6 Tips for Becoming a Spotlight Member

Getting you started on your way to Spotlight membership...

Becoming a Spotlight member gives you access to the best acting work out there, as it is used daily by biggest names in casting. If you’re keen to join us but are having difficulty gaining the required experience, here’s some ideas that might help you on your way.

1. Start with 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 this list as a starting point.

2. Brush up on your audition skills

Auditions are nerve-wracking to the best in the business, so there’s always room to grow and get more comfortable with them – if you’ve managed to land yourself an audition, make the most of your shot in front of the casting director by reading our auditions advice online. These top 10 tips from leading casting director Jerry Knight-Smith are a great place to start, or read actress (and Spotlight member) Katie Redford’s guide to audition prep to get yourself in the zone before you arrive. Get handy with a camera and self-taping at home too, as this is becoming increasingly common in casting.

3. Write or direct your own material

It can be a lot of work to star in, direct and write your own work – but lots of people do it! If there isn’t much work coming your way, creating some work can be a great idea for getting started. For some great advice about directing your own work, we have advice from Paines Plough.

Get in touch with film schools to get involved with student-made films as well. If you are 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 that actors request a contract when working on any film; you could receive payment retrospectively if the film becomes a success.

Fringe festivals are a great way to simply have the chance to perform to an audience, and tend to have a lower cost attached. The Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest in the country, and we have some great insight into writing and performing your own work at the Fringe – it’s never too early to start thinking and planning your show!

We also have some great advice from this year’s Fringe First winners and Charlie Hartill award recipients, Unpolished Theatre on making that first show a success, or if you’re wondering whether it is worth taking the plunge, have a read of what Pleasance’s Artistic Director Anthony Alderson has to say. Starting with your own work can be a great way to get the ball rolling and help secure your first professional paid credit.

4. Consider professional training

If you’d prefer to take the training route, we have lots of great insight into the different drama school programmes on offer around the UK. Toss up the pros and cons with our insider guide to the differences between training professionally or getting stuck straight in to the industry.  

5. Look for a variety of work

This can now include voice over work, and Voice Over Network founder Rachael Naylor has some great advice for landing your first voice over gig. Actor and Spotlight member Christopher Tester also has some tips for making the transition from acting to voice acting, as a great way to supplement your career and income.

Approaching small theatre companies is another 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.

6. Be patient and persevere!

Keeping motivated is tough, rejections can be hard, but there’s always more opportunities on the horizon. It can be hard too when money is tight, and contributor Katie Elin-Salt has some advice especially for those looking for cheap ways to stay proactive.

If you’re not based in the UK, we have guidance for you too! Here’s what casting directors Tusse Lande, Nathalie Cheron and Maureen Hughes have to say about sourcing international performers.

For all the other great advice on starting out as a performer, just take a look at our news and advice section or social media. We’re always sharing advice to help you on your way in this competitive industry. Any questions? Tweet us!

Read more if you’re ready to join us at Spotlight – it only takes a few minutes to apply online!