Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ethics in Resumes and the Rush to "Pump"

Thank you for the feedback to our first Business of Acting Blog. Some of you posted your comments; many others sent me e-mails with comments and questions.

Before I get to my rant of the week, I want to address the "How do I sign up?" issue that many of you wrote me about. You can read our Blog one of two ways: anytime you visit, you can click on the yellow Read Our Blog button on the home page, but if you would like to be informed when a new Blog has been posted, you can sign up on our main Blog page. When you go there, you will see a quick sign-up box from Google to create your account. If you already have a Google account, then just sign in. If not, create a new account for yourself and be informed whenever there is something new for you to see on the Blog.

Apologies for any confusion there.

Now to the Business of Acting business at hand.

With another school year about to end and another round of seeking-to-be-working actors graduates from colleges and universities, the massive transition from student to professional begins. It's like a great migration. In fact, it is a great migration as so many make their ways from "home" to one of the key bases for careers in the business of acting, Los Angeles or New York.

With this great influx of new, yet unskilled, talent, the rush is on -- and that is not a good thing. Young actors want to make their marks quickly, but like a good wine, a good soup, a great pasta sauce (food analagies always work well), some things take time to develop to their full richness. Careers work the same way. Yes, some will get lucky and reap some rewards quickly. But these wins will be unsustainable in the long run without proper nurturing, ongoing study, continuing training and patience -- which brings me to the topic at hand: Ethics in resumes and the rush to pump one's readiness -- and the dangers that a bit of "creativity" on a resume can bring.

Young actors new to Los Angeles or New York will do almost anything to gain the attention of an agent, a manager or a casting director. Smart actors know how to do it the right way; stupid actors will only set themselves up for unpleasantness and failure. So, let's teach every actor how to be a smart actor, from the Business of Acting perspective.

Creative writing has its place, but that place is not on an actor's resume. I am constantly asked about how an actor can make their resume look "good" when they haven't (yet) had a chance to work enough to build their credits to a point where what is on there would command some attention from a casting director, potential agent or perspective manager.

Chapter 7 in "The Business of Acting" is about the art of creating resumes and bios. The chapter features a horrifying and true story of one actor who lied on his resume and got caught. I know it's a true story because I'm the one who caught him.

More important than being a good actor is being an ethical person. At least in my book. I have dropped clients from my company's roster for acts of unethical behavior. Lying is high on that list.

How do you make you resume look like it deserves serious attention? Work at making it reflect the kind of actor you are now and the potential for becoming the kind of actor you desire to evolve to be. If your credits fall short of spectacular right now, do not underestimate the importance of balance what doesn't yet appear as work experience with training, workshops and classes with credible teachers, coaches and facilities who have earned reputations in the industry for the work they do.

This kind of information of an actor's resume tells me a lot about how serious they are. Smart actors work at building their credits by building their exposure. There has never been a better time for particularly non-represented actors to be pro-active in strategic ways that can help launch, build and sustain careers. Take a look at the Book Updates page on our Web site ( for more opinion on some of the options available.

The final word is "never." Never lie on your resume to make it look like you have achieved more than your journey has given you yet. Opportunities, credits, experience, growth will happen. It's a learning experience. You certainly wouldn't want to find out that the guy giving you a root canal never really made it past flossing 101.

Be proud of what you have already achieved on your journey and let that empower you to continue to move your career forward in ways that serve you and your reputation the right way.

Feel free to submit your comments for posting and/or e-mail me at

We'll explore other related topics in future Blogs.


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