Tips for Putting Together an EPK
Ever heard of an EPK? It stands for an ‘Electronic Press Kit’ and is a great way to showcase who you are and what you can do as an actor. Think of it as your portfolio… a detailed showcase of your best work.
Generally, an EPK is not an essential part of your submission process. It comes into play for larger roles, bigger shows and out of country jobs. You should start collecting for your EPK as soon as you can. Finding all your press and collecting letters of recommendation can take a lot of time. If you start collecting right away, when it’s time to create your EPK, you’ll be ahead of the game. If you suddenly get put on hold for an American Series and you’re Canadian, then having this information ready to send them to present to their producer may get you the role.
So what type of info should be included in your EPK?
The Usual Suspects: Headshot and Resume. Think of them as your title page and introduction page. It’s what you use to sell your talent, so it should be first.
Biography: Keep it short. This shouldn’t be an essay about who you are and what you’ve done. Half a page is a good start. Condense it to your most important roles, the turning points in your career, and the direction your career is going. Add in awards and maybe a quote from a reputable person. If it’s too long, no one will want to spend the time reading the whole thing.
Awards: If you’ve won any certificates, add them. If you have pictures of yourself with your trophy, add them. Are you listed in the program? Scan it. It’s good to start this section with a page listing your awards if you have quite a few.
Publicity: Any and all publicity that has ever mentioned your name. If you have some magazine cut-outs and newspaper clippings, that’s awesome. Create some high quality scans of them. If you’re searching off Internet sites, it can be a little harder. You need to make sure the link to the page is at the top, and the print out version you’re using to showcase is formatted properly. This can be a little tricky. You can take a screen capture of the page, or maybe open up Photoshop and recreate the page so it appears identically to what you see on screen. Make absolutely certain you don’t change the appearance of the web page.
On all publicity, make sure there are a couple of things included with every single article. The date it was published, the author, and publication it appeared
in. You can include the cover of the magazines, the scan of the heading for a newspaper or the home page of a website. If you simply can’t find this information, it’s okay, but don’t include it first in your publicity section.
Stills from Projects: This will be your photo gallery. You want to showcase all the different roles you’ve played, and all the looks you’ve portrayed. This is also a great place to show off all the great people you’ve worked with and different locations you’ve been to, to work. If you have extra headshots, they can be included in this section, but don’t feature them. You can put several headshots to a page. You have already introduced yourself by this point so you don’t need to again.
Letters of Recommendation/Quotes: These come into play more if you’re using your EPK for out of country jobs or for a work Visa. Focus on casting directors, agents, directors and producers. Other actors could work as well if they are well known. You don’t have to have full letters of recommendations every time. You can have quotes signed off by people talking about your work. This can easily slide into your publicity section.
Media: Since this is an ‘electronic’ press kit, you can add any demos you may have. This can be difficult if you’re sending it out as a PDF. The best way to do this while keeping the size of your EPK down is to add links to your media. Host all your demo reels on a site like Casting Workbook, Vimeo or Youtube, so that they’re easy to view and load quickly. It should be easy for someone to click the link, and see your demo.
When putting together your press kit, you need to make sure it makes sense in one quick glance. Making a table of contents is fine if it’s quite a long EPK, but organizing your information into sections is just as effective. Your contact information should be at the front, your publicity should all be together and your stills should be organized in a group. Think of it as chapters in a book. It can be tempting to throw all your best stuff at the front, but then the rest of your EPK will seem unprofessional and thrown together without much thought.
Formatting is super important! You need to think about each page, and how it looks. You’re showing off your very best work. Utilize an editing program like Photoshop to arrange your photos on each page and get rid of unwanted scan marks. Make sure every page looks professional and organized. There should be no mostly empty pages with a tiny image in the corner and something hand written on it.
PDF is the most basic way of sending out your EPK. But be careful. All those pictures can add up to a very large PDF. You can try compressing it, but make sure it doesn’t affect the quality. If it is rather large, you may not be able to email it. Most email programs have a limit on what can be sent at once.
If you have a Premium Account with us, you’re able to upload ‘press’ to your account. This gives you room to upload your PDF, and then you can use your account to send your EPK via email without going over email limits. There are other sites you can use, like Hightail or Dropbox.
Some people have organized their EPK’s onto discs or USB drives to hand out. You just want to make sure your info is as easy to use as possible and clearly marked. A random USB drive will get lost if it does not have your name directly on it. And it should appear as one complete package, not a list of images they have to individually click on to view. Think of it like a book.
A printed out version is not uncommon, but the industry relies more and more on electronic versions. They’re easier to share and view, and kill fewer trees. Unless someone specifically asks, there’s no need to print out a bunch of copies.