6 Tips for Creating the Perfect Graduate Profile
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. “It usually comes down to the eyes, something inviting [about them], something that makes you want to know more about someone,” says casting director Kelly Valentine. Production images can also be included, but be sure to be selective. We have lots of great advice on how to get your first headshot done if you haven’t already, or take a look at all of our photos advice for more 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 each time you move. Also remember to update your location on your profile. 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, and this is essential information for casting directors. Be realistic: chances are, you can’t play everything from 16-50! Keep it in a sensible range.
4. Put together your best material for a show/voice reel
It can be footage from anywhere, even filmed or recorded yourself, as it’s about giving the casting director an immediate sense of who you are. “Just show clips of you, and maybe one other person [at most]. Don’t make it too forced, or too ‘actor-y’,” says Debbie McWilliams. So, include your best material first, don’t include long introductions and remember that it’s best to have something rather than nothing! “Two minutes is long enough,” says Frank Moiselle and, “I don’t need a montage of musical stuff – I need the scenes.” Listen to more casting directors talk about what they like to see here.
5. Include accurate credits
If you have more than 10 credits, it’s a good idea to start breaking them down into categories. This helps casting directors find exactly what they’re looking for! Keep them in chronological order, most recent work first. Adding the year is optional, but please do include them as much as you can – casting directors prefer it that way! 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 “Currently Appearing” section and update it when you’re done. Make sure you add all the information as accurately as possible – every field is searchable by casting directors, so if you misspell things, it will be harder to find you! And don’t lie: Spotlight check credit updates, and the 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! Membership can also be revoked, as it’s part of our terms and conditions. So be honest and include all the relevant info.
6. List your best skills, accents and languages
Yes, pretty much everything you can think of is a skill – 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 is not a good look. 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 possible 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. These will include Q&A sessions and master classes with casting directors, agents and industry professionals, so make sure you keep an eye out so that you can put your questions directly to them and get first hand tips from the experts. These will be completely free of charge to members – keep an eye out for more detail! For more information in the meantime on making the most of your career and your Spotlight experience, take a look at our tips for Getting Started in the Industry as well as our regularly updated Tips and Advice.