Tips and Websites to Make the Perfect Acting Portfolio

Acting Portfolio
Created by CakeResume

Whether you’ll be paid for the roles you’re applying for, take it seriously and professionally when it comes to application. In most cases, an acting portfolio is required when submitting to a casting call, presenting your proudest work front and center, and showing if you’re the best fit for the role opening. A high-quality portfolio for an actor/actress often includes a headshot and detailed resume as well as a reel. 

No matter if you’re a big star or do not have much experience yet, putting together a strong online acting portfolio can help casting directors and other professionals in the industry get to know you better, and in turn create many job opportunities in the future. 

This article will show you how to create a great acting portfolio for beginners and also professionals!

What Is an Acting Portfolio?

Let's look deeper into a professional-looking acting portfolio – what it looks like and what it consists of. 

An acting portfolio gives casting directors an informative overview of your appearance, style, personality, and acting skill. Without one, you’ll likely fail to land auditions as they have no idea about who you are, how you look like, and which shots or movies you’ve joined the cast. 

While an acting resume simply provides written information, an online acting portfolio can be deemed as a multimedia presentation of your resume. All details on the web page are displayed in different forms based on how you design your acting portfolio.

Below are 3 key components of a portfolio for acting:

  1. Professional headshot: A professionally-done portrait with a focus on the upper half part of the body.
  2. Acting resume: Briefly provides information about educational background, skills, achievements, and employment history in the industry. 
  3. Reel: A short-form video to show off your acting talent. It's best to keep it shorter than 1 minute. 

How to Make a Portfolio for Acting

Step 1: Get a professional headshot.

Make sure it has high resolution and shouldn't be different from what you currently look like. Casting directors refer to the headshot when selecting candidates during the audition, shows, or rehearsals. Thus, the more recent the photo, the better. Also, avoid using selfies or casual photos of you such as driving a fancy car or partying with your friends. 

Step 2: Attach your resume.

The information listed on your acting resume should be tailored to match the role opening, which can’t be fully presented on an acting portfolio. Besides that, it covers your educational background and employment history in the industry, allowing the casting department to get a taste of what kind of roles you’re capable of. 

Step 3: Create a reel.

You can upload directly your reels to your online acting portfolio or share the link to your videos. If you want to publicize your reels, have a professional editor cut the best scenes to highlight your talent.

If you choose the latter option, make sure that other people can watch your reels without any restrictions on relevant platforms such as Youtube or Vimeo.

Step 4: Choose a medium (physical or digital).

There’s no right or wrong answer in terms of which medium is the best for your acting portfolio. Where and how to publish your acting portfolio mostly depends on the casting department’s requirements. However, a digital/online acting portfolio is likely to be preferred nowadays as people can watch your reels easily and simply click on links to access further details. 

Step 5: Include contact information and social media.

How can casting directors reach out to you if you pass the 1st round? 

Make sure all of your contact information is included and up-to-date. It’s also important to provide your social media accounts in case they want to know more about you, in terms of following and online presence.

Acting Portfolio Examples

Acting Portfolio Example #1: Eileen Grubba

The bright shade of coral and Eileen’s smile bring a sense of confidence, positive energy, and enthusiasm, hinting at her personality. The main tab displays her contact information and major professional fields, including writing (Press), speaking, and consulting. Right below the self-introduction is a testimonial and outstanding awards she has gained, which leaves a great impression on on-site visitors.

Acting portfolio website by Eileen Grubba
Acting portfolio website by Eileen Grubba

Acting Portfolio Example #2: Sierra Boggess

Actress Sierra Boggess’s online acting portfolio greets you with a unique backdrop - a video of her writing a self-introduction. This creative design could be effective for attracting the visitors’ attention right from the get-go.

Acting portfolio website by Sierra Boggess
Acting portfolio website by Sierra Boggess

Acting Portfolio Example #3: Li Peiyun

With everything presented in one place, Li’s acting portfolio allows casting directors and other professionals to go through her works easily. They can also click the thumbnail to see more details about that project and her role. 

Actor portfolio on CakeResume by Li Peiyun
Actor portfolio on CakeResume by Li Peiyun

Voice Acting Portfolio Example #4 - David O’Leary

Simple design, readable fonts, and comprehensibility are the most characteristic features of David’s voice acting personal website. It also brings together dynamic footage, demo reels, and former clients, helping demonstrate his skills fully as an experienced voice-over professional. 

Voice acting portfolio by David O’Leary
Voice acting portfolio by David O’Leary

Voice Acting Portfolio Example #5 - Allan Gilmore

This particular voice acting portfolio sample conclusively proves how the website itself can manifest the artist’s character - creative, artistic, dynamic, and cheerful. The page is designed particularly for commercial purposes by putting Allan Gilmore’s voice acting samples and contact information at the top of the site. 

Voice acting portfolio by Allan Gilmore
Voice acting portfolio by Allan Gilmore

Acting Portfolio Websites

Now, another important step in your acting portfolio creation process is to choose the most suitable platform to create your portfolio. Here, we have listed 3 websites/platforms to create an online acting portfolio for beginners and professionals alike!

