I’ve been all over 5150 workshoppers to create usable press packets. Or, Hell, just usable photos. With that in mind, it might be helpful if I spell out what should be in an artist’s press packet. So let’s do it yay!
RÉSUMÉ: A professional résumé lists out professional points:
PROJECTS: Projects both produced and unproduced — and separates projects by type, for example, mine separates film, plays, and books.
AWARDS: Any prizes or awards or placements in competitions you have won or placed in — that are industry related. Winning a trip to Hawaii at a car dealership does not count. Winning Nicholl does.
Don’t put dates on these. And, if the wins are placements not straight out wins? Don’t be too detailed. Say, Placed in such and such competition. “Placed in Nicholl” will always sound better than, “Semi-finalist 10 years ago in Nicholl.”
EDUCATION: If you have a university degree, that goes here. Normally no matter what kind of degree it is, it counts. Any additional programs or studying you have done with any groups or schools or recognized mentors related to the industry? Also goes here. If you have nothing? Leave it blank.
RELATED PROFESSIONAL or VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE: If you have been working for a festival or industry professional or organization in any capacity, paid or volunteer, that counts. In the early days, I couldn’t say I had won a bunch of competitions or had sold a script. It was the early days. I hadn’t done either. But I could say I was an AFI reader and a Sundance press liaison and a full time university film student. Those credits did not spell Oscar winner, but they did indicate I had some idea of what a script should look like, and some experience with film and the industry. All of which made me a better bet in terms of a read than the dry cleaning salesman from Des Moines.
If you don’t have credentials? Go out and make them happen. Then, list them.
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS: Any professional groups or affiliations go here. (On my CV, that means WGAw and when I was a member of the Dramatist’s Guild of America they were on there too. This does not mean you list that you are a regular forum poster on Done Deal. But if you are a member on The Black List? That might go here. Depending on your membership and what it means. Weigh things out. Think about affiliations. What, if you were the head of a studio or production company, would mean clout to you? Or at least more than no clout? At least, you might know what you are talking about and something about film?)
IN ADDITION TO THE BASIC RÉSUMÉ:
PHOTO: A decent head shot — or medium shot, or full shot. The plus to a decent full shot is, if it’s really good? And large enough? A head shot can be cropped straight out of it.
*Do not depend on others for crops, if you are going to the trouble to do solid photos and are not a graphic designer yourself, ask for close up, medium, and wide shots. If you rely on others for these crops things can go terribly wrong.
*It is a good idea to have a photo in both color and black and white. Given a choice between the two? Black and white will always look better.
*I did send a black and white photo to a place once though that handed it off to a truly horrible graphic designer who colorized it — in chunks and weird gold tones. Wow was that not pretty.
BIOGRAPHY: This is a colorful and interesting take on your past. But do this right.
Good biographies do not start out, The artist was born in this town in this county to Mary and Joseph Brown on this day in September in this year. That is a 1900 family bible entry.
Good biographies start out with something hell blazing and interesting in terms of career, or past. My biography can start out saying Daily Variety coined me “Red Hot Adams,” which it did and that’s a good trail blazer. Or it can start out I didn’t even know people got paid to write movies when I was twelve and digging worms for fisherman for twenty-five cents a pint. (Digging worms is not the most interesting lead in in the word, but it is hella more interesting than a date and time and county of birth.)
ARTIST STATEMENT: This is a short succinct statement that hopefully has voice that tells people reading it something about the writer personally that relates to the purpose and drive behind the writing and creative endeavors. If you don’t have a good one? Don’t include it. If you have a good one? It can be the difference between press and no press. If you don’t know whether it is bad or good? It’s probably bad cut it until you can tell the difference.
SHOWS & PERSONAL APPEARANCES: Has any of your work recently appeared? On screen? On stage? On the web? On the radio? On a bill board? Anywhere? Been featured on the internet? Are you appearing anywhere personally? These dates and events go in there.
PAST PUBLICITY: This is self explanatory. Have you had any press? In print or on the internet? Was it good press? Or at least interesting? Put it in there. Was it bad press that can appear interesting? Figure out a smart way to use that too. Do not be helpless here. Go out and get press. And use it. And save it. And list it.
CURRENT SHOWS: Is anything of yours about to hit right now? Or playing right now? On stage? On the internet? On the screen? Put that baby in there.
FUTURE SHOWS: Are there future appearances or presentations of your work on the horizon? List them.
PRESS RELEASES: Have any recent press releases gone out on you or your work? Put them in here. If they haven’t and you had press in the past and old press releases you did not save? Bad you, you should be saving and including those too.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Who should people contact? You? A representative? How do they contact that person? Or you? Put contact info in here. It doesn’t have to be a phone number. It can be a contact form on a blog. But people who want to reach you or your representation need some easy clickable or dial-able way to reach you. They won’t send mail by carrier pigeon.
WEBSITE: Always include a website url. There always should be a website, that includes most of or ALL of the information included in this press packet outline. If there isn’t a website? What is wrong with you? Go make one. Right now! Ahhh!
Don’t have a website? Create one.
Don’t know how? Get help.
Don’t want to? The person competing with you for a job won’t have that quandary and will get the job instead of you.
Go make that website count.
Here is mine: SeeMaxRun