Spotlight/agent catch 22

Paige Farnham

Hi,

Does anyone have any recommendations for agencies that represent 'new and emerging' actors? Basically agents that aren't 100% strict on having a Spotlight profile already.

I didn't attend university and I am struggling to gain credited acting experience as Mandy & other sites seem to be mainly short films or student projects. I have had agencies tell me to contact them again once I'm on Spotlight. It just seems like I need a Spotlight profile to get representation but I need representation to get a Spotlight profile.

Any advice on the best ways to source auditions/opportunities in order to earn a Spotlight profile or any agents that will help you towards this will be really helpful.

Thank you.


  • 5 months ago
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Paige Farnham

I think I should mention, I am still applying for student/short film roles for experience and exposure.

I have also seen on the Spotlight website that if you are under 25, you will still be classed as a child actor and can be submitted by an agency to get a Spotlight profile. Has this happened to anyone?


  • 5 months ago
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Chloe Malarkey

Hi Paige thank you for posting this as I am in a similar situation. I am not new to this however I am struggling with the same catch 22 situation x


  • 5 months ago
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Luke Cousy
Luke Cousy
Actor

I think I'm in the same boat Paige. Would love to hear if anyone has an insight to this.


  • 5 months ago
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Olivia Hespe
Olivia Hespe
Actor

Hi Paige - I am no expert on the matter, but in my case I went for jobs on Mandy that were paid or gave me IMDb credits, as these are seen by Spotlight as being evidence of your professional status. I was fortunate enough to get the right number and got Spotlight membership. I have been without an agent for a year or so and have still managed to keep busy; and in my case the proportion of my roles that I have taken that have come via Spotlight applications has been tiny..
I believe you are correct in that if you are with a 'child/young person agency', then that agency can put you on Spotlight without you having professional credits. This is what I did a few years ago, but the problem is that with no professional credits, you will not stand the best chance of getting good roles, even though you may be on Spotlight.
So, I guess that applying for the 'right' jobs, hustling and cajoling may be the best way forward!
Good luck!


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Suzanna Hughes

Unfortunately no agent worth their salt will take on an adult performer who isn't on Spotlight, as they simply will not be able to put them up for jobs. There are some agents that do get direct castings from CDs, but they'd still need you on Spotlight for the rest. Not what you want to hear, I know, but it really is a matter of building your credits up the way we all had to. TIE, theatre, Mandy jobs etc. There are some agencies that are more commercial and model agents, like Ugly (who are brilliant) BMA, Bonnie + Betty, Allsorts etc, who get direct castings for good commercial/lifestyle work and sometimes small role TV jobs that would count as a Spotlight credit. It might be worth looking into those. Good luck, you just need to keep at it, unless you're very lucky, there are no short cuts.


  • 5 months ago
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Chloe Malarkey

So a paid role on Mandy such as a short film would be counted for spotlight?


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Suzanna Hughes

No, I don't think short films or commercials count. You'll need to check the Spotlight website for requirements, but I believe it's theatre, TIE, TV and feature films. Speaking roles, no extra work.


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David Hopper
David Hopper
Actor

Accredited training would be my answer. Instant Spotlight access upon completing the course. Best start to a professional career.

David


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Victoria Hinds

David are you able to recommend any? I am currently in the same boat as Paige!


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David Hopper
David Hopper
Actor

Hey Victoria.

This website has all of the accredited schools listed.

https://cdmt.org.uk/accredited-schools-and-colleges/drama-and-acting


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Kerri Hedley-Cheney

I am in exactly the same position and it is really frustrating! I have worked in theatre and entertainments for 40 years and I have paid credits but they are the 'wrong sort'. I have done ads - they don't count, I have done TV but not a featured role or named part, I have done short film, I have done testimonials - they don't count either!, I have done 50 plus plays but not all paid. I am going mad with trying to get my last credit they will accept. know people on Spotlight that I would not pay to entertain my cat yet here w all are stuck in the same boat. I have an agent who is waiting patiently. Unfortunately the last one gave up on me. Keep on going and you will get there. Trouble is with paid theatre stuff it can take an age as you audition, get recalled, start rehearsals etc and then the show goes up. all of this can take 3-4 months so to get 4 credits is a time consuming business. I only have one to go thankfully but yeah, the Spotlight thing is a bit chicken and the egg isn't it...


