Cover letters

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hey everyone

    I could really do with some pointers on how to write a good cover letter.

    Letters aren't exactly my forte and I just can't seem to get it right. I don't want to seem over keen but i want to sound interested and but of course you need to stand out right!

    Any tips? pointers?

    Any help would be fantastic.#

    Take care

    Cat xx :)

    • 2nd Nov 2007
    • 7157
    • 38
  • Iona MacInnes

    Actor

    Cat, Id love to help you but Im pretty pathetic myself at writing cover letters. Tips Ive had in the past which you probably already know;

    * Always address it to someone, not sir/madmam, even if that means ringing the company up and asking them for a name, ive done that loads of times.

    * If its a theatre production then try and go to a production on just now and refer to it in your letter, that you have taken the time to see their style of work, and you love it will give you brownie points.

    * You always have to try and almost say to them that you are the best person, but trying to find your selling point in the letter is sometimes tricky without sounding desperate.

    Its hard isnt it, we need help! There are loads of books that help, An Actors Guide to Getting Work by Simon Dunmore is good (p67) also Making Acting Work is good by Chrys Salt. Tells you everything about cv's and covering letters.

    Good luck, also I bet if you look back at past threads someone is bound to have asked this question before. Iona x

    *

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 0
  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    sent you an email . .. hope it helps

    x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Sone tips.... i was rubbish at them too but have gained some pointers that have worked!

    1) Be direct and postive. You are an actor and applying for work is part of your job, don't be embarrassed to be seaking out opportunities. Don't use phrases like 'I hope you will consider me' or 'I would be grateful' ..... try

    I would like to be considered for, Please consider me for etc.

    2) State relevant experience. Dont re write your CV. Just things that will help with the job.

    3) Show and knowledge or enthusiasm for the piece they are casting for.

    4) Know who you are addressing and about the company. Call the office and ask 'Who should my CV go to'.

    5) Keep it brief. They wont be into reading long letters.

    Hope that helps!!! Oh and the Actors Centre do workshops for further info....

    faye x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 2
  • Stephen Carter

    Actor

    Rebecca, dont suppose i could have an email as well please. i could do with some help. I just waffle.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hi Cat

    Click on the Resources tab on this website, and then The Guides section. There's a long guide about how to write a letter at the bottom of the list.

    Hope that helps.

    Cheers

    Sue

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 4
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    thanks everyone...

    this has been such a horrible aspect of cv sending for me.

    take care :)

    xxxxxxxxxx

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 5
  • Terry Gee

    Actor

    I agree with the points above but Rebecca - NO FAIR! I wanted to hear what you said! :) Could you please email me as well?

    When you're writing for jobs or like me at the moment for an agent it's hard to sell yourself and not waffle at the same time (I have a tendency to waffle) so take the key elements that apply to what you're writing for and keep it to that; everything else will be on your CV.

    Also, make sure it's personal and quirky. That means don't just email them unless they have stated to do so. If you want to email I would post a letter and CV as well as this way you're doubling your chances that someone will actually read it and not discard it.

    I do hope this and everyone else's input help you.

    Terry x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 6
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    yeah thats what I tend to do as well ...waffle!

    it's great to have pointers and guidelines :)

    thank you

    xxx

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 7
  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    Hello everyone.

    I basicallly said the same as Faye so didn;t see the point in posting it twice! but after a barrage of emails I shall post here!! :)

    here is a basic lay out which you can add your experience and relevant information to

    Dear ******

    I would very much like to be part of your new project "***************".

    If there are any audition opportunities arising for the role of "******* " I would be grateful to be contacted.

    ( here you can write what you know about the company and why you feel you would be an asset)

    I have attached a copy of my CV with Photo also feel free to visit my web page. The link is provided below

    I shall look forward to hearing from you soon.

    yours sincerely blaha blah blahhh

    Hope this helps!

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 8
  • Hugh Osborne

    Actor

    One other thing I would add, even though its blindingly obvious, is make sure your spelling is accurate. As Simon Dunmore says in his 'An Actor's Guide to Getting Work', most directors probably have English degrees, or, at the very least, care deeply about the written word; people who can't spell truly don't understand the pain caused by poor spelling to those who can.

    I also think that a reliance on your computer's spellcheck facility is not good enough.

