CV Help For Performers

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We know a lot of performers are not sure of what to put on CVs when applying for slots on bills so we thought we’d put our heads together and share what we like to see on an application for Bluestocking Lounge shows – and hopefully you performers out there will find some of it useful! 

Firstly, don’t forget your performer name and contact details! You’d be surprised at the performers who forget this info..
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It’s useful to have all the information on one sheet, expanding to a second if you need to. Don’t go into reams and reams as this will make you look unprofessional and bore the person reading it. As space may be a premium, make sure you fill it with concise and essential info, not rambling descriptions. And include ACTUAL FACTS, obvious we know, but remember producers are a savvy lot who do their research before spending money on an act and will know if there’s a false statement, performing fact, etc.
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Include a small sentence that describes you as a performer / your style – for instance our resident performer Lilly Laudanum’s is ‘Making the historical hysterical’ as that’s what she does! which leads us nicely to…
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…Never (ever!) make any false claims, eg “the best in the West”, “an AMAZING performer who will blow you away”, the “most fabulous” – and one we seem to get a lot: “bringing burlesque to a new audience” (really?) etc… This is the fastest way to put off producers who receive a lot of CVs from performers they’ve never heard of making these claims. Besides, in this day and age of marketing, there are certain laws on how you can describe your ‘product’ and making a false selling point is actually against the law. If you can’t live up to your own hype, don’t write it. Be truthful (don’t forget a producer may be watching a number of video clips at any one time and your claims will be compared to others…) BUT if you’ve been given that title from the media by all means put it on your cv – and here’s the crucial part – list it as a quote.
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Performance experience. This could include any prior experience – ie if you’ve been acting / dancing / singing etc – for many years before hand you might want to note this but as a side note, always be honest about your experience. For example, if you’ve been performing for 8 years and have 2 years burlesque experience, note it down as that, not ‘X performer has 10 years stage experience’ as it could be very misleading.
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Information on your acts – brief description, songs used (helpful to promoters when planning bills so no acts clash-music-wise), a pic of the act and a video link if possible.
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Fees (with expected travel expenses listed in the email). At Bluestocking, we generally don’t book acts who we have to chase for this information. And please, expenses should be sensible, not run into hundreds of £s, producers are often working on a budget and cannot pay people to be helicoptered in from afar!
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A selection of shows you’ve done (it’s best to put the most high profile rather than low-key shows as the producer may use these to gauge your calibre) and don’t be tempted to list all the shows you’ve ever done – no one wants to wade through a massive and dull list of dates.
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Quotes! if you’ve got a quote from promoters who have booked you before/ any press quotes/ quotes from vaguely famous people (!) pop them on the bottom of your CV crediting the person/establishment who has stated them BUT don’t be tempted to put quotes from your friends/audience members/fellow performers unless they are very respected in the industry. AND keep it to one sentence. No one wants to read a load of actual reviews.
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“Trained by”. Some performers love to take a page for this kind of information. Yes, you’ve taken an hour-long fan dance workshop with a prominent performer, you’ve done X Headliner’s bump and grind workshop and you’ve also had a two-hour posing and peeling session with an international performer. You had fun in that hour-or-so, but can you really call this “trained by”? The answer is no, not really. Training is hard work – training is literally training your brain or body to do something it is not used to. Training means taking hours to perfect a movement (can you really say that about an hour long class, unless you’ve put hours of effort into learning the tips you picked up in a workshop and have had extra sessions with the workshop leader to correct/check up on your progress?).  “Trained by” implies that you have attended courses and classes – if this is the case, then do put them down. Also, had private mentoring/classes from another well-educated and renowned performer. If this is also the case, pop this down too.
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With general acting CVs most performers add the ‘vital’ statistics but we do not feel that this info is vital at all, the most important part for us is knowing a performer can perform well, no matter what their measurements, and entertain an audience so this means video links and pic are a must.
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One thing that really puts off show producers are emails with little or no information on written in text slang (yes, people really do apply for jobs this way!) with no proven record of performances. The golden rule is make your application for a show as professional as it can be with as many links to your best work as possible, in the most concise and attractive way you can. Good luck!
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One thought on “CV Help For Performers

  1. Pingback: It’s a ‘no’ From Us… Dealing With Rejection | Bluestocking Lounge

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