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I Can Write, But I Can’t Write A Cover Letter

For some reason I have always reacted badly to requests for a cover letter when submitting my headshot/resume for a project. “Write a cover letter stating why you would like to work on this project and tell us something about yourself.” I would always stare and stare at this request and mentally freeze up. Then I would try to think of what I would HONESTLY say. Um ah, um ah,,.. How about:

Dear Filmmaker:
I would like this role because I really wanna role. You have a role. I need a role. Sounds like we are perfect for each other.
Thanks,
Cranky

No, no, no… How about:

Dear Filmmaker:
It is three o’clock in the afternoon and I haven’t left my house yet. The only thing I accomplished today is I trimmed my dog’s toe hairs. Oh, oh, and I got food delivered. It would be so nice to have something to do. Like your film for instance.
Waiting to hear from you,

Cranky

No, I don’t think so. What can I say?

Dear Filmmaker:
The three-word description of the plot of your film gave me chills. I was so inspired. Let’s put this inspiration on film.

With enthusiasm,
Cranky

That sucked. Um ah, or:

Dear Filmmaker:
I’m a really good actress. I am also a good person. And my friends think I am funny. My husband also used to think I was funny. It took him seventeen years to get bored and I’m sure we will finish this film quicker than that.

Laughing out loud,
Cranky

I never could get myself to send a cover letter. And now that I have seen cover letters that other actors wrote I know why. Here are some examples:

#1 – This one is really priceless. I’m pretty funny. But, I could never, never, never make this up:

Dear Filmmaker:
I believe I could show the tenderness and eroticism of the passion of the relationship as well as the fierceness of the violence of the character. During my many classes the subject of the duality of man was always a factor. People generally try to hide their feelings out of fear of rejection, and inside us all we have the animalistic forces of nature that we must battle to keep hidden – when we lose control all that we have bottled up will explode, the heat of the passion of the moment is careless to the regrets such actions will create. Through my Meiser training I have learnt to affect my co-star through a variety of emotions. Unfortunately, I haven’t been lucky enough to be in any plays or films. Now that I am one of the many unemployed I have all the time in the world to dedicate myself to this craft I love so much.
Henry

Way to go Henry. You haven’t been lucky enough to BE in any films. Nice. Sell yourself by telling them you’ve done zip so far and are a member of the mass unemployed. And misspell the name of your method – Meisner, my dear, MEISNER.

#2 – This is new. Very new. A genius name-dropping technique:

Dear Filmmaker:
I studied drama at Kenyon College. Kenyon College alums include Paul Newman, Allison Janney, Josh Radner and Jay Cocks.
Annie

#3-Must be a friend of Henry’s:

Dear Filmmaker:

I am interested in this film and would love to be a part of it. I don’t have a lot of experience, but I hope to change that.
Rick

#4-Proofreading really does help in life:

Dear Filmmaker:
Would love to audition for a role in Rain Puddle. I long to do a Horror or Horror/Fantasy film. Have been a major fan since I was a (really) young.
Becky

A really young what? Puppy?

#5-So interested he says it twice, well three times:

Dear Filmmaker:
think your film sounds very interesting.
I am very interested in this feature, sounds very exciting and challenging. I would love to be a part of it.
I would love to be part of this film, it sounds really cool!
Chris

#6-Another marketing revolution:

Dear Filmmaker:

I know how to act in front of the camera both on HD and also on 16mm real film, so I have had the experience of both takes.
Danny

I didn’t know there are special acting techniques for HD vs. film. And a “take” is the filming of a scene.

#7-Once again proofreading is important:

Dear Filmmaker:
I’m an Actor as well as a Singer/Songwriter so maybe a Director out there may want a Song wrote for their Film or someone to Sing in their Film and if so you can contact me here in personal message…
Albert

Not sure if this is who they would hire if they wanted a song wrote. If you read the above in a Southern/Appalachian accent it sounds better, hope he is a Country/Western singer.

#8-Unintentional potty humor:

Dear Filmmaker:
I will bring that darkness in emotion, the transition between innocent love and raw desire. That’s what I have to offer.

Everything that comes out of me is real. If you think this is something you want, let me know.
Martin

#9-Needs to go to Match.com:

Dear Filmmaker:

A little about myself – I’m an actor and classically trained singer (though have fun with all genres of music!) currently based in London. I speak French and Spanish, have an EU passport, and love to travel. I have recently been getting into more film work, though theatre will always be exciting and invigorating to me. Aside from acting/singing, I love reading books, drinking coffee, people watching, and having a good night out dancing.
I look forward to meeting you soon!
Jonathan

Forget about and acting job. Someone should snap this guy up and marry him.

#10-I’m at a loss for words:

Dear Filmmaker:
im not sure what i need to put here
the only acting experience i have is drama throughout high school
and the plays i cowrote in yr 11 and 12
but i hope im still given achance even with my lack of experience

dougy

#11-Also new. Auditions as credits:

Dear Filmmaker:

I am just starting to look for work as an actress as I’ve not long left college so have a lot of experience, though not professional at the moment. I do have a couple of auditions lined up though.

Ginny

#12-Also a creative approach: astrology as a selling point:

Dear Filmmaker:
I take myself and what I bring to a production quite seriously. Anything less makes the production less, and we cannot have that! As for what I can bring to this character, the only truly accurate way is to sum up my personality via my sign, the scorpio: determined, forceful, emotional, intuitive, passionate, magnetic, compulsive, obsessive, secretive.

Paul

All of the above proves that there is NOTHING logical or sensible to say in a cover letter about an acting job. It may seem like I am making fun of the people who wrote these letters, but really I sympathize with them. And admire them for trying, because whenever a cover letter was required, Cranky couldn’t do it. Knew she couldn’t do it and never even tried.
We need a movement to stamp out the cover letter. Asking actors to do this is considered cruel.
Watch my reel, read my resume, look at my picture. The end. If you wanna see if I can act, ask me to read. Do not ask me to tell you why you should hire me.

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4 Responses to “I Can Write, But I Can’t Write A Cover Letter”


  1. 1 somanybookssolittletime May 3, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    How did this cover letter trend get started and WHY?

    I am going to start auditioning again soon and I refuse to have to embarrass myself like that. I mean, my cover letter for the REAL WORLD is horrible, too, so I can’t even imagine how goofy my acting cover letter would be. Cover letters in general are ridiculous.

    This post was so funny! ❤

  2. 2 Anya May 1, 2009 at 4:48 am

    love this post

  3. 3 TheManInTheYellowHat April 21, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    “three-word description” – Ha! Who wants a cover letter? Wouldn’t they rather have a decent headshot. I mean, preferable one that looks like the actor, but still…a headshot. Thanks for the laughs.

  4. 4 Ben Beckley April 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Cranky, everything that comes out of you is real. Amazing.


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