I can't do spotlight this year... So shoot me!

  • Benedict Wolf

    Actor

    I am in for a world of pain here I'm sure, but I am still going to ask. 

    I can't afford spotlight this year. Now I know it is the holy grail and we won't get taken seriously as an actor for not being on it, ya-da ya-da. And also no agent will take me; doesn't matter, they don't want me anyways!

    So, my question is, is there anyone on here that is not on it and does it make that much difference?

    Because for what I've done so far, being on spotlight would have made sod all difference.

    Think I'd rather invest in imdb when the time comes anyway.  

    • 21st Sep 2016
    • 5224
    • 17
  • Laura Corradi

    Actor

    Hmmm tough one....My agent stated to me once that if i was not on Spotlight then it would be impossible for him to represent me as alot of castings come via spotlight links.

    However...if you do not have an agent and you haven't found it useful then why don't you join back when you can afford it. You can join at any time in the year...the later you leave it it becomes cheaper for the remainder of that year. ok, so your picture won't be in the book but you'll be back on the website.

    Hope this helps.

    x

    • 12th Nov 2009
    • 1
  • Benedict Wolf

    Actor

    Thank you both.

    Laz you actually answered a question I was to pose to spotlight, I thought you could join at any time in the year. That is a relief!

    *mwah mwah*

    • 12th Nov 2009
    • 2
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Start saving up Ben! Being in Spotlight is mandatory but being in the printed version is not! Reactivate your online Spotlight profile asap...you gotta be in it to win it in the game!

    • 12th Nov 2009
    • 3
  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I have to say there is no obvious benefit to being listed in Spotlight from the perspective of many actors. I have never generated any direct offers of work from being included in it, and nor have most of the actors I know. Because Spotlight hold a monopoly as the 'actors directory', they can charge what they like for inclusion in a service that was, once upon a time (albeit eighty years ago), voluntary.

    I appreciate what you are saying about agencies - which is that, if you aren't represented, then whether you are listed in Spotlight or not is less relevant. This is probably true, as most of the work you will generate for yourself would never come through the breakdowns that might be sent c/o via Spotlight link (although a few actors get decent jobs this way, the breakdowns sent to all and sundry are notorious for being completely unsuitable for 99% of all perfomers - this is one of the reasons why casting directors, normally very selective people, are reduced to effectively putting out an A.P.B. for these types of part - they are looking for performers so specific that there is no other way of sourcing them!). It is, however, also true that were you to have an agent, they would demand that you be a member of Spotlight because the standard form of applying for any breakdown has come to be via the Spotlight Link, and you can generate a link only when the client has a paid-up account. It is also likely that many agents (particularly the more impressive ones) would refuse to consider representing you if you lack Spotlight affiliation...and I don't think you can honestly say now whether or not it will seem worthwhile to elcit agency interest *anytime* in the next 12 months. In that sense, not being paid up to Spotlight is a risk for you, because you may miss an opportunity that you can't forsee.

    The other point, as Splat hinted at, is that you can never be certain what members of the industry are taking on board when they analyse your profiles, follow up on your applications etc. Unfortunately, unlike CCP, Spotlight offers no facility for us, the subscribers, to check whether our online profiles are being regularly accessed, whether those who have found us on other sites are then transfering their attention to Spotlight listings, whether the 'buzz' surrounding projects we have been involved in has generated more attention for our profiles - there is actually some discussion amongst Equity members at the moment to ask whether this might not be a useful function for Spotlight to introduce in the future. The point is, that it is hard to tell what is being assumed about your 'professionalism' and accessibility by industry types at any given time, because they so very rarely bother to mention these opinions to you, even if you have worked with/are due to work with/have just finished working with them. It is undoubtedly only received wisdom that being listed in Spotlight is the be-all and end-all of an acting career, but it is almost equally certain that without being listed, a whole host of members of the industry will be inclined to take you less seriously. I don't wish this to suggest that you cannot generate work for yourself without being listed in Spotlight (I am certain you can), that most lo/no pay productions would be *unduly* concerned about Spotlight listing (although I don't think you will secure professional paying gigs without the 'bona fide' of a Spotlight entry in place), nor that you cannot continue to work efficiently without an agent representing you (as many actors can, and do). But many would say that, without representation, your *best* bet is actually to be in Spotlight, because that is what gives you a small element of the 'guarantee' of trustworthiness that being represented magnifies several times over.

