7 Things You Need in Your Professional Arsenal

(Your tools) need continual maintenance, makeovers, and care.

Hi, actor friends! You know those times, (maybe a lot of the time), when you feel like you just don’t have your, erm…stuff together? Do your colleagues always seem one step ahead, just a smidge more profesh? Luckily, when that happens, there are a couple helpful things you can remember. One is that, especially when we’re just launching our careers, we all have days like that. We all feel that way sometimes. You are not alone, so gently remove your head from the oven and cultivate a better class of problems. (Or don’t, actually. If these are your only problems, keep them—they are totally fixable problems)! Ahem. The second, far more practical thing is this: there are things you can do to up your game! Below, in fact, is a list of just those sorts of things!

These are the things you should have at the ready, all day e’ry day. These are the things on which you should not skimp. Get them done, get them done right, and get them done professionally.

These are weapons you should have in your actor’s arsenal.

  1. Headshots. I’ve written many times about these, but it is so worth repeating. Good headshots are absolutely crucial. You need to have at least two looks (one commercial), it needs to be well-framed, correctly focused, showcase your type, and look like you. The most expensive headshot photographer is not necessarily always the best one out there, but you also don’t want to cut corners here. Do your research and get it done right.
  2. Small Digital Headshot. Sometimes you will have to send your headshot to people via email. Even if you normally link to your website, it is a good idea to have a smaller, condensed digital copy of your headshot saved so that directors or agents don’t get a massive, unprofessional-looking file assaulting their delicate eyes when they open your email.  Even better, send a Cast It Talent personal URL from your Profile to people so that they receive a professional package of your headshot, resume, and even videos for CIT Pro actors.
  3. Resume. Of course, this goes hand in hand with your headshot. Keep it updated, well-formatted, and attractive. Keep an eye out for changing trends where layout is concerned.  Have it on your website, saved in pdf.s, and easily accessible.
  4. Reel. If you don’t have a reel, start working on one. Do free or low-paying projects if you have to, until you amass enough material to cut together.  As a Cast It Talent member it’s free to submit to any of our Gig Finder Roles and also for Online Talent Searches.
  5. Voiceover Reel. It’s like a film reel…but for your voice. Don’t forget about the lucrative (and very fun) world of voice acting! Audiobooks? Radio/podcast spots? Minor voiceover projects? Save them. Collect them. Put them together in a beautiful compilation of your mellifluous voice acting!
  6. Photos. It’s always good, for commercial or modeling work, or for extra work, or just for random projects, to have a collection of solid, professional-looking photographs of yourself on hand. A good place to start: chest-up, waist-up, full body, hands, feet, legs.  The Bruce Lee biopic, Birth of the Dragon that is casting on the CIT website now or the Assassins Creed Online Talent Search both requested images of gymnastics, martial arts or parkour.  You never know.
  7. Online Profiles for services like Cast It Talent. These are easy to forget and ignore (trust me, I’ve done it)!  They’re just floating out there, innocuously occupying cyberspace…until someone important sees them. Then you better hope they have updated reels, resumes and pictures, that they accurately reflect your body of work, and that they have current contact information. So go track down your cyber footprints on Cast It Talent and other services and spruce those puppies up!

These are invaluable tools for your career. They need continual maintenance, makeovers, and care. They are the things you end up needing last second, so they are the things with which you should be prepared. Make the actor’s life just a little easier for yourself, and get a head start. It will pay off in the end.

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com