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Acting Cover Letter Example

Use this Acting cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Acting positions in 2022. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Acting Cover Letter Example
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Perhaps no other field requires as much self-promotion as acting does. You need good headshots, a great resume, and ideally your own website, with links to clips of your work. But if you want to be famous, a star of the screen, you’re going to need something in between. And that’s an outstanding cover letter.

With a small number of jobs and a huge pool of candidates, it’s your challenge to make an irresistible pitch to employers looking for actors. You will need a great, in-depth resume, but you’ll also need a dazzling cover letter.  Resume.io is here to help, with resources that include more than 180 occupation-specific writing guides, supported by cover letter examples.

What you’re reading now is a guide onto how to create one for acting, along with an acting cover letter example. What we’ll cover here:

and what you’re reading now is a guide to how to create one. What we’ll cover here:

  • Actor's pay and job outlook
  • Why a cover letter is a crucial part of any job application
  • How a cover letter is structured and organized
  • How to write each component of a cover letter: header, introduction, body, conclusion and sign-off
  • Cover letter writing psychology
  • How to avoid potentially fatal mistakes in writing and formatting
  • Why it’s best to start with a professional cover letter template.
How to write a cover letter - expert guide [2022]
Related article
How to write a cover letter - expert guide [2022]

Here is exactly how you can write a cover letter that will stand out from the crowd, and help you land that interview.

About acting 

It’s been said that the most important quality in an actor is honesty, and if you can fake that, you’ve got it made. But it’s a steep uphill climb to becoming a successful actor. The job is not as easy as it looks, the competition is intense, and you’re at a big disadvantage if you don’t have the right connections.

Still, all actors got their start somewhere. Harrison Ford played a few bit parts in the 1960s, but he found he could make a better living as a carpenter. It wasn’t until he was 35 years old that he was cast as Han Solo in “Star Wars” — a part turned down by Al Pacino and Christopher Walken.

Pay and job outlook

Acting can be an avenue to mind-boggling wealth — Jerry Seinfeld, for one, is said to be worth $860 million, in part from being paid $1 million per episode of his hit TV show “Seinfeld.” But for every Seinfeld, there are tens of thousands of would-be actors waiting tables and auditioning for roles that don’t even pay.

The median pay for working actors in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, was just $21.88 an hour. That’s hardly a path to a mansion in Beverly Hills, but you could live on it.

Fortunately, the job outlook is very encouraging, with 32% growth expected between 2020 and 2030. In 2020, there were 51,600 acting jobs in the United States, with 16,700 more expected by 2030. As a comparison, in the same time and place there were 813,900 lawyers!

Why actors need a cover letter

If there are any actors out there who don’t have big personalities, they probably aren’t getting much work. This is not a field for wallflowers or shrinking violets. Good actors are larger-than-life characters, brimming with enthusiasm, passion and talent. 

An actor's cover letter is your way to capture on paper your biggest asset, the force of your personality. Writing a good cover letter is an exercise in creativity, and hopefully that’s one of your longest long suits. 

A strong resume is also essential, but a resume can be a somewhat dry recitation of past achievements and job skills. A cover letter, on the other hand, is a personal appeal to another human being who has the power to offer you a job. It’s like an audition in writing.

Here are some of the purposes of a cover letter:

  • To establish a personal connection to a casting director or other hiring manager
  • To highlight your experience, skills and qualifications for the job
  • To convey a sense of your personality, passion and sense of humor
  • To convince your target that they need to call you in for an interview or audition.

A cover letter should be one page only — 200 to 400 words of rich, original, colorful writing that makes the reader say, “I’ve got to meet this person.”

Even gardeners and grill cooks need cover letters, and in fact, with very few exceptions, every job application should include a cover letter. For actors, who are valued for their originality and creativity, a cover letter is absolutely crucial because the very way you write it is a demonstration of your “voice” and your personality. And those are direct reflections of your qualifications for the job.

