How to know what should I include in my acting CV
The good news about an acting CV is that they're pretty standardised - a clean, easy to read layout on one side of A4 paper. This makes it easier for agents and casting directors to browse; they can find the certain information that they need rather than having to spend ages reading numerous pages. It also means you don't have to spend hours being overly creative trying to come up with an original format - however, you can add your own style with regards to colour, line style etc.
Some people like to print their CV onto the back of their headshot - that's fine, but a 10x8 is shorter than an A4 piece of paper so you might not be able to fit as much on. Most people prefer to staple or paper clip their CV to their head shot. You should also note that some agents/castings have submission guidelines with regards to amount of pages/details/format, so always check to make sure you follow them!
The content of your CV should be clearly sectioned. The easiest way to do this is in a table in your word processor where you can merge cells, hide certain lines and colour lines easily.
The sections should be;
> Headshot (probably not necessary if you're sending a full 10x8 as well).
> Name & Information.
> Credits - separated by category, Feature Film, Short Film, TV, Commercial, Stage.
> Skills & Accents (depending on how many, they may come under separate sections).
This should be a small version of your headshot placed at the top of the page. The absolute maximum is 10cm x 8cm - the bigger it is the less room you'll have for credits. It should fit in with the style of the page, so will probably be the same height as the 'Information' table.
Name & Information.
This should all go at the top of the page, probably alongside your mini headshot.
Your name - usually bold or in a slightly bigger font, but only if it fits with the style of the page.
Information should include your agent's contact details or your personal phone and email address if you represent yourself at the moment.
Don't forget your Spotlight/Casting Call Pro link.
It's also good to put your height, eye colour, hair colour and native accent.
Depending on what kind of actor you are depends in what order you put each category. Obviously if you don't have any TV credits then don't put a 'TV' heading with a blank space - leave it out completely.
Put a small title saying 'Feature Film', 'Stage' etc and detail the year, the name of your character, the title of the piece, the name of the director and the name of the production company. All of that information relates to each credit and should fit on 1 or 2 lines across the width of the page - tables are an easy way to keep every thing in line. The order of your credits is up to you but most people advise putting your biggest credits first, in which case you might leave the year column out.
Depending on how many credits you have and how long ago it was, depends on whether you should put a training section on your CV. As you build up more credits for the top half of the page you'd usually knock your older credits/training off the bottom of the page.
If you detail your training, put the year, course, qualification and the name of the institution.
Skills & Accents.
List any relevant skills you have. Your 100m swimming badge from primary school isn't relevant. But if you can play an instrument, hold a special license or speak different languages, then note them down. You should only put down things that you can actually do and are prepared to do if put on the spot - if you've put down 'Grade 5 Trumpet' and the casting director suddenly hands you a trumpet in an audition, you'd better be able to play it to a grade 5 level!
The one thing your CV shouldn't contain is spelling mistakes! Make sure you check titles of credits and, more importantly, director and production company names!