  • 5 months ago
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Ashley Pekri
Ashley Pekri
Actor

Hello Paige!

I found myself in the exact same situation as you about 6 years ago when I finished university and entered this world. Not sure how it is now, but back then I needed to provide details of 4 pro credits but I only needed proof of one professional contract (which I had). At first I was rejected due to how I worded my credits. So I tried again... This time, instead of putting credits like - University of (blahblahblah), I put the name of the building so it seemed more legit and not like a student production (they don't entertain this). I also called frequently and argued my case until eventually they took my money!

So I guess a few white lies and persistence got me there in the end. Since then, I have accrued professional credits enough for me to have the relevant experience (whatever that means) to be allowed to join Spotlight. Since then I have changed my credits back to what they were originally and have managed to add loads since in the last 6 years.

Starting out for me was one of the most difficult parts, but don't be put off by the ethics of not telling the whole truth to Spotlight. You're trying to give them vast amounts of money at the end of the day! The reason they don't allow anyone is so that the CD's time isn't wasted by non-professionals! If you know you're worth your salt like I did, then you will prove this to them in no time! Until then, it might be worth a go?

I hope this helps.

Ashley


  • 4 months ago
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Kerri Hedley-Cheney

Great post Ashley.


  • 4 months ago
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Paige Farnham

Thank you all so much for your comments and help! I will keep at it and will get there eventually :) if I find out any other tips I will keep you posted also.


  • 4 months ago
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Emma Hudson
Emma Hudson
Actor

Hi Paige, absolutely in the same boat and quite vocal about the discrimination of it too! Not all of us were lucky enough to go to drama school, or be able to pursue this before the age of 25, why are we being penalised?

I'm working on my four credits, touring shows around care homes with a company and getting other work where I can. Hopefully we'll all get there soon!


  • 4 months ago
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Kerri Hedley-Cheney

Emma - it is so frustrating isn't it. I only just found out that spotlight were advertising jobs that were unpaid/low paid! How ironic is that!! They are advertising the very jobs that they refuse to accept from you as a credit!! I wish I had known - I would definitely have used that as leverage and as an argument for inclusion.


  • 4 months ago
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Elizabeth Coyle

Hi Emma, Kerri and Paige,

It doesn't need to be drama school, I got my Spotlight as a graduate from the University of South Wales. My course was accredited, Theatre and Drama Ba Hons.


  • 4 months ago
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David Hopper
David Hopper
Actor

I have never heard of a university being accredited?

I went to a university before drama school and found that it was very difficult to be seen as it is not seen as training by many in the industry. We had a "showcase" at the end of third year and literally no one came. The fact that university now costs the same as drama school I would not risk going to one. I went to DSL on the one year course and not only did a learn an incredible amount about ever aspect of the industry, that I don't possibly see how I could have just picked up without going. I found that I was taken seriously by agents and casting directors upon leaving


  • 4 months ago
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Kerri Hedley-Cheney

David, problem is that there are so many untrained actors who are absolutely outstanding too. Training is vital on the one hand but having spent 10 years learning at youth theatre in my teens,, then since that I have done countless plays, acting workshops, improv workshops, Meisner classes and learning from talented actors and directors. I've worked in entertainments all my adult life including teaching drama at youth clubs. I have paid credits (not the right sort for Spotlight so it would seem) and paid work dating back decades but the rules changed by the time I started acting again (post children and career). It is now a matter of ticking boxes and it is frustrating. I have won awards for acting, received 5 star reviews and am experienced yet none of that counts. I will get there but it is a bit soul destroying.


  • 4 months ago
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Kerri Hedley-Cheney

Plus I do have an agent who has seen me work and is waiting patiently for Spotlight to let me in.


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