The Actor’S Cover Letter.Mp4
A great cover letter can mean the difference between getting the audition you’re submitting for or losing out on a great opportunity.
you would be shocked at how many pictures and resumes land on a casting director or director of producers desk every day without a cover letter now though its inherent in the relationship between the actor and those people that the former is trying to get the attention of the latter without a cover letter involved the person receiving the picture and resume and producer or agent or so on is not going to know for what specific project that this actor is trying to submit themselves for and usually a picture and resume without a cover letter ends up in the trash and that’s why it’s really important to first have a cover letter to begin with but then understand how to craft one appropriately and follow that up by a targeted resume to hopefully up your chances of being called in for an audition okay so what I wanted to do today is talk about what a cover letter is it’s basic function and then take it one step beyond and talk to you about how to craft a cover letter that will gear the reader toward looking for the specific information you want them to see when they look over your picture and resume all right so let’s get started so basically an actor’s cover letter explains to the person receiving and why you sent them your marketing materials it begins with an introduction to that person perhaps you’ve had a referral to that person perhaps you’ve seen their ad in a you know in backstage or online or something explains this is where I saw the audition information then you have a short section where you would explain a little bit about yourself and your work history in relation to the project that you want to be seen for and then finally you wrap up by trying to give them pieces of information that sets up a sense of expectation about what they’re about to see when they put the cover letter down and start going through your stuff now I say stuff because oftentimes you’ll want to submit more than just your picture and resume for an audition submission depending on the project for instance if you’re auditioning for a film you might want to include your DVD wheel perhaps they wanted to see your audio CD as part of some kind of narration work that they’re doing on that project maybe they wanted to see your comp card you can always also include one of your actor review sheets from a show you did previously now if you don’t know what an actor review sheet is when you’re done watching this video go back and find the video I produced a while back called the actors review sheet and then and I’ll explain what it is how to create one and why it’s so important okay but I think a good cover letter can reveal or imply about four or five things and so I wanted to quickly go over those the first thing that I think a good cover letter can do is it reveals that you’ve gathered specific information about that person or organization you’ve done your homework so you’ve found out what is that theaters new season right so you might mention well you know knowing that you’re gonna produce be producing this play in this play in this play I think I might be well suited to read for that role in this role in that role the same would go for a producer if you know they’re about to launch a new project of some kind or what a casting office is working on at present okay it just shows that you’ve done a little homework it’s not a blind submission okay the second thing is that you if you’ve done your homework you can then tell them what specifically you want to be seen for you can sort of make suggestions you know based on my experience with comedy I’d like to be seen for this role or I know that you’re having you have internships available for your summer stock season or looking for a spot on this tour that’s coming up in the fall right the more specific the better okay once again it shows them that you’ve done your homework what this then does is it gives them a relevant reason to go through your resume and picture and all your materials that you might provide by linking your prior experience to their future project you’re creating a sense of expectation that there could be they they could actually be able to use you for that future project the fourth thing it does is if it’s a well crafted and I’m talking now about writing if the writing is well crafted they can convey a sense of excitement and personality intelligence and professionalism by the tone and style of writing in the letter itself you know you if it’s if it’s well done it can it can tell them a lot about who you are as a person and then finally you know throughout the body of the the rest of the cover letter rather you can plant bits of information to do something which is known as priming the reader so if you drop bits of information about what they’re about to see once they put the cover letter down you’re priming them you’re getting them ready to start looking for that specific information when they look on the back of your resume or put your DVD reel in to watch it or whatever but priming is really important and it’s it’s a it’s an integral part of what makes a really good cover letter so now I wanted to turn and and show you some some bits of what a cover letter should actually look like the the layout and so on okay so I wanted to create a scenario by which I could show you the actual pieces of material that you would be submitting for a hypothetical audition in this case let’s let’s go with the idea that I want to get seen by a Shakespeare Theatre Company for their season audition okay for the for all the plays they’re going to be for do sing in the upcoming year so the first thing of course they would see would be