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A Top Agent's View on Resumes

May 06, 2014

Need some advice about your resume and headshot. Take a look at some from talent agent, Mitchell Gossett.

The Senior Vice President of multiple divisions including Picture/Television at CESD (Cunningham, Escott, Slevin & Doherty), Mitchell is one of the most respected agents in the business. He has guided the careers of some of the biggest names in show business, including Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, and Taylor Lautner.

Mitchell attended the Children In Film Speaker Series Event in 2011 as a special guest. Here, CIF members learned what Mitchell looks for in photos and resumes, where he finds new talent, and his thoughts on Student Films and Short Films.  He also discussed acting classes and gave us plenty more advice about making it big in Hollywood.

We caught up with Mitchell again, to see if his advice still holds true. Check it out!

Regarding Resumes:
  • Resumes should ONLY EVER be one page
  • Keep your special skills short and sweet. You do not need three paragraphs
  • Don't use words like "SAG Eligible". It simply draws attention to the fact that you aren't in SAG
  • At this age and experience level no one is expecting you to have a full resume
  • Pick the best from your list of work experience.  It will gain more notice than a lengthy list
  • If under the age of 8, list any/all on-set employment (that are legitimate, paid roles). It shows you've had a taste of what it means to work on set
Regarding Pictures:
  • Your headshots MUST look like you
  • Mitchell prefers non-smiling shots. This is simply his preference
  • You should have two contrasting shots available, but the contrast doesn't have to be limited to one smiling and one not
Regarding Student Films and Short Films:
  • Student films are unpredictable as far as the type of experience it provides for actors
  • Short films do not necessarily  need to be named "short films.” List them under films/experience
  • Don't name the director unless it is a known name.  Pull out the item that confirms the film’s legitimacy. Consider naming the production company
Regarding Classes and Connections:
  • Tell everyone you know about your dreams and goals.  Don't keep it a secret.  Make connections wherever you can
  • Classes are necessary and there are legitimate showcases out there that are helpful in order to get face-time with casting directors. Do your research!
Regarding Searching for New Talent:
  • Top agencies, like United Talent Agency, do not take on new talent who need development on a regular basis. You must work up to the top
  • Every once in a while, but hardly ever from Los Angeles, Mitchell will take on someone new to the scene. His experienced lens allows him to recognize rare and raw talent
  • If it is easy to get an agent, usually, that’s a red flag. Yes, there are exceptions but, generally, securing representation takes time, commitment, and effort
  • Mitchell DOES NOT scout for new talent in Los Angeles. He travels to other cities to find talent that bring diverse backgrounds and experiences to the table
Mitchell is returning as a Speaker Series Guest on July 9th! 

CLICK HERE to learn more and RSVP.