So, today’s question is going to be a good question actually, they all are actually.
“What should you write in a cover letter that won’t make you sound like a green newbie?” Some of you are asking, “What’s a green newbie?”
If you don’t know what a green newbie is, a ‘newbie’ is a newcomer, someone brand spanking new. They might not have even ever been on set before. They certainly haven’t taken very many acting classes. And green means lack of experience.
So, the question of how not to sound green in a cover letter. You sound green immediately as soon as you start talking about the dream you have as an actor. Listen, I know you have a dream, agents and managers know you have a dream, but we are business people.
All Actors Dream of Getting a Big Role
It’s like going to a bank for a job interview and talking about your dream. “I always dreamed of being a bank teller. Since I was a kid, I’ve just wanted it with all my heart and I just love bank telling. And if I could just get a chance, if someone would just, please give me a chance to be a bank teller…” Nobody talks like that in a professional interview. And you shouldn’t talk like that in a cover letter to an agent or manager either.
But here’s the problem; because acting is a profession of the heart and it’s a profession of deep passion and actors sacrifice everything to follow this dream, when they write a cover letter, a lot of times new actors want people to know that’s how important it is to them. That’s how important it is. But we don’t make decisions about actors we signed based on that conversation.
As important as that is to you, that is not what fuels our decisions. Our decisions are determined completely by how much training have you had, what headshots are you providing me to use to submit you with? And what acting clips are you giving me to submit to casting? That’s it. I know you want to be an actor. I got it. You all have a dream? We all have dreams. I got it. What are we going to really make happen? Can I literally sign you today and start sending your headshots and acting clips to casting tomorrow?
Your Cover Letter Should Convey The Information They’re Looking For
That’s what we’re looking for in a cover letter. So, the cover letter would say, “Hi, my name is Wendy Alane Wright. I play a social worker, a lawyer, a PTA mom, nurse cop, characters that are really fiery and very energetic and passionate, loud and gregarious with a compassionate and authentic, honest essence. I’m training at Amy Linden Studios. Attached are 10 head shots that match my types and acting clips that match those types as well.”
And then I give them the link to Actors Access which should have my headshots and I also give them a link to each clip on YouTube and I label it ‘nurse, mother, teacher, lawyer’, whatever. And I say, “I would love to meet with you if you think I could be a fit on your roster. Thank you for your consideration. Have a wonderful day.” That’s simple. We don’t need the story.
They’re Looking for Proof You Can Act - Not Your Story
I need the proof that you can act and the materials that I can submit you with. Anything else is a pipe dream by a newbie who doesn’t understand the business. I’m just telling you like it is, straight up because that’s what I do. Straight up honesty. So, your best bet for success in this business is to get the best training you possibly can and train your ass off so that you’re so good that we can’t say no, that when we watch your clip, we think, “Oh my God, that actor.” And it doesn’t mean you’re everybody’s taste.
I’ve said the story before my dad thinks Mariah Carey sings like a yo-yo and the same with Anita baker and he hates Barbara Streisand. He thinks she’s too harsh on the ear. Three of the most beloved singers of all time. Everybody isn’t going to like them. People are not all going to like you. Everybody isn’t going to like your acting, everybody isn’t going to want you in their series, but your fans will. The casting directors that really like you are going to keep bringing you in over and over and over again.
And the managers and the agents that really get you are going to want to sign you and work with you. But first you have to understand this business and get yourself. You have to know what kind of roles you play the best. What is your emotional range? How crazy can you be or angry can you be or loving can you be or sexy can you be? Where are your boundaries?
You know that by taking acting classes that push you past your comfort zone. The things you see on TV are hard to do. They’re hard to do and you need training to do them. So, if you’re serious about acting and your training, your resume will show that.
Your cover letter will be a professional conversation that says “I am serious about acting” and you don’t say it, you show it by having all of your materials. And that’s how you stand out to agents and managers. And that’s how you make your cover letter not look like a green newbie.