You’ve talked a lot about billing, and I appreciate that. There are a lot of things I don’t know about how to list the experience, training, and skills that I have. For instance, I’ve done a lot of casting director workshops. I know that’s controversial to begin with, but I’m just wondering how to list the CD workshops in my training. Let’s leave the rest of the “issue” behind.

Fair question. You’re spending money on CD workshops and you want to know how to list them on your resume. I get that. I’m guessing you’ve been told to leave CD workshops off your resume or else you’d simply list them as training, right? Okay, so why are you being told not to list CD workshops as training?

Well, let’s say I’m looking at a stack of 100 resumes. Ten of them list a bunch of CDs as instructors. Ninety of them list accredited, professional acting instructors among their credits. What does it show me if you’ve been training with casting directors? Do I think you took a series of one-nighters with a few different people? Unless I know for a fact that the CD you’ve listed does regular, on-going classes, then that’s most likely what I’m assuming your CD workshops to be: one-nighters. Do I believe you learned something craft-related? Maybe. Do I believe you learned a cold-reading skill? Yes. Do I believe you now know what goes on in each particular CD’s office? Definitely!

So, if I need an actor who is proficient and well-trained in improvisation or Shakespearean sonnet rhythm or stage combat and you can show me that you’ve been trained to cold read well for a few particular CDs — big deal! Cold reading for CDs is a skill that makes you a better auditioner, not necessarily a better actor. And if I’m deciding whether to bring you in for a casting session, I’m looking at what abilities you can bring to set. It’s very unlikely that your ability to cold read makes a difference outside the audition.

Here, look at me, as a casting director. Should I put on my resume that I’m great at networking? That I’m a skilled small-talker? How about adding that I’m an expert at making people feel comfortable when they speak with me about their projects? No way! That is all stuff that makes me more hireable. It is not necessarily stuff that makes me a better casting director. What producers look at, when they take a gander at my resume, is whether I’m well-versed in SAG contracts, whether I know how to make offers to “names” on a micro budget, how consistently I’ve been able to get high-profile people to look at material, and whether the films I’ve previously cast have made it to film festivals or full distribution. None of that has anything to do with whether I’m good at interviewing for a job.

Bottom line, when you’re listing your training on a resume, be sure to list what makes you a better actor in terms of your craft. Let me underscore that the fact that you’re a better auditioner only means you’ll blow a casting director away in the room. It really has nothing to do with what you bring to the set.

Please note that I mean no offense to casting directors who teach on a regular basis. I’m concerned about actors listing one-night CD workshops as training, NOT about actors listing ongoing training with an instructor who happens to also be a CD. Please note that distinction! I have quite a few friends who cast and teach (heck, I’m looking into teaching ongoing classes, myself), but unless the CD teaching your one-nighter has something more to give than feedback on your work and perhaps a glimpse into the auditioning process for that person’s sessions, think twice before including that person among well-respected teachers of craft on your resume. Of course, no one is going to not cast the right person simply because that actor chose to include a bunch of one-nighter workshops as training. Just be sure that the TRAINING section of your resume is well-rounded and truly representative of the work you’ve put into your craft.

Wanna be sure your tools *and* your mindset are in peak form? Let us get you in gear with some FREE training right now!

Rock ON!


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/000226.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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