September 25, 2023

How Writing your Resume like a Screenplay can set you up for a successful job search

How Writing your Resume like a Screenplay can set you up for a successful job search

This article is part of our Blooming Budgets series, with Caren Rose.

Caren Rose is an accomplished professional with extensive experience in the entertainment industry. With a career spanning over two decades, she has made significant contributions in various Film and TV Production roles.

As a Production Finance Controller for an Independent Film Company, Caren excels in navigating complex financial landscapes, delivering accurate reporting and budgeting. Her expertise has made her a trusted expert for many production teams. She also works as a Key Production Accountant for prominent companies like Netflix, Sony, ABC, CBS, and HBO.

Caren focuses on sharing her industry knowledge through online courses, webinars, and tailored tips on Instagram and Facebook. Her courses specialize in Film Finance, Budgeting, Hot Costs, and Cost Reports, providing invaluable insights into the financial aspects of filmmaking.

Resumes are to put together in the best of times, but it’s even trickier when you’re desperately searching for work.

What do you include? What do you remove?

How can you convince people in only a few words that you are stellar, spectacular, exceptional and sensational and they’re making the biggest mistake of their lives if they DON’T hire you?

It’s a tall order.

To help equip experienced industry professionals with the most relevant and useful job search information, Caren Rose highlights some essential tips and tricks to give your resume a glamorous Hollywood makeover as well as tips to convey your confidence during interviews.

Write your resume like a screenplay – sort of

Well, not exactly like a screenplay. But the script structure does lend some useful metaphors to the creation of your resume:


Contact Information

They can’t hire you if they can’t contact you. Your full name, phone number and email address should appear near the top of your resume. With the rise of remote work, your full physical address is less relevant. Instead, add your city + state or a region so people know where you live and where you could realistically commute.

Resume Objective or Summary Statement

This optional section was trendy in the 2010s as a way to briefly introduce your career goals, key skills, and relevant qualifications. These days, it’s less relevant, but for certain positions it could bring context to your resume. Avoid vague language and generalities. Try and evoke an emotional response from the reader with your statement:

Low-Quality: "Detail-oriented accountant with an interest in film finance. Seeking a position to apply financial skills in the entertainment sector."

Snappier: "Numbers connoisseur with a passion for cinema, committed to delivering razor-sharp financial strategies that fuel your film projects and drive lasting success."


A well-structured resume generally includes the following components in the body: skills, experience and references.


Traditionally presented as a list of words in columns, you should dig deep to think of absolutely anything relevant to the job you’re applying for: programming or foreign languages, technical prowess, soft skills, etc.

Use this list of unique skills based on the film industry to brainstorm others that are relevant to your experience:

Film Production

  • Drone Cinematography: Proficiency in operating and capturing stunning aerial shots using drones, adding a cinematic perspective to productions.
  • Practical Special Effects: Knowledge and experience in creating practical effects, such as miniatures, pyrotechnics, or animatronics, to enhance visual storytelling.
  • Practical Special Effects: Knowledge and experience in creating practical effects, such as miniatures, pyrotechnics, or animatronics, to enhance visual storytelling.
  • 360° Filmmaking: Familiarity with producing immersive 360-degree films, ideal for virtual reality (VR) experiences and interactive storytelling.
  • Stunt Coordination: Ability to design and execute impressive action sequences with a focus on safety and precision.
  • Location Scouting: A knack for finding unique and visually appealing filming locations that align perfectly with the project's vision.
  • Steadicam Operation: Expertise in operating a Steadicam rig to achieve smooth and dynamic camera movements.

Film Finance

  • Film Incentive Management: Knowledge of various global and regional film incentives, grants, and tax credits, enabling cost-effective financing strategies for productions.
  • Film Profit Analysis: Skill in analyzing box office performance, revenue streams, and profit distribution models for film investors.
  • Film Rights Negotiation: Experience in negotiating complex rights deals for film distribution and ancillary markets.
  • Gap Financing Techniques: Familiarity with creative gap financing methods to bridge budget shortfalls during production.
  • Film Blockchain Applications: Understanding of blockchain technology and its potential impact on film financing and distribution models.
  • Film Collection Society Compliance: Knowledge of navigating and complying with collection societies for music royalties and licensing in film projects.

