Actor Cover Letter Tips

by Arthur Blume

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Important tips to consider when writing a cover letter for actors.


In the performing arts world, just as in the traditional business world, performers need to prepare cover letters and resumes as part of the hiring process. Casting directors spend their days reading thousands of resumes, actor packages and hosting auditions in an effort to fill the positions required by the production companies.

Most human resources departments and in the case of the performing arts industry, the casting department, have developed simple methods to help prioritize the applicants.

Packages that are complete with a cover letter, resume, photos or videos (as required) are typically moved to the top of the pile for immediate call backs. Packages that are incomplete or lacking information are usually categorized as unacceptable and are moved to the bottom of the stack for later review, if necessary.

The old phrase, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression" has never been more relevant than when it pertains to cover letters. A cover letter is the first communication between a casting company and the applicant it is imperative that it be well written.

Recent statistics have shown that performers who have strong, well written cover letters are 80% more likely to get called back for an audition.

As a twenty year veteran of the casting industry I have compiled a simple list of 5 rules for writing an incredible cover letter.

The first rule is to make sure you have correctly spelled all contact information. Imagine how likely a casting director is to hire someone who spells their name incorrectly.

The second rule is to always keep your communication concise. Casting directors can be responsible for reviewing thousands of applicants and you need to make your point quickly. A cover letter should contain an introduction paragraph, a work experience paragraph and a closing paragraph. If necessary a fourth paragraph can be inserted to highlight pertinent work experience or reviews.

The third rule is to use your manners. All correspondence between a performer and casting company should be formal. Always use proper grammar and spelling. Be sure to include corporate titles and proper salutations in all communications.

The fourth rule is to be confident. Never use derogatory or deconstructive words when writing your cover letter. Provide the casting director with additional reasons why you are the perfect performer for the role, but be careful not to appear cocky or over-confident.

The fifth and most important rule is to be prepared. Research the casting company or production company and be prepared to ask some questions. Applicants who conduct research prior to interviewing are 90% more likely to have a second interview than applicant who conducted no research.

Performing arts is different from almost every other industry on the planet. Very few other people have such a direct impact on their own success. Every time a performer sends out a package to a casting agency, they are essentially sending out a personal marketing package.

Casting directors like everyone else want to hire the person they think will succeed the most. Performers who take the extra time to write powerful, error free cover letters and resumes are demonstrating that they are willing to take put in the extra effort ensure a quality product. These are the people who are more likely to take the role seriously and therefore are more likely to win the position.
Arthur Blume is an actor and short subject director and producer.
Copyright © Arthur Blume. All rights reserved. Used with permission of the author. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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Reader Comments

This was a very informative site. It gave me a great deal of information I had not realized before, and the examples of the headshots, cover letters and resumes were useful as well. I appreciate the people who were involved in helping to make this site. Thank You.

Posted by Roy (2008-12-14) 662

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