Getting you started on your way to Spotlight membership
Becoming a Spotlight member gives you access to the best acting work out there, as Spotlight is used daily by the biggest names in casting.
In this article, we share information about what you need to be eligible for Spotlight membership and some tips to help you get there.
Qualifying for Spotlight membership
There are a number of ways you can qualify for Spotlight membership. To join us, a new performer will need to have one of the following:
- At least one featured role with an Equity or equivalent union contract or two contracted professional performance credits
- Or have completed at least a year of full-time professional performance training equivalent to an RQF level 5 or two years of part-time training
- Or have been recommended by a party that’s a member of one of the following professional organisations, Personal Managers’ Association, Casting Directors’ Guild, Casting Society of America, Casting Directors Association, Co-Operative Personal Managers Association, Association of Talent Agents, or the Agents of Young Performers Association. Please note – recommendations are at the discretion of the professional with whom you have an existing professional relationship. For example, they may have auditioned you, or watched you perform in a show. Applicants should not contact professionals via unsolicited calls or emails asking for a recommendation.
If you’re keen to join us but are having difficulty gaining the required experience, here are some ideas to help you on your way.
1. Get a great headshot
Having quality headshots is a vital first step and we have a guide to making the most of your first headshot session. Your headshot is your first impression for a potential job, so it’s important this is professionally taken to give yourself the best possible chance. If you’re struggling to find a good photographer, use our Contacts listings of headshot photographers as a starting point.
2. Brush up on your audition skills
Auditions can be nerve-wracking to even the best in the business, so there’s always room to grow and get more comfortable with them. These 10 audition tips from casting director Jerry Knight-Smith are helpful, as is actress (and Spotlight member) Katie Redford’s audition preparation advice.
If you’ve managed to land yourself an audition – congratulations! – make the most of your shot in front of the casting director by reading our audition advice.
As self-taping becomes increasingly common, you may also want to read our guide to self-taping at home so you can get familiar with a camera.
3. Write or direct your own material
Creating your own work can be a great way to get the ball rolling to help secure your first professional paid credit. It can be a lot of work to write, direct and star in your own work but if there isn’t much work coming your way, making your own work can be a great idea for getting started. Paines Plough’s James Grieve shares their advice for making your own work which is a great introduction if you want to expand into directing.
4. Perform at the Fringe or in student films
Consider getting in touch with film schools to get involved with student-made films as well. If you’re asked to play a role in a student film, make sure you are auditioning safely, and that someone knows where you are going and when. Equity also recommends requesting a contract when working on any film as you could receive payment retrospectively if the film becomes a success.
Fringe festivals are a great way to perform to an audience. The Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest in the country, and we have some insight into writing and performing your own work at the festival.
We have some great advice from Fringe First winners and Charlie Hartill award recipients, Unpolished Theatre about making your first Fringe show a success. Or, if you’re wondering whether it’s worth taking the plunge, the Pleasance Theatre’s Artistic Director Anthony Alderson shares his thoughts about why you should perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
5. Consider professional training
We have lots of great insight into the different training routes for performers and drama school programmes on offer around the UK. Weigh up the pros and cons of going to drama school with our insider guide that looks at the differences between training professionally or getting stuck straight into the industry.
6. Look for a variety of work
Approaching small theatre companies is a great way of getting your foot in the door, and being involved in your community is vital for any up-and-coming actor. Performing rep or looking at alternative training options are also great ways to get started.
If you want some tips to help you land your first voice over gig, look no further than our advice from Voice Over Network founder, Rachael Naylor. Actor and Spotlight member Christopher Tester also has some tips to make the transition from acting to voice acting as a great way to supplement your career and income.
7. Be patient and persevere!
We know that rejection and learning how to handle it can be hard and that staying motivated in uncertain circumstances can be a challenge but know that there are always more opportunities on the horizon.
There are things you can be doing to keep yourself creative as Katie Elin-Salt shares in her article about cheap ways to stay proactive when you’re skint.
If you’re not based in the UK, we have guidance for you too! Casting directors Tusse Lande, Nathalie Cheron and Maureen Hughes share how they cast international performers.
If you’re new to performing, we have some great advice for getting started in the performing arts industry. For all of our performer advice, take a look at our news and advice section or our social media channels where we always share tips to help you on your way in this competitive industry. We’re always sharing advice to help you on your way in this competitive industry. Any questions? Tweet us!