Production Accounting

  • Film Tax Incentive Expertise: In-depth knowledge of film tax incentives and rebates offered by various states and countries, optimizing financial benefits for production budgets.
  • International Film Accounting: Experience in handling complex financial transactions and compliance requirements for international film productions.
  • Film Cost Reporting Software: Proficiency in using specialized film cost reporting software like Entertainment Partners' Vista Accounting or MediaWeb to track and manage production expenses.
  • Residuals Calculation: Skill in calculating and managing residual payments to actors, writers, and other creative contributors based on film revenue and distribution.
  • Waterfall Modeling: Familiarity with waterfall models used to distribute profits to film investors, producers, and other stakeholders.
  • Product Placement Accounting: Expertise in accounting for product placements and brand integrations within film projects.
  • Film Completion Bond Accounting: Knowledge of handling financial reporting and compliance for film productions backed by completion bonds.
  • Film Library Valuation: Ability to assess the value of a film library for acquisitions, licensing, or distribution deals.
  • Rights Management: Understanding of film rights management, including licensing agreements and revenue tracking.
  • Section 181 Film Financing: Familiarity with Section 181 of the Internal Revenue Code, which allows tax deductions for qualifying film and television productions.


Experience covers (almost) everything:

  • Work and employment experience
  • Education – degrees, fields of study, etc
  • Achievements, awards, or other recognitions
  • Trainings and certifications
  • Publications, projects, and/or filmography

Since this is Hollywood, stick to the classic screenwriting rule of show, don't tell. Even better, if you can manage it, tell a story. Here’s an example outline:

Head Production Accountant - Very Fancy Conglomerate March 2020 - Present

As the head production accountant at Very Fancy Conglomerate, I've been leading a team of [# of team members] skilled financial professionals, orchestrating seamless financial operations for a variety of high-profile film projects. From indie gems to blockbuster hits, my expertise ensures the production's financial success remains at the heart of every venture.

  • Oversaw the financial management of 20+ film projects, totaling budgets exceeding $200 million.
  • Spearheaded cost-saving initiatives, resulting in an average 10% reduction in production expenses across all projects.
  • Collaborated closely with producers and department heads, guiding budget allocation and tracking financial progress with precision.

Production Accountant, International Productions Specialist - Pleasant Productions

June 2012 - February 2020

At Pleasant Productions, I embarked on a globetrotting adventure as their go-to production accountant for international projects. The opportunity to navigate diverse tax incentives, currency fluctuations, and financial regulations across continents was a thrill I wholeheartedly embraced.

  • Managed finances for 12 international co-productions in various countries, totaling $150 million in combined budgets.
  • Implemented efficient currency hedging strategies, mitigating financial risks and saving the company an average of $50,000 per project.
  • Collaborated with international partners, ensuring seamless financial integration and compliance with local tax regulations.

Junior Production Accountant - Sunny Film Studios

July 2006 - May 2012

Kicking off my production accounting career at Sunny Film Studios, I was the eager new junior production accountant. Here, I learned the ropes of film financing, transforming budgets into cinematic realities.

  • Assisted in managing budgets for 8 feature films, with budgets ranging from $5 million to $15 million.
  • Played a pivotal role in streamlining accounts payable processes, resulting in a 25% reduction in payment processing time.
  • Supported senior accountants in tracking petty cash expenditures, leaving no penny unaccounted for and ensuring adherence to budgetary constraints.



The old adage is true – Hollywood is all about who you know. That makes your references section perhaps the most important part of your resume.

It’s tempting to add “References provided upon request” on your resume, but Caren Rose advises against it. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re hesitant to provide this information!

You should always include a list of professional references’ names and contact information when applying for a new position - it shows confidence and comfort in your previous work record.

You can also collect references on LinkedIn, which allows folks to highlight your wonderful qualities in the context of your professional relationship. Having this information available on your profile will allow prospective employers to see how people feel about you without the energy and hassle of making a phone call. If you make it easier for employers to fall in love with you – all the better!

Bonus Features

Before you start submitting your resume, take these final steps:

  1. Get someone from within the industry to read over it for clarity.
  2. Get someone from OUTSIDE the industry to read over it for clarity. Fresh, non-
  3. entertainment eyes can help you spot gaps.
  4. Offer to do a resume feedback exchange with colleagues or industry friends to get even
  5. more feedback.


Resume writing is a learnable skill. Will it always be fun? Probably not. Is it easy? It’s rarely easy to practice self-promotion unless you’re already comfortable with it.

Unlike screenplays, your resume doesn't have to be perfect to get you the job. You might be at the end of one career story about the embark on another, but you have the power to write your way into your next great role.

The Revolution Team

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