The Bottom of Your Resume 

This is where most people put their Education and Training and their Special Skills.  Lets deal with Special Skills first: 

Special Skills 

Special Skills should be…well, special.  Now look, I don’t think many people are going to win or lose jobs by what they put in this section, but sometimes we’re looking for a unique talent.  This section is also more likely to help you in a one-on-one audition where the auditor might have a little more time to spend with you than in a large group audition.  

That having been said, putting quite ordinary things here makes me question your sense.  Let’s take a look at actual skills listed on people’s resumes: 

Dancing (various):

Now I’ll get to dialects a little later, but I think with dancing you should be very specific about what types and how long you’ve trained.  Listing your teachers here is also a good idea.  And while this is a special skill, it might be more appropriate to list this under Education and Training. 

Special Skills: Running, Quick Study

Running?  How does this help you on the stage unless you’re doing it the entire play.

Quick Study?  I hope so, but unless there’s a bunch of people putting “Slow Study” on their resumes, I’m not sure how it distinguishes you.

Driving Stickshift or Valid Driver’s License:

This may be helpful in Film work, but I’m not sure how it applies to theatre.

Stage Combat:

Just Stage Combat?  Not who taught you or what kind of Stage Combat you’ve had?  Did you throw a pie once?  Get hit by a spit take?  Get hit by a pillow?  I don’t know what this means and the fact that you didn’t go into more detail leads me to believe that you’ve had no real training.  This also might be better listed under Education and Training. 

Flexibility:

Um, okay.

Very Basic Juggling:

Well then it’s not really a Special Skill, is it?  Every actor I know can juggle.  Unless you’re great and can juggle a knife, a bowling bowl and a shark at the same time, I’m not impressed.  Actually, if you can do that call me immediately.

Craft Services:

This would be interesting if I was looking at you for a commercial gig, but then I wouldn’t be auditioning you as an actor.

Computer Literate:

This is not an IT position.

Motorcycle Repair:

What do I do with that?

Lighting Design:

Great, but I’m looking for actors.  Apply for a tech position at the appropriate time.

Can work without glasses:

I certainly hope so, but this person auditioned without glasses.  Now I’m wondering if it was a lucky fluke that he didn’t bump into something. 

Fashion Sensibilities:

Ah, hah, hah!

Comedic Training:

What? 

Water Skiing:

Being a water skier myself, I know just how unlikely this is to help you on stage.

And again, some of these things might be useful for a film audition, but then save them for that resume.

So what should go in this section?  I’ll try to list the things that I find useful or at the very least interesting.  And some that just make me smile.

Dance Training:

As I said this is a perfect thing to list here, but again, be specific.  What type of dance, where you took it and how many years you trained.  If you’ve trained all over the place no need to go into every class you ever took, just give us a representative idea.

Dialects:

I assume that any actor worth his salt can handle dialects.  Where we get into trouble here is when people make a long list of the dialects they’re proficient at.  Here’s one example:

Dialects- Irish, English (North Country, Upper Class), American (Standard, Southern, NY, Boston), Spanish, Arabic (Israeli, Palestinian, Persian).

It’s not that I doubt this person, but she might have better served by writing Dialects on request, or proficient in Dialects. 

Do you play an instrument?  Many instruments?  Do let us know. 

Are you fluent in a foreign language?  That might get you a job right there.  Sign language is also a useful skill to list.

Certified Actor Combatant:

Yup, let us know that and what you’re certified in: Unarmed, Quarterstaff, Broadsword, Rapier and Dagger.  Taking a weekend course or being involved in a single play hardly qualifies here.  Be honest about your skill level.  Also, if you’ve been the Fight Captain for a play, let us know.  It might not get you extra work, but if you’re cast it might get you a little extra pay.

Martial arts Training:

Always good to know.

Here is a list of things that I find interesting in a good way.  If the right part requires one of these skills, listing it might just get you the job:

Professional Circus Clown

Fire Breathing

Fire Juggling (bonus if it’s with fire sharks)

Unicycling

Bullwhip Cracking

Trick Roping

Aerial Circus Arts (trapeze, lyra, cradle, cloud swing)

And finally, here’s a list of things that really don’t have much to do with anything, but make me giggle and just might open up a conversation which allows you to reveal some personality and make a connection with the auditor:

Dolphin Sounds

Baby Crying

Happy Baby Sounds

Barking

Christopher Walken Impression (everyone loves a good Christopher Walken)

Excellent Whistler

Can walk and Dance conjoined to another

Chewbacca Impression

And the single best special skill I’ve ever seen listed; Mock.  You’ll have to get John Maclay to tell you about that.

Now if you list one of these things as a special skill, you’d best be able to produce.  Don’t put down Walken unless you can nail him. 

Next up; Education and Training.

Fletcher

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