that isn’t from the stage is from the student film I did. I am wondering if it would be in my best interest to use original material and create a demo reel from that until I have roles with footage I can use or if I am fine without a demo reel at the moment.

I am hoping that in the near future I will get to learn from you in person.

Thank you for all that you do,
Michelle Mink

Hello Michelle and welcome to The Actors Voice! I hope you’re having fun going through and reading alllllll those archived pieces. There’s a LOT, huh?

First thing I want to say is: Enjoy being at the beginning. You have a long road ahead of you and all the time in the world to amass tools that support the career you plan to have. Good for you, holding off on pushing together a website or a demo reel, right now.

You certainly can list that one student film on your resumé, if you’d like! I have a template for a “starter resumé” here that you should check out. And perhaps read this piece on the “inverted pyramid” as a means of understanding the hierarchy of footage on a reel.

As you gather more footage (whether you create it yourself or not), you can ask yourself where it fits within that hierarchy and — especially at the beginning of your career — you will be doing some projects that never go on your resumé or reel, because their purpose was to get you experience, build some relationships, or just have fun. All of that is good!

Just celebrate where you are and bring together your tools organically. It’ll feel great, everything will be on-brand, and you’ll have confidence behind what you’ve built rather than wondering what you could put together to force these tools to exist before it’s truly essential to have them.

You mentioned working together; I have opened registration for the Self-Management for Actors Retreat taking place in February, if you’d like to check that out. We’re also doing SMFA Online for January and February, if you’re looking for a longer-term course (but that one is, obviously, online; the retreat is in person).

Hope your year is wrapping up beautifully and I’m excited to hear about your next tier, Michelle!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001909.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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