I meditate on my resume far more than is probably recommended when one hopes to retain some semblance of sanity. I blame the fact that for as long as I’ve been old enough to comprehend what it means to have a resume as a performer, I have dreamed of amassing so many credits across that I must decide which ones to leave off or how small I can make the font without hurting the casting director’s eyes. I believed that the number of credits was the key to gauging a performer’s success.

Now I regularly wonder if that is wrong.

In 2013, I assisted several friends in creating a podcast, titled Footnoting History. I saw this as the perfect opportunity to blend two things I loved: performing and history. For literal decades I had trained in the seemingly unrelated fields of singing/acting and history, so when I was presented with the opportunity to combine them I accepted and, as is typical of my anal retentive and (admittedly) addictive personality, I threw myself into it body and soul.

Worried (as always) about doing everything correctly, I contacted my performance union to see if I was even allowed to participate in this sort of project, which they promptly informed me was, in fact, categorized as New Media and under their jurisdiction. Getting their blessing was a strange experience, as it required my academic colleagues to sign papers in order to be allowed to work on this union-sanctioned podcast when they were not union performers, because I am. Was the process cumbersome and did it feel a bit ridiculous? Yes. Did it make me feel I was a proper performer because approval was required in order to work with me? Absolutely.

This was now, to me, an Official Performance Piece. To this day, I compose the scripts myself, fact-check and edit them. I record in a home-constructed studio which has evolved over the years, but initially involved literally creating a fort out of blankets, sitting under it to prevent room echo, and speaking into a recording app on my phone. My role is the part of myself that is a historical authority, and the plot is a narrative constructed from history for the public. It is my job, through voice alone, to both entertain and educate. That, I believe, is at the core of much of performing.

Eventually, it came time to let the world (or at least, the folks behind the casting table) know about this project. I sat at my computer and I proudly added a New Media section (later renamed “Podcasts” because I wanted it to be crystal clear!) to my performance resume then entered the critical information:

Footnoting History – Host/Writer – FootnotingHistory.com

That was it. One line. Now, entering my sixth year as a podcaster, it is still only one line on my resume. It takes up the same amount of space as a one-night concert I sang in and each of the 24-hour play festivals in which I participated. Years of continual work are summed up in one line that will never expand and which I cannot guarantee will make an impression on anyone who reads it. Yes, this is the project of which I am most proud and I can strategically place it on the page, but that is all. The inflated ego that came with my friends signing those union papers? Gone.

So despite the addition of this personally significant line – the line which declares the project for which I am most recognized in real life (assuming the person hears me speak) – I still stare at my resume and wish it was bursting with credits. I wonder about opportunities I might have missed to build those numbers because I was working on making something truly special out of Footnoting History.Some days, I think what I have achieved is impressive and that even if the casting director doesn’t notice that, it will shine through in my audition. Others, I battle with the monster that is Imposter Syndrome. I chastise myself for those undeserved confident days. I completely rethink what it means to be a performer. Just because I know I am performing does not mean others agree. I ask myself: which matters more, how good something was or how many things you have done? will what I do in the room matter at all if they look at my resume and see it has less on it than say, the girl who came in before me? I know the answer could very well be different at every audition, and I will never be able to anticipate the correct answer, but that does not make me feel better.

I sometimes shake my fist at the sky, wishing actors were encouraged to elaborate on our resumes the way my academic friends explain everything on their multi-page CVs. I toy with including my ever-growingnumber of episodes to stress the duration of my association with the podcast. I love podcasting and consider it to be a critical influence on my life as a communicator, performer, and storyteller. I have no plans to abandon it, and wondering about how others interpret it will get me nowhere, but I doubt I will ever stop wishing that it could occupy more than one line.

Series 3 of the podcast is now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Acast. Episodes already released feature full-length interviews with Adrian Lester, Joanna Scanlan, Tom Riley, Kate Fleetwood, Sarah Ball and Jonjo O’Neill. Click here to listen!

Series 1 & 2 are also available free, along with a special live episode for Equity recorded in November 2018, and follow-up inteaviews with all seven of the emerging actors, conducted in October. Go have a listen

Christine Caccipuoti

Podcaster. Soprano who moves. Napoleonic and Medieval historian. Writer of both fact and fiction. Conference presenter. Former early 20th-century background surgical nurse. One-time hand double. Reluctant picture car driver. Choir ringer. Perpetual supporter of elephants.