Graduates FAQs

When can I apply for graduate membership?

Graduate membership opens in September to students who are about to enter their final year of drama training at a Spotlight and Equity recognised school. This is the only time in the year that the graduate scheme is open, and you must ensure you apply before the deadline in January. 

Can anyone apply for graduate membership?

In September 2017 Spotlight and Equity joined forces to create guidelines for eligibility for drama school and university courses on the Spotlight Graduate membership scheme and Equity’s full membership. Read further details about changes to Spotlight student membership.  

If you are unsure of whether your drama school or university course is eligible for the Spotlight Graduate membership, please speak to your school before making a graduate application. They will be able to tell you if this is an option for you. Please note that not all schools are eligible for the graduate scheme. If they are eligible they will be able to provide you with an application password which will be unique to your school. 

For information on our other membership types, please see here

How much will it cost to join as a graduate?

As a Spotlight Graduate member you receive a discounted membership fee for the first and second year of your membership. When the graduate scheme applications open, you can check here for information about joining and costs for Spotlight graduates.

Your first year of membership does need to be paid in one lump sum. However, when your membership is due to renew for a second year you will have additional payment options. Please see our payment FAQs for information. 

What can I expect from the Graduate membership? How is it different from the adult performer membership?

As a Graduate member you will have the opportunity to be featured by your school in the Digital Graduate Showcase as well as receiving tailored advice, events and content to help you succeed as you are leaving drama training. You will also have the opportunity to be submitted, by your school, for the Spotlight Prize. 

Casting directors registered with Spotlight have the option to search for Graduate members and are aware of the eligibility requirements for this membership. Therefore, they search for Graduate members to ensure they are casting at a high level of qualification and skill as well as for the most up and coming new talent. 

Additionally, Graduate members receive a discounted membership fee for their first two years of membership.

Do I need professional acting credits for a graduate membership?

The only requirement will be that you attend a drama school that meets the criteria for professional drama training.

How long does my graduate membership last? When do I become a full Spotlight member?

Applications open in September and the membership then lasts until November of the following year. At which time you will receive notification from our team, letting you know that you can renew and upgrade your account from a graduate to a full performer membership.

Once applications have opened, the earlier you apply, the more you will get out of your membership. 

What should I do if I am already a Spotlight member?

If you are already a Spotlight member and now want to appear as a graduate member please contact [email protected], and our team will advise you further. 

What should I do if I didn’t join as a graduate in time?

If the graduate membership period has closed and you were eligible to join, you can still join as an adult Spotlight performer. Unfortunately, you won’t receive the same benefits as a graduate member but you will receive all our performer benefits, as well as being visible online to casting directors and agents, while receiving important breakdown information.

What is the Spotlight Performance Calendar, the Digital Graduate Showcase and the Spotlight Prize?

The Spotlight Performance Calendar is where your school can list your upcoming shows/showcases and make all the information visible online to casting directors and agents. From here, tickets can be booked for your show and cast list information can be easily viewed (which will include your graduate profile details). This is handled by your school, as a Graduate member you do not need to update this information, if you have questions regarding this, please contact your course convenor. 

The Spotlight digital showcase is where your school can upload a digital version of your showcase performance, a monologue or a showreel alongside a link to your Graduate profile and your headshot. This is available online and sent to casting directors and agents to view. 

The Spotlight Prize is an annual event, whereby each school can nominate one student from their graduating year to take part in an industry attended event. This is judged by an esteemed panel of casting directors and profiled actors and there is a cash prize awarded to the best actor for stage and screen. Find out about previous Spotlight Prize winners and finalists, watch the recent finalist performances and read our showcase tips and advice.  

Should I tell casting directors and agents about my school's showcase?

Yes! Your drama school will have a list of their own contacts, but you should also research your own. Great places to start are the PMA website for agents and the CDG, CSA and CDA websites for casting directors, as well as IMDb to find names and contact information. Information is also at your fingertips in our Contacts Listings

Research is key before contacting industry professionals. Personalise your emails and give them enough notice about when and where your showcase is being held. Make sure that your email is clear on how to access tickets to your showcase, providing a direct link to book tickets is helpful. 

Try not to overwhelm industry professionals and keep note of following data laws when making contact (the UK’s ICO website is a great resource if you need guidance here). You may wish to communicate and organise with your classmates on who is making contact with specific agents and casting directors. 

Do I need to sign with an agent to be a Graduate member?

No, agency representation is not a requirement of the Spotlight Graduate membership. If you wish to represent yourself you can find information in our FAQs for self-represented members and advice in News and Advice. 

If you are looking for agency representation, Contacts listings is a great place to start. Take a look at more of our advice on agents here, we recommend our article finding and signing with an agent.

Should I let Spotlight know if I sign with an agent?

Yes! If you have signed with an agent, you can add this to your Spotlight profile under the ‘Manage my agents’ section. Alternatively email [email protected] from your registered email address and we can arrange to update your account to include their information.

How does a casting director find me on Spotlight?

There are many different ways that a casting director can find your details on Spotlight. All casting professionals can search via performer name, school, appearance information or credits that you have provided on your Spotlight profile. It’s therefore crucial that you always keep your details on Spotlight up to date as all of this information is searchable.

Can I submit myself for roles on Spotlight as a Graduate member?

As a Graduate member, you will have access to the Spotlight Jobs Feed and may have the option to submit yourself for roles. However, please ensure to check with your course convenor before applying for castings or signing into work whilst you are still studyingAnd please be aware that if you are represented by an agent that they will set your access levels on the Jobs Feed.

See here for information and advice on using the Jobs Feed

How can I learn how to do a good self-tape at home?

Follow our self-tape advice from leading industry professionals on how to get the most out of your self-tape. You can start by watching this video:

Do I need and showreel or voicereel?

Ideally, yes! Showreels and voicereels are very popular with casting professionals and make a huge difference to your profile. Don’t feel that you have to go out and spend hundreds of pounds to have one made. Take a look at all our showreel and voicereel advice for making the most of your showreel or voicereel including our 'Everything you need to know about showreels' video.

What should my next steps be once I’ve graduated?

Keep proactive and positive! Leaving drama school and entering the industry can seem daunting. You’ll need to get as much audition experience under your belt and to meet as many casting directors as you can, so you can start building on your experience and put your training into action!

Keep your skills well exercised, get involved with as many play readings, workshops and read-ins with your colleagues to keep yourself busy. Practise self-tapes, go to plays, watch films and TV, read, get involved with the Edinburgh festival (and all the other fringe festivals that there are!). If you don’t have a showreel or voicereel, get some good quality material together and add them to your Spotlight profile.

On self-submitting yourself for roles via the Spotlight Jobs Feed, make sure to read all the casting information and details carefully. Always be available for the overall dates, and select the roles that you wish to be seen for wisely! If you have an agent, they will do this for you. So, trust that they are putting you up for everything that you are right for. 

You can find our advice for graduates here, including ways to stay on your game after graduating, advice from a performer, agent and casting directors and starting out successfully as a graduate

If you are a school or course convenor looking to apply for the Graduate scheme, please see here for our criteria. If you believe that your course meets this criteria, please contact us on [email protected] and we will be happy to help.