I am a networker. I enjoy all sorts of meetups and events, but one event in particular that I attend regularly has the concept of networking down to science. Once everyone is in the room, we all sit around the table and everyone gets 90 seconds to answer the following five questions:

  1. Who are you
  2. Why are you here
  3. What do you do
  4. What do you want to be doing
  5. What are you passionate about

The very same can be (should be?) applied to writing your bio as well. 90 seconds represents the brevity of it all. If your bio is longer than one page, unless you have a fan or a stalker, there's no chance in hell anyone's reading this. Which means the timeline-style chronological bios are out of the window from the get go, so if your bio starts with "I was born..." then you probably have gone too far. So let's apply the 5 questions, but first let's reorder and modify them a bit for our purpose:

  1. Who are you - same
  2. What do you do - well, the fact that you're an actor would go in the "who" part above, so here we should stick in "What are your accomplishments"
  3. What do you want to be doing - same
  4. What are you passionate about - same
  5. Why are you here - What is your "want"?

Alright, so here are the final 5 leading points for your bio:

  1. Who are you
  2. What are your accomplishments
  3. What do you want to be doing
  4. What are you passionate about
  5. What is your "want"?

WHO ARE YOU?

That can be answered in a short sentence. It could be quirky, if that's part of your character, or straight to the point, if that's how you want people to see you. But many times, a quick statement "My name is John Smith and I am a comedic actor in Los Angeles, California" does the job. Not only is it the shortest form of introduction, but also uses the keywords that are useful to search engines, such as "comedic actor" and "actor in Los Angeles".

WHAT ARE YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

Again, you can go straight to the point by saying "I am a stage actor with 12 years of experience" or "I have done half a dozen commercials in Canada", but if you feel up to a task, add some personality to it. This can be done by comparing yourself to one of your idols, like "besides doing comedy, I also write, sing and write songs hoping to follow closely in Rachel Bloom's footsteps".  Or if you normally play tough law enforcement characters, you could say "If I wasn't acting, I'd probably have to be a cop, because that's how all casting directors usually see me. Just take a look at my IMDb credits and you'll know what I mean." Find something that's yours, a skill, a characteristic, an achievement... own it, and just go for it.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE DOING?

Try not to say anything that is vague or absurd like "I want to be in YOUR film". You don't know who's reading it, and you don't want to sound needy and desperate in your own bio either. We're talking about the type of work you see yourself doing in the near future. Let's say all you've done so far were shorts, but you really want to do a feature, or maybe you've been doing background, but you're ready for a guest role on a TV show. Dropping some names can be helpful too, if you want people to get a grasp of what kind of character you are. You could say "I've been flirting with the idea of trying out for one of the villains roles on Hawaii Five-O since I can totally pull of a Hans Gruber-style foreigner who does not take no for an answer." 

WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

A picture is worth a thousand words, but... tell your own story, because your headshots can't paint your personality.  List some fun facts about you, everybody loves real people. Maybe you're a dog trainer, or a surfer, or you ran your first marathon and want more.  These fun facts make it easy to relate and get a better grasp on who you are. Saying that you're passionate about acting does not tick this checkbox. We're not talking about acting here. But what if you're really, really, really passionate about acting? No, still not it. Most actors are, you have to be passionate about it, we all know that, but there must be something else. Maybe you love spending time with your niece, or enjoy a good sci-fi book. Whatever it is, tell people more about you so they don't see you as "just an actor."

WHAT IS YOUR "WANT"?

Finally, finish with something that you want from the person reading the bio. The "want" is usually an invitation to do something next. It could be to view your reel and let you know what the viewer thought, or you could ask them to join thousands of your e-friends on Twitter, which not only is an invite, but also shows them that you have a following. Many actors might ask to have the visitor look at their IMDb credits. On your website you could always invite them to leave you a message, or ask them a question to start a conversation. You could ask them to tell you which one of your headshots they like the most, or ask them to offer their opinion on your reel. This is not the time to start screaming "Hire me!" - same as the 3rd point above, this is a chance to invite them to a conversation.


In summary, a good bio should be unique AND add value to the website. It should make it easy for visitors to relate to you and get a grasp of who you are, what you do, and what type of role you see yourself in. After all, you know you best. Confidently share who you are, do it in your voice and keep it short. After all, you're writing a bio, not a memoir.