the actual cover letter now you’ll notice I’ve put my headshot in the upper right hand corner here what did I do that because the cardinal rule of actor marketing is absolutely nothing leaves your office without your picture attached to it somewhere they have to start linking that face with this name every time they get something and I have to help them do that so that they’ll always know that that is Shawn Pratt and not somebody else in general it’s good to have a cover letter that’s just one page long sometimes you can have a two page cover letter if you feel it’s appropriate but in but I would recommend trying to keep it on one page the first paragraph introduces you to them says you know this is where I saw the audition information and then immediately afterwards you can describe you can start talking about the project in this case I would show them that I’ve done my homework by saying I can see from your seizing your season you’re producing X Y & Z plays and based on that my experience say with comedy or sword fighting or whatever I think these roles might be a good fit for me to be seen for or auditioned for in your upcoming round of auditions the middle paragraph I would then say something to the effect of as you can see from my resume I have extensive classical theater experience particularly in performing Shakespeare the last paragraph I would mention the fact that I’ve not only given them my picture and resume but I’ve included an actor review sheet from a production that I recently did as Benedict and much ado about nothing and then thank them for their time so what I’ve done here is I’ve done my introduction I showed them I’ve done some homework on their company I’m priming them by giving them tidbits of information to look for and then I I’m offering this new piece of basically of advertising with the actor review sheet that they should look at to show them that I’m a good actor and they should you know call me in for the audition and then thanking them for their time the next thing of course they’re going to see would be the headshot so let’s say I think this headshot because I think it would be appropriate for the roles I want to be seen for as opposed to a different kind of headshot so I picked this one in relation to once again the projects that they are casting for that season so then when they turn it over I’ve done a couple of things back here that are important the first thing that I’ve done is I’ve mentioned the role of Benedict in the letter well there I am there’s a photograph of me as Benedict in much ado about nothing and then I’ve done something what I think is the most important thing which is I have gone through and using a red highlight I’ve highlighted all the Shakespeare plays that I have been involved in that I wanted them to see Brian I’ve picked the ones where I had the strongest roles and I’ve highlighted those in red you know here the off broadway experience the regional experience and so on and then I went through my education to show them that I have a BFA in acting or I was a company member at the Pearl Theatre and that I went to the British a drama drama Academy in London for a while alright so I’ve by priming them in the letter they’re already looking for this information and there it is presented to them very easily for them to see just using the color red okay and finally as one more piece of information I include a bit of advertising and so here I’ve included an actor’s review sheet now this is one I made up for the video on actors review sheets it’s actually just a fictitious when I just put it together to show you what it would look like I have played the role of Benedict but I just wanted to create this to show you what review sheet could look like here we have say the poster the image from the show a picture of me as Benedict the icon of the theatre and then various quotes from reviews that we the show had and of course if I got mentioned I highlighted in yellow and then I have a thing here from the director talking about my work okay so here I’ve got what they call third party endorsement it’s not enough for me to say I’ve got a lot of training and I think I’d be a good fit for your company but when you have newspaper reviews that say you you know I did a good job here and even the director that lends a lot of credibility to my information and hopefully will then place them to call me in for the audition so there you have it the actor’s cover letter before I leave I wanted to share one more bit of information with you and that is of course that today more and more submissions are being made through email they don’t want to have be inundated with tons and tons of mail for a project well that’s fine the same concept that we’ve talked about can be easily translated over to an email the cover letter itself is the body of the email you would attach your photograph and your resume is two separate files and then if you wanted to include something like an actor’s review sheet that would be a third file as an attachment it’s just really that simple the thing to keep in mind though is the total of bits of information when you have those three files put into your email they should not total more than about five megabytes oftentimes an email service will kick back an email that goes over five megabytes because the photograph is too large or there’s just too much information so be sure that if you do make a submission via the internet that you reduce the size and you compress the size of your photograph so that it’ll be easily delivered by email but once again put the cover letter version of what you would have written this that’s a piece of paper in the body of the email itself okay break it leg it your next audition..
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