Having said that, there are some employers that don’t want to receive a cover letter, or perhaps their job application website doesn’t allow you to upload one. In such cases you have no choice but to leave it out. However, if you have the option of sending an email to your target, there’s no rule that says your email can’t fulfill the basic functions of a cover letter.

Acting - Cover letter builds on the right structure
Cover letter builds on the right structure

Best format for an acting cover letter

Every screenplay has a structure — for example, the classic three-act formula of set-up, conflict and resolution. Cover letters also have a structure, and you ignore it at your peril. 

Here are the basic elements:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting
  • The introduction
  • The letter body
  • The conclusion
  • The signature / sign-off

Below is an acting cover letter example that you can customize for the position and hiring organization.

Adaptable cover letter example

Re: Acting role

18 July, 2020

Dear Mrs. Fletcher,

Having performed in London’s West End for the past eight years in Wicked, Mamma Mia and The Lion King, on moving to New York, it is my life’s ambition to appear on Broadway.

I understand that you are considering a few changes in the Wicked cast and I would like to throw my witches hat into the ring. I played Nessarose for two seasons and was the Elphaba standby actor for 18 months. I would love to play Elphaba’s half-sister again with you.

I attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School and after my first appearance in a cereal commercial at age 9, I have been acting ever since. I completed a one-year Musical Theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music and went into my first role in the ensemble and swing crew of Mamma Mia.

Performing in the Lion King at the wonderful Lyceum Theatre in Covent Garden was my breakthrough first role as Rafiki. The contrast between the eccentric and selfless mandrill and the self-centerd and bitter witch Nessarose could not be bigger, but both roles serve to present the protagonists in the best light.

I have tens of press cuttings praising my Nessa performances and I would love to send you a show tape with some of my favorite moments. I am not sure that Boq will love me on Broadway any more than he loved me at the Apollo, but I live in vain hope.

I will be in New York for the duration of September and hope for the chance to audition for your wonderful production. I promise that it will be a magical experience.

Sincerely,

Deanna Smith

Copied!

Let’s look at the desired ingredients for each cover letter component.

Cover letter header

If you could put only two words at the top of a page of your head shots, what would they be? Your name! 

The purpose of the header (formerly called a letterhead) is to lead with your name and contact info, including address, phone and email. For obvious reasons, you want to make it easy for employers to figure out how to contact you. 

Your cover letter may be unorthodox in many ways, but it’s still a business letter. It’s not an email where your contact info is unimportant because your correspondent can just hit “Reply.” Your letter may be printed out or forwarded to a team of decision makers, and there should be no mystery about how to get in touch with you. Your name should generally be the first and largest element on the page. You’re not in the business of selling widgets, you’re in the business of selling yourself.

Headers also give you the opportunity to be creative with design and display. You may opt for a photo, a splash of color or other elements that will offset the blocks of black text below and give your letter an eye-pleasing look. Don’t overlook the importance of white space within and below the header, giving the reader some breathing room and creating a sense of visual balance.

Expert tip

It’s important to use the same fonts, font sizes, formatting and overall design in your resume and your cover letter. 

You don’t want to send a resume in Helvetica, using boldface for emphasis and red accent colors, with a cover letter written in Arial that uses italics for emphasis and green accent colors. 

Like the phantom twin girls in “The Shining,” your resume and cover letter should be a visual match. If your recipient looks at your resume and cover letter side by side, it should be obvious that these were prepared by the same person. It shows that you’re organized, you pay attention to detail, and you’ve put some thought into creating a visual brand, a look and feel unique to you.

Aim of the cover letter header: Create a striking visual impression off the top with your name and contact information, distinctively original but matched to your resume design.

Cover letter greeting

This is the line in your actor's cover letter that says “Dear Mr. (or Ms.) Xxxxxx,” or some variation thereof. Given your field, you may opt for a more creative way of addressing your recipient, but beware of being too wacky.  