    It is almost certain (and you will find many casting directors voice the complaint) that the old style directories (now running to multiple volumes for both sexes in order to accomodate the vast numbers of declared actors) are increasingly considered outmoded, unwieldy and unpopular. However, the fact that the online directories are fully accessible and very user oriented still guarantees that casting directors are utilising Spotlight day in, day out - whether because they are using it to draw up shortlists, to check on applicant's credentials or whatever. Vast numbers of agents are referencing it, too. It shouldn't be forgotten just how prevalent its place within the industry is.

    As regards IMDB being a better investment - that rather depends on what you are hoping to do with your career. For a start, there is no need to actually pay for IMDB to pay for a listing if you are featuring in work that is broadcast or travels the festival circuit, and has the appropriate page devoted to it by the production team concerned. Even if not listed on an initial cast list, you are at liberty to add your own credits to the page subject to IMDB ratification. It is true that you can only add a CV and photographs for a small sum, and that this then becomes accessible via your profile - though whether or not it is tremendously useful is an open question - even most prominent actors don't seem to bother with it, presumably working on the assumption that their details are better hosted elsewhere. IMDB Pro is a different ballgame, and will allow much more in-depth access to casting information, contact details etc. for screen production but a) it is worth noting how US oriented the majority of this information is and b) it is even less likely you will be taken seriously on grand international projects if you are not carrying basic UK bona fides like Spotlight affiliation and membership of Equity. In my experience, the actors who find IMDB especially useful are those who are trying to make a serious film career for themselves in the States. If that is your ultimate destination, then you may be right that investment in IMDB functions is a wise investment.

    • 12th Nov 2009
    • 4
  • James Pimenta

    Actor

    I see Spotlight as a passport to gain entry onto top acting agencies and that's all it is.

    Those people how tricked Spotlight into allowing them to gain entry onto their books are not doing themselves any favours because it will be very difficult for agents to sell an actor when they have very little performance material and experience to show for themselves.

    It a competitive business and being Spotlight registered is not a licence to success.

    I know a friend who tricked Spotlight into them accepting him, (and admits it), which was clever but at the same time stupid because he only survived on Spotlight for a couple of years, after that he said it was a waste of money.

    • 14th Sep 2016
    • 5
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    If you really cant afford it because I have been there! Use CCP as a building tool for the year. Get some small paid work using CCP, use the material to get a showreel done and all the money you earn save to put back in to you as an actor. This is exactly what I've done and now I have new headshots, a new showreel on the way and am having a brochure made to send out to casting directors. Spotlight is essential for the established work as is an agent but your journey as an actor is a marathon and can take time.

    If you build and save using casting call pro after 12 months you will have more material more credits and more experience which is more likely to attract agents when you are back on spotlight.

    • 15th Sep 2016
    • 6
  • James Pimenta

    Actor

    Well said Jake,

    My advice to emerging actors is to use sites like Star Now or Casting Call Pro to build up their profiles and thus strengthen their own performance material/showreels. Even background agencies can offer walk on/feature parts.

    In my own case I have had work from all of above. I also know of friends who have also experienced work from all of above.

    After that, then they should register with Spotlight. Not before! ..........

    unless they want to waste their money?

    • 15th Sep 2016
    • 7
  • Terri-Ann Brumby

    Actor

    You need to be on Spotlight. Totally understand being skint -speak to them about a payment plan- they may be able to help. Speak to your Equity branch they may have ideas.

    • 17th Sep 2016
    • 8
  • Stephanie Watkins

    Actor

    It's very frustrating but as people have previously said, it's more beneficial for agents. Saying this, I've had many brilliant jobs from CCP, so get some credits from here and invite agents to come and see you and then it will be beneficial.

