The Cover Letter
Your cover letter, whether the body of an e-mail, the text on your personal homepage, or a print-out attached to your headshot, is one of the first things that casting directors, producers, directors, agents, choreographers, etc., will use to form their basic first impression of you, quite often even before they've met you. Therefore, it is imperative to your success that it sends the right kind of message about you. Whatever form this introductory letter takes, it should always be the following:
- Businesslike, but not too formal. Friendly is good. Disrespectful is bad. Avoid slang and the exclamation point, and don't ramble. Get right to the point. Thank them for their time.
- Proof read. There is never any excuse for spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. A sloppy writer means a sloppy performer.
- Professional. Please, please, don't list all the compliments anyone has ever given you. "My drama teacher says I'm an director's dream" will not help you land a role, and is really aggravating. They want to make their own impressions about you, not be told what everyone else thinks as if that means they should automatically think the same thing. Let them make their own judgments.
- Presentable. Always typed, but never in all capitals. Use a nice, easy to read font on nice, standard-sized paper.
- Informative. Make sure you always include name, address, and e-mail so they can contact you.
Don't know what to say?
- Tell them what your short-term goals are, but be specific. Don't say "I wanna be a star." Say, "I am especially interested in doing some more Shakespeare." This is especially helpful if the company actually produces Shakespeare plays frequently.
- Don't repeat your resume. They already have that.
- Remember that it doesn't have to be long and complicated. It's not a novel, just an introduction. Short and sweet is best. A casting director's time is very valuable.