It’s almost always best to address an individual by name in your greeting, and naturally you want to identify the appropriate person, spell the name correctly and get the gender right. People like to see their own names in print, and it shows good initiative and attention to detail on your part if you’ve gone to the trouble to figure out who needs to be reading your letter.

If your web searches can’t determine the name of the main decision maker, it may be worth calling the company to inquire. But some casting directors prefer to remain anonymous behind the scenes. If that’s the case, respect their wishes and find a way to address your greeting to a broader team.

Aim of the cover letter greeting: Establish a direct personal connection with the casting director or anyone else needing to read your letter, addressing that person by name if possible.

Here’s the greeting from our acting cover letter sample.

Adaptable cover letter greeting example

Dear Mrs. Fletcher,

Copied!

Cover letter introduction

Open with an attention-grabbing paragraph of one or two sentences that state your job objective and offer some opening hints about your qualifications to knock this role out of the ballpark. Since you’re in the drama business, make it dramatic. For any actor, the cardinal sin is to be boring, so use language that’s bold, energetic, confident and intriguing.

Aim of the cover letter introduction: Your opening lines are so captivating that the reader is compelled to continue on.

Here’s an introduction idea from our acting cover letter sample.

Adaptable cover letter introduction

Having performed in London’s West End for the past eight years in Wicked, Mamma Mia and The Lion King, on moving to New York, it is my life’s ambition to appear on Broadway.

I understand that you are considering a few changes in the Wicked cast and I would like to throw my witches hat into the ring. I played Nessarose for two seasons and was the Elphaba standby actor for 18 months. I would love to play Elphaba’s half-sister again with you.

Copied!

Cover letter body 

Movies sometimes start with 10 minutes of action — think “Rocky” or any James Bond movie — but screenwriters say you soon reach a point where you need to “start the engine” of your story. This needs to happen in the body of your actor's cover letter, which consists of two or three central paragraphs where you make your primary pitch. 

You might focus the first part of the body on your experience — for example, your education and training, the roles you’ve played, the plaudits you’ve received. Use facts and figures wherever possible, reporting how long your play ran, the budget of your big commercial, or whatever else is appropriate. 

In the second part of the body, you can pivot to talking less about past accomplishments and more about your overall qualifications — your versatility, passion, humor, improvisation, voice talents and other skills that make you an outstanding actor.

Aim of the cover letter body: Showcase your acting successes in quantifiable terms, while pitching the attributes most likely to shine in the role you are seeking.

Our acting cover letter sample illustrates what you might include in the middle part.

Adaptable cover letter body paragraphs

I attended the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School and after my first appearance in a cereal commercial at age 9, I have been acting ever since. I completed a one-year Musical Theatre course at the Royal Academy of Music and went into my first role in the ensemble and swing crew of Mamma Mia.

Performing in the Lion King at the wonderful Lyceum Theatre in Covent Garden was my breakthrough first role as Rafiki. The contrast between the eccentric and selfless mandrill and the self-centerd and bitter witch Nessarose could not be bigger, but both roles serve to present the protagonists in the best light.

Copied!

Cover letter conclusion

Wrap up your actor's cover letter with an enthusiastic close that both summarizes what you’ve said before and issues a call to action. You would like to call the casting director next week, you would be delighted to be called for an audition, or you simply look forward to a reply. 

Let your target know that you consider yourself a serious candidate for the job and are eagerly anticipating a response. Make it hard for your correspondent to set your letter aside and never do anything about it.

Aim of the cover letter conclusion: End on a confident, optimistic note, stating or implying that you expect further contact with the casting director.

Below is the closing section of our acting cover letter example.

Copyable cover letter conclusion

I have tens of press cuttings praising my Nessa performances and I would love to send you a show tape with some of my favorite moments. I am not sure that Boq will love me on Broadway any more than he loved me at the Apollo, but I live in vain hope.

I will be in New York for the duration of September and hope for the chance to audition for your wonderful production. I promise that it will be a magical experience.

Copied!