1. CakeResume

If you’re looking to make an acting portfolio for beginners, CakeResume is a great tool. It requires zero knowledge in coding or high tech to use and offers a variety of user-friendly tools.

You can easily make your own portfolio for acting and modeling in just 15 minutes with the following key features: 

  • Attach your digital acting resume created by CakeResume on the same web page. 
  • Create multiple portfolios.  
  • Organize your works and projects in a grid, which is convenient for visitors to view your online acting portfolio.

Pros:

  • Suitable to create an acting portfolio for beginners. 
  • Easy to use for low-tech professionals. 
  • Casting directors can easily view the resume. 

Cons:

  • Limit the size of file uploads (less than 5MB).
  • Unable to upload videos, only embed with links. 

Having an online portfolio website is highly crucial in paving your career path as an actor/actress. With CakeResume’s online portfolio maker, you can create your very own online portfolio that showcases your true skills and creativity. Create your free acting portfolio now!

2. Wix

With Wix, you can take your portfolio for acting and modeling to another level. Here are some of the key features:

  • Design your website with artistic, handmade illustrations. 
  • Maximize content optimization. 
  • Track and analyze your site’s performance.

Pros:

  • Templates and photos for acting portfolios. 
  • Step-by-step guidelines, great for creating an acting portfolio for beginners.
  • Not required to purchase long-term plans.

Cons:

  • Require coding skills to create a professional acting portfolio. 
  • Many ads show up unless you pay for a monthly subscription.
  • Charge more than other acting portfolio websites.

3. WordPress

As a free, open-source website creation platform, WordPress stands out as one of the most popular acting portfolio websites. It is one of the most popular content management systems on the Internet.

Some key features of Wordpress are:

  • Add images, text, files, links, and embed media. 
  • Add news or articles.
  • Restore deleted page content before it is deleted permanently. 

Pros:

  • Provide thousands of professionally-designed acting themes for your website even with the free plan.
  • Many options and graphics for customization. 

Cons:

  • The tool requires basic programming knowledge and coding skills.
  • Might be a bit complicated to use compared to a simple online portfolio maker.

Tips for Creating a Great Acting Portfolio

💡 Participate in a local theater if you are creating an acting portfolio for beginners.

As a newbie in the industry, you may not have much to show in your portfolio. For this reason, participating in a local theater can help you gain more acting experience and expand your social circle. 

💡 Craft a strong bio. 

Think of this as the introduction about yourself that a casting director will feel impressed to read. In most cases, your professional bio doesn’t need to be formal, but concise, coherent, and most importantly, expresses yourself best. 

💡 Create a reel that shows the skills that the project requires.

To show that you’re the best fit, the demo reel on your acting portfolio should demonstrate the skills required for the project. Moreover, in the cover letter and resume, you should also specify what role you’re submitting for and what role(s) you think you are most comfortable with.

💡 Build your personal online presence. 

Your online presence is a particular form of personal branding, from which you can create invaluable benefits for both you and your career or business. Having a strong online profile can help you expose yourself to other professionals and experts and attract new opportunities in the industry. You can do it by using either your acting portfolio page or social media profiles. Let the posts and images say who you are and what you’re all about. 

💡 Include awards and honors.

“Prizes and awards speak for yourselves.” This is absolutely true when it comes to acting. Hence, including them in your acting portfolio can help you get a leg up on the competition. You can also consider placing them at the top to pique the casting team’s interest from the start.

💡 Make sure to double-check all the data.

When creating an online acting portfolio, you could find some common website bugs, or the data may be incorrect sometimes. Keep in mind to preview the web page before publishing it. If your acting portfolio is presented in other forms like videos, slideshow, word documents, make sure there are no typos or grammar mistakes. 

💡 Show relevant photos on acting portfolios

It’s a must to list out all of the roles you’ve played. However, don’t forget to also include some photos related to that show/movie. They can be a snapshot of your performance or a picture of you with other actors and the crew. 

💡 For voice acting portfolios: include a voice-over demo reel or samples of your work. 

Make sure the file has good quality so the casting director can hear your voice clearly. It's best to show it right at the top of your voice acting portfolio instead of sharing a link to your sample or attaching the file to the email.

🔑  Key Takeaways:

To sum up, there are some dos and don’ts that you need to keep in mind when making and submitting an acting portfolio. 

  • Use a professional-looking headshot.
  • Include a demo reel of your talent. 
  • Attach an acting resume. 
  • Provide your personal information and social media. 

A strong portfolio for acting can make you more “cast-able” in the eyes of the producer, casting director, and anyone else in the team. If you are not tech-savvy or don’t have much time, seek the help of acting portfolio websites like CakeResume, Wix, WordPress, etc. You can have your own online acting portfolio in just 15 minutes with a huge collection of templates and designs.

--- Originally written by May Luong ---

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