Stop getting lost in the shuffle, literally!

by Kenji Maeda on May 25, 2009


We all know Agents and Casting Directors lead busy lives. They also get hundreds of headshots and resumes sent to them, either in the mail or digitally.

Are you ever concerned that you may get lost amongst the other submissions also vying for attention?  Well, some of you are literally getting lost and it’s completely preventable.  How? Clearly label your package contents.  What do I mean?

Physical Packages

You mail a package to an agent you want to meet for possible representation. Your package includes your headshot, resume, and cover letter. There are other headshots and resumes on the agent’s desk in a pile. Papers and photos get mixed up a bit.

PROBLEM: Your headshot does not include your name on it – anywhere! Because there are other headshots/pictures with no names, the agent isn’t able to associate the picture with the correct resume. You are now officially lost in the shuffle, literally.

A fellow agent says:

It’s a nuisance.  The actor’s name should always be on the back of a headshot that arrives with a cover letter.  Not everyone prints their name on the photo, some have a friend take their pics or go to a local photographer, and each of these rarely have a name on them.

SOLUTION: Simply make sure your name is written on all the material that you put in your package. Most professionally done headshots will have the name printed on it, but if you’re sending other pictures which don’t have your name on it, you should write it on the back of the picture. If you’re including a demo reel, make sure your name is printed on the disc as well.

Electronic Packages

Sure, you can imagine physical packages getting mixed up, but emails are self contained and there shouldn’t be that problem right?  Well, it’s not the same problem but just imagine a Casting Director for an independent production who asks for self-submissions and deals with, let’s say, 50 emails containing headshots/resumes.

PROBLEM: Your resume file is called “resume.doc” and your picture is “headshot.jpg”.  30 other people have the same file name.

A friend who has cast many projects for his company recently told me:

While many actors are not tech savvy, I think it would probably serve most well to name their headshot file something descriptive. ie some or part of their name_headshot-1.jpg. Since I was having to create a casting album of sorts, this would have made cross referencing back to the original email a lot easier. Something to think about for the actors as every little bit matters and I would hate to accidentally miss someone because their file has the same name as half the others!

An agent adds:

I have lost count of jpegs that have arrived with simply “Me on the beach”, “img-something” or just a number.  I find I receive twenty mugshots or more without names each week.  It’s a real time-waster having to rename them when that time could be used getting the actors WORK!

SOLUTION: Clearly label your electronic files. Not only for pictures, but also your resume.  Your files should have your name on it.  Make it as easy as possible for them to sort and find your files. A few seconds of work on your end will better ensure they can find you when they want to.

How else can you be proactive so that you don’t get lost or unreachable? Let us know in the comments below.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Micah Field May 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm

Wow, this was really helpful.
I’m an aspiring actor and every tip I can find is really useful, thanks so much!

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