    I often wonder, incidentally, how many directors / casting directors peruse these threads: it would be salutory to discover how many people here have unwittingly robbed themselves of a chance of an audition because they defiNATEly refer to themselves ALOT as being proFFessional actERS.

    Sorry to sound so pompous.

    Luv and best wishiz

    H. x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 9
  • Mark Joseph

    Actor

    Indeed, Simon is rather stringent about such issues as spelling/grammar. Having posted with him on the subject many times over at the Stage, it is obvious it comes from much experience, so should be taken seriously.

    Mark.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 10
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I heard a lecture by Sophie Marshall yesterday who was the casting director at the manchester exchange, she get thousands of letters and brought in some good and some bad. The bad were bad because they were too gimmicky (sp?) and silly, (like having stupid paper with pictures of badgers on it or faking a tea stain) and the good ones were just nice formal letters.

    Explain what you have done that is relevant and mention work that that director has done before. Mention a specific part that you want to play and say why. Send a relevant and good picture.

    Above all be normal without being boring: different without being a freak.

    x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    thanks everyone..it's all a fantastic help.

    big kiss to all of you!! X

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hi everyone!

    I have changed my style of letter writing a lot over the last year. A few key elements that really work is to keep it short and to the point, address it to someone not Dear Sir/Madam and to SELL YOURSELF!!! You have a short letter to tell these people why you are best suited for the job, so make the most of it! Also I always use the rule of three ie. 'I am a dynamic, versatile, detailed actress who loves a challenge'.

    Hope this helps!

    Laura

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 13
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I agree whole-heartedly with Hugh on the spelling issue; I also agree with his recommendation of Simon Dunmore's "An actor's guide to getting work", as I have found it invaluable. Another useful book is "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" by Lynne Truss, as it is very funny but also outlines basic grammar.

    Hope that helps! x

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    hi hi...

    just joined the site nad that and those tips were helpful.

    cheerss

    kuldip

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 15
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hey cat!

    I would say the best way to write a covering letter is to imagine as if your writing it in bullet points; concise and punchy. Mention the experience you've had relevant to the work your auditioning for;ie. 'Recieved intensive vocal training at -- Uni from -- to -- (dates)' and leave out any anecdotal rhetoric after. This will sell Ur key skills concisely, letting them stand alone without U sounding arrogant. What I always do after is skim read it, to check if I can read it in less than a few minutes! Imagine how many covering letters casting directors have to trawl through they don't want 'essays';its the ones that sell the most effectively are short and concise(I imagine!)

    Hope this helps, James.C xx :@)

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 16
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Oh, and another cheeky little trick I always do is, once I've written a decent covering letter for a certain type of work;(Ie. Musical Theatre) I save it and use it as a Master copy whenever I have to write off for that type of work again, just retyping and replacing the names of contact/company/job description etc. with other quick edits here and there. So now I have standard master copys for when I apply for Musical Theatre, Theatre in Education and Film/TV! Bit naughty, I know but why rewrite again and again when U can have one ready made?! Hope this little genius stroke helps, James.C ;@) xxx

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 17
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Not to sound too egotistical, but I've often had good comments on my submissions over the years, both from employers and potential ones (including Sophie Marshall, who has been mentioned here). The biggest selling points have been the simplicity and directness of the enquiry itself and the use of good spelling, grammar, punctuation and layout.

    I'm always at pains to try and write and re-write anything, even a post like this, in order to make it as comprehensible and pleasant to read as possible. I never write 'stream-of-thought' e-mails, either. Perhaps that's because I grew up in a world where a lot more value was placed on good literary skills, but there's no doubt in my mind that presentation is still supremely important.

    As to the content, I think that the best way to write a submission is as if you were applying for a totally different kind of job, say as a milkman. How much waffle do you need to stand a chance of success? Acting really isn't that different. My basic layout is almost identical to Rebecca's, and like McMurphy, having created a set of templates I pull out the most suitable type and edit it to favour the job in which I'm interested. It works for me!

    Best, KD.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 18
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I also couldn't agree more with hugh's point about good spelling and grammar. I strongly believe that it works both ways too.

    I suspect I am not the only actor who cringes when a casting notice is posted for 'a reeeelly kicka** movee dat is goin to be da hottest thing eva!'. That is not to say necessarily that the people we are sending our beautifully worded cover letters to are the same ones posting these notices, but I find it is a pretty good way of deciding whether it is worth finding out more...

    Helena

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 19