Start your career on the right foot with the best possible Spotlight profile!
1. Select your best headshot and production images
Your headshot is your ‘hello’ to the world, so it’s important to get right. Pick something in colour for your main picture, but feel free to include additional black and white images as well if you wish. Ensure it’s a natural, accurate representation of how you look – if you plan on a radical new ‘do’, factor in the cost of new headshots! It has to be accurate for when you walk into an audition.
When asked what makes a good headshot, casting director Kelly Valentine CDG says “It usually comes down to the eyes, something inviting [about them], something that makes you want to know more about someone.”
Production images can also be included on your profile, but be sure to be selective. If you haven’t had your headshot taken yet, we have lots of great advice on how to get your first headshot and lots more photos advice and tips.
2. Keep your personal information up-to-date
So that we can always contact you, it’s important to keep us up-to-date whenever you move. Remember to update your location on your profile as this is super important for when you’re applying for work, so make sure it’s current.
3. Be thoughtful about your playing age
The age range you can successfully play is very important to get right, as this is essential information for casting directors. Be realistic; chances are, you can’t play everything from 16-50 so keep it in a sensible range.
4. Put together your best material for a show/voice reel
Showreels give a casting director an immediate sense of who you are. When creating a showreel, the beginning is the most important part so include your best material first and make sure it represents you.
Don’t include long introductions or long sequences and don’t include too much. If you don’t have two or three scenes, one good one can be sufficient. “Two minutes is long enough,” says casting director Frank Moiselle CSA and, “I don’t need a montage of musical stuff – I need the scenes.” Debbie McWilliams CDG adds “Just show clips of you, and maybe one other person [at most]. Don’t make it too forced, or too ‘actor-y’”
For more tips from casting directors about what they like to see, watch our video about creating your showreel.
5. Include accurate credits
Make sure you add all the production and role information as accurately as possible – every field is searchable by casting directors, so if you misspell things, it will be harder for them to find you.
Please be honest and include all the relevant information. Industry professionals using Spotlight are very well connected and do talk to each other – they will likely know if you weren’t really in a production. Spotlight checks all credit updates and it’s part of our terms and conditions that credits should be truthful. If we find otherwise, membership can be revoked.
If you have more than 10 credits, it’s a good idea to start breaking them down into categories to make it easier for casting directors to find exactly what they’re looking for. Keep them in chronological order with your most recent work first.
Remember: credits are jobs you’ve already completed, not something you’re currently appearing in. If you’re appearing in something that isn’t finished, put it in the ‘About Me’ section and move it to Credits when you’re done.
Read more about how to make your credits look professional.
6. List your best skills, accents and languages
Yes, pretty much everything you can think of is a skill but that doesn’t mean you should list them all. It’s a balance between including everything you can bring to a role, and making sure you only include the best and most relevant things you can do.
Don’t exaggerate! If you say you can ride a horse but can’t on the day, that won’t look good. Same with languages, if you can’t actually speak Italian, it will be pretty obvious. Celebrate what you can do and be sure to highlight any highly proficient skills.
Your Spotlight profile is your introduction to the industry, and it’s your chance to present yourself in the most professional way possible. So, make sure to fill it out as thoroughly as you can, with your most valuable information. It’s the first step towards working in a vibrant and often tough industry, so be sure to do all you can to give yourself the best chance for success. Find more about what casting directors recommend with advice from Ros Hubbard, Jerry Knight-Smith, Kelly Phelan, and Emma Stafford.
Spotlight offers a unique events program throughout the year just for graduates that are free to attend. These will include Q&A sessions and masterclasses with casting directors, agents and industry professionals, so make sure you’re signed up to receive Spotlight emails to book your place.