Cover letter signature / sign-off

Sign off with a “Sincerely” or something similar, and type your name. You don’t need a physical signature unless you’re sending out a printed copy of your letter.

The psychology of writing persuasively

Writing is sometimes categorized as informative, entertaining or persuasive. The beauty of an actor’s cover letter is that it can be all three. You’re informing readers about your qualifications, entertaining them with your wit, and doing your best to persuade them that they absolutely have to meet you in person.

Never forget that you’re writing to a human being, and humans have both heads and hearts. You should find a mix between appealing to both the rational and the emotional components of your correspondent’s psyche. Some cover letters fail over a question of tone. Do you need a healthy ego to be an actor? Absolutely. Do you want to come across as arrogant, presumptuous and superior? Absolutely not.

Consider the employer you’re writing to, and consider your position relative to the project. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re writing to, and try to imagine how your pitch will be received. If you were the decision maker, would you want to hire the person who wrote this letter?

Acting - Cover letter errors to avoid
Cover letter errors to avoid

Cover letter errors to avoid

We all make mistakes. But please don’t make these:

  • Typos, misspellings and bad grammar and punctuation. Sloppiness is not an attractive quality in any occupation, and errors in English are often cited as the top disqualifier for resumes and cover letters. If you’re not a great writer, find someone who is to edit your letter.
     
  • Clichés, word bloat and fluff. Possibly the most timeworn cover letter cliché ever is “I am writing to….” But if your correspondent is reading a letter that you have obviously written, then why would you need to say you are writing? Avoid clichés, as the joke goes, “like the plague.” One simple (though not easy) test is to write a letter that doesn’t contain any language you’ve ever read anywhere else.
     
  • Irrelevant braggadocio about how you’re so interesting. Do you want to personalize your pitch by saying you have a killer Ping-Pong serve and you love Rocky Road ice cream? Who cares? As an actor, you have a fair amount of leeway to promote your distinctive personality, but never forget that your objective is to convince the recipient of your letter that you are a great actor, not that you’ve built a replica of Noah’s ark out of toothpicks in your garage.
     
  • A file format nobody can read. In researching this guide, we stumbled across some advice that said, and we quote: “5. Proofread your résumé.” Say … what? Now, it’s true that the word “resume” is sometimes spelled with accents on the E’s: résumé. But between the writer and the publishing system, this word was turned into garble that totally undermined the writer’s point. This is an unforgivable breakdown in fonts and formatting, and you obviously can’t afford to make an error like this. And even worse, you may submit a cover letter using your preferred text editor and file format on your old computer that your recipient can’t even open.
Expert tip

Use a professional cover letter template

The best way to sidestep any errors in fonts, formatting or file types is to use a professional cover letter template like those we offer at resume.io. How big should your margins be? What fonts should you use? How much white space do you need? And how do you save and send the document?

Key takeaways for an actor's cover letter

  1. Some actors are capable of generating fabulous wealth, but the median income for this profession in the U.S. is less than $22 an hour. You've chosen a field that's exceptionally competitive, even though the 10-year job growth forecast is robust. So you need a superior pitch to stand out from the crowd.
  2. An outstanding resume and cover letter are your ticket to the ball, and you need to follow the guidelines for how to prepare these correctly.
  3. Learn the structure and components of a cover letter and follow them.
  4. Never be mundane, never be boring, and use an appropriate tone that showcases your creativity without ever crossing a line into arrogance.
  5. Use the field-tested cover letter templates and builder tool at resume.io, along with sample cover letters and professional guidance, to help find your own happy ending.

If you’re looking for additional inspiration for cover letter writing, you can check out some of our other cover letter examples and guides:

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Stand out and get hired faster with our collection of free cover letter templates expertly-designed to land you the perfect position.
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Build your cover letter in minutes
Build your cover letter in minutes
Stand out and get hired faster with our collection of free cover letter templates expertly-designed to land you the perfect position.
Create Cover Letter

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