American Resume --> British CV

CV means “Curriculum Vitae”. Although there are some exceptions, the British use a CV, Americans use a resume.

Paper size & type
UK standard letter size is A4 (8.25”x11.75”) as opposed to the US 8.5” x 11”. Change the paper size in your word processor.

If you’ve got a long resume, you’re in luck! In the UK it’s standard to staple your A4 CV to the back of your 10x8 headshot - untrimmed.

It’s best to print on 100gsm weight paper, such as “Conqueror” brand (generic versions available at Ryman shops).

Name & vital statistics
Your name, most often at the top, must stand out in size, weight and color.

Essential: Yours or your agent’s contact details, unions, height (same as USA – feet, inches), hair Color, eye Color, Spotlight view PIN (you’ll be given this when you appear in Spotlight).

weight (in stones or kilograms not pounds) or build, nationality (e.g. “American citizen/UK Resident”), Your professional web site (e.g., a small version of your headshot (in case your photo & CV get separated).

Format: It’s customary in the UK to list credits in this order from left to right: role, production title, director, production company or theatre

American credits: Since you want to work in the UK, put your British credits first in each category (theatre, film, TV, etc.). What if your credits are all American? For film or TV, it doesn’t really matter especially if the production company or network is known worldwide (e.g. Disney or HBO). For stage list the city after the production company (e.g. “Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, DC”).

As in the USA, feel free to change the order of your credits, either individually or by category, according to what’s appropriate for your audition.

Keep it simple and pithy! It seems to be a trend in America for actors to list every course taken as part of their acting degree, every workshop they’ve ever attended, the instructor’s name, and dates for everything. Not so in the UK. Just list 1) where you got your primary acting training, 2) the type of degree you earned and 3) if you graduated with honors. It’s assumed actors perpetually improve their craft, so no need to list every workshop taken. However, if you frequently take classes at a particular place(s), list it this way: “Actors Centre, City Lit – ongoing”. Unless it’s really high profile, i.e. 1 year intensive at RADA, scrap it from your CV and leave room for work credits.

Beware of what I call “skill inflation”: excessively increasing your skill list - to impress or to seem versatile – and you end up decreasing each skill’s value. List only what you can do to a high level at the drop of a hat.

NOTE: what Americans call a “print model” (appearing in print ads for magazines, posters, etc.), Brits often call a “photographic model”.

Only list accents that are of native standard, especially UK accents! You may be able to get away with a mediocre cockney in Utah, but if you try it in London people will laugh and shout “Chim Chimney Cheroo” at you*. Your genuine American accent is an advantage here, so list “Standard American” first, then your native accent (e.g. Maryland or East Coast), other American regionals, then foreign. All must be perfect.

*Dick van Dyke had a famously bad cockney accent in the movie version of Mary Poppins. As Bert, he sang “Chim Chimney Cheroo”.


Unknown said…
Finally starting to go through from the beginning--this is great. And similar to a blog I did on American resumes:

I'm glad you mentioned Spotlight--I just discovered it over the weekend, and have been trying to find out how legit it is. Apparently, pretty legit. Is it similar to Actors Access? I can't afford to join just now, and since I'm based in Denver, it probably wouldn't be a good idea. Not until Good Things happen--like I somehow find someone willing to sponsor me to work for them across the pond!

I lived in England as a teen and have gone back many times through the years. Each time gets harder and harder to leave, as it's the only place (anywhere on the Isles, that is) that has ever been Home to me.
vipin said…
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