    Ps, please don't follow the advice and make brochures to send to casting directors. Can guarantee they will hate that and it's not gonna make them consider you for anything!

    • 17th Sep 2016
    • 9
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Actually about the whole marketing yourself situation, I have done my research and have found that casting directors are keen to see emerging actors promote themselves as long as it's not followed up this is why they advertise themselves in the spotlight contacts books even advertising preferences on how they prefer to be contacted. As long as you have done your research and know why you are approaching the casting directors and with a personal approach, it's a great way to get yourself seen.

    I spent three months building a database of all casting directors in uk, what they specialised and create a wish list of the casting directors I want to approach based on there specialty. I get that this is not for everyone but please don't dismiss something with assumptions if you have never tried it.

    Some actors don't have the acting degrees and the networks that others have and this industry is about drive and passion and sometimes you have to think outside the box. Now if I was a casting director and an actor sent me an introduction pack that was personal to me and looks like they put passion in how they have approached me I would watch there showreel and look at what they have to offer because they have done something different and clearly shows the direction they want to go as an actor.

    Because as an actor you are a brand and you have to sell yourself. An agent is the best way to get you a job but there's no harm in helping them do there job.

    • 17th Sep 2016
    • 10
  • Stephanie Watkins

    Actor

    That may work for you, but I've recently been in workshops where they have all said they don't like this. If it works for you then go ahead! But I'm just saying its possibly not the best thing to suggest to someone looking for info on a post about a different subject lol, as it's a little unorthodox! Each to their own, I've just heard opinions about things like that before. :)

    • 17th Sep 2016
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    That's fair enough but the post is about whether they need spotlight if they can't afford it. I was simply suggesting there are other options until this person can.

    • 17th Sep 2016
    • 12
  • Tatjana Anders

    Actor

    If I were you, I would keep Spotlight and then really try and push yourself out there. Apply to as many jobs as possible - if you're with an agent, nudge him/her all the time for suitable jobs! Make the most of it. I think getting off Spotlight is a step backwards in your acting career...

    • 17th Sep 2016
    • 13
  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    Hi James, why have you dug up a post from someone from six years ago who is no longer on castingcallpro and probably not on spotlight either? I think that answers the question that they probably aren't working in the profession anymore?

    • 18th Sep 2016
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I am currently in a show at Shoreditch Town Hall which has just received 4**** from Time Out. A breakdown for it was sent to me from Spotlight, as I have signed up for breakdowns to be sent to me. Yes, 9 times out of 10, you won't land the job, but that is how this business works. There was even a job for Phyllida Lloyd recently on Spotlight; I would have applied if I wasn't working already. And a job which was a BIG break in my career came when I was agentless; the director found me on Spotlight. Do it as soon as you can, alongside Dramanic, Shooting People, CCP etc.

    • 18th Sep 2016
    • 15
  • James Pimenta

    Actor

    I never said it was not worthwhile being on Spotlight! What I was trying to communicate is one needs to be a selling tool to make it (in general) more worthwhile and more likely for the Spotlight Sub to pay for itself.

    The post is about 'cannot afford this year', which will be the case every year.

    Every person is different and have different stories to tell. However, some people are better equipped to deal with the pressure. It Is really down to themselves to be the judge of that.

    Yes, luck can have a part to play but I believe you need to make your own luck in this industry. Plenty of people have paid more than what they need to, but I also agree 'lucky big breaks' do happen if people are in the right place at the right time.

    • 19th Sep 2016
    • 16
  • Mark Lisseman

    Actor

    Yes - I'm curious where this came from after 6 years!

    Anyway... The majority of CDs in the UK use Spotlight because they know they can get trained and/or qualified actors (hence the entry requirements). This is a good thing. It saves them time and hassle. Of course you can find work elsewhere, that goes without saying. However, being on Spotlight increases your chance enormously. If you meet the criteria to be on it and aren't (through choice), you're doing yourself a great disservice.

    • 21st Sep 2016
    • 17