How to Ready a Resume for an Animal Actor

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How to Ready a Resume for an Animal Actor

Resumes for animal actors need to be as well prepared as the ones for their human co-stars. Whilst our 4 legged friends might not be familiar with formal job applications, it is a necessary step they must take to be featured on film or TV.

resume for animal actor

We all remember breakout animal performers like the dog from the Artist, or Tardar Sauce (aka. Grumpy Cat). Casting agents are always looking for the next big thing to include in their productions.

Obviously, a pet performer will need a little help getting their career on track as they may struggle to type on a keyboard themselves. In this article, we’ll show you what you can do to help your animal actor get the part with a complete and optimized resume for an acting animal.

Paws for Thought: What Needs to Go Into the Perfect Animal Actor Resume?

An animal’s resume can seem less impactful than a conventional example, yet it is still a professional document. It is still accessed in the same way by a recruiter and needs to convey the information they want to see.

acting animal resume

Explain The Identifiable Features of Your Pet Performer

An animal candidate can be quite different from a human one. Yet you will still need some resume features you’d usually expect.

First of all, you’ll need to remember to include a point of contact. That way any casting directors or agents can get in touch with you if they like what they see from the resume. This can be done by listing an email address, telephone number or website contact, or a mix of all three.

Additionally, you’ll need to include some defining features about your animal. You should remember to give information about:

  • The type of animal you’re advertising
  • Breed
  • Age
  • Coat color
  • Size
  • Weight

Normally on regular professional resumes, this information may be left out as it would usually be considered discriminatory. Acting roles (especially when animals are needed) are a little different though, given the need to fill very specific requirements regarding appearance.

Follow the Examples of Human Actors’ Resumes

An animal actor resume will have a lot in common with a conventional actor resume. With a few differences of course given the non-human nature of your candidate.

You’ll need to organize your star performer’s experience like a regular actor’s profile. Arrange each professional film, TV, or publishing credit in its own grouped subsection and list each appearance in each medium in reverse chronological order.

Naturally, if your professional pet has earned awards or prizes for its obedience or ability to perform you should include an extra section on this.

However, unlike most human resumes a good photo should be included. As your pet is an acting animal the casting agent will want to see what their appearance is like to know if they’d be a good fit for the role. It also helps to include a few professional action shots of your performer too.

Skills that Do the “Trick”

The skills section of an acting animal resume will be quite different from the one used for a normal job. Having skills like attention to detail or strategic skills won’t wash here.

Instead, use the section to list the tricks that your animal can perform. There are, however, a few important soft skills that you should also list like their ability to patiently wait or the ability to remain calm in bustling environments.

Tip-off the Casting Agent About Your Animal’s Training

Normally resumes feature an education section as standard. This should still be the case for your professional animal.

Working animals must be well trained otherwise they will simply be passed over by the recruiter. Therefore the education section of an animal actor resume is absolutely critical.

Obedience courses or bespoke film training programs should be listed comprehensively in this section. You should name the qualification title, the year of completion, and the name of the training institution.

Reveal a Little About Your Pet’s Character

Animals have their own distinct personalities and that can affect how they perform on set. Therefore it helps to give the casting agent some clues about the sort of character your performance animal has.

What Makes a Great Acting Animal?

Acting animals are normally chosen for their ability to follow instructions and their temperament. Almost any species can be used on film, however, the most commonly used examples used in modern Hollywood include:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Exotic birds
  • Horses
  • Chickens
  • Goats

This is by far an exhaustive list, however. Almost any animal can be put to use in the film and TV world from small insects up to large exotic animals.

Is Animal Acting Ethical?

As anyone who has seen Tiger King on Netflix can attest, the use of animals for performances and human entertainment has a somewhat bad reputation. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that most professional animals today are under the thumb of a Joe Exotic-type.

A lot of casting agents are wary of this association and given the mistreatment that exotic animals have experience in the past. Today, when picking a performance pooch or casting cats, welfare is often taken into consideration.

A response to this has been to the increasing use of CGI to portray animals on film. Nevertheless, on some occasions living breathing animals are still preferred for these roles. When this is the case, however, important animal care standards are normally met.

State animal cruelty laws where the filming is taking place will normally rule over the treatment of animals appearing on camera. Additionally, film crews will have to adhere to the Federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in order to legally work with animals.

“Never work with children or animals” is often said in the acting world. However, by creating a strong animal actor resume, you’ll alleviate some of the fears that directors and casting agents have about bringing non-human performers on set.

ResumeCoach can help you prepare to take the next step in your career. Our resume builder takes you step-by-step through all the essentials to help you prepare a job-winning document in minutes.