Spotlight catch 22

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hello there!

    I am currently a bit stumped and could do with a little advice. Over the last three years I have been building up my experience and skills via the hands on approach, taking on as many interesting roles, paid or unpaid that come my way. Now having been employed on four different accounts for paid lead roles in short films (not student or amateur) I thought I was in a position to join spotlight. However as it turns out spotlight don't consider paid work on short films to be professional credits. Where do I go from here? Where do I get this paid work on a recognized TV show or film if I can't access spotlight to find it and can't get an agent because I don't have spotlight? It's the infamous catch 22. Hopefully I am being a little simple and there is an obvious solution I'm looking over.

    • 15th Nov 2012
    • 4991
    • 23
  • Angharhad Owen



    I'm sure others will come along with far more sage advice than I but i'll get the ball rolling

    firstly...could do with a bit more detail, did spotlight decline your application? if so do they give you a any feedback and if not why not ask for some? the worst that can happen is they say no or don't reply but you never know

    above all don't feel demoralised, i'm not sure if there is a limit to when you can apply again - ask them - but you can - so keep building your CV and your Showreel you've had 4 paid credits without having spotlight or an agent so keep looking in the places you have been and others - Starnow, CCP, Mandy, PCR, Castnet, Castweb, Casting now, etc etc

    Are you in equity? why not use the money you would have spent on Spotlight to join equity send them the evidence of the paid work you did. i'm no expert but having equity membership may well help your application.

    I can't remember (or just don't know) enough about the application process BUT did you only list your paid credits? also do you have evidence from the paid work - contract, invoices etc.

    i'm going to assume that your spotlight application was roughly the same as your profile on here so the following is just my observations on that.

    you need to put more info on your profiles/applications

    firstly - you list your showreel as 'showreel - roughcut' I don't know if roughcut is you saying it's 'rough' showreel or if its the name of a project the material is cut from. if its the former ditch the 'Roughcut' also get some contact details on the showreel your name etc is great but how do people get hold of you? also can you name the scenes? it was difficult to tell if they were from lots of different projects - don;t be afraid to tell people what they are looking at.

    next ..every single detail you have about stuff that you have worked on needs to go onto your CV Directors dates wheres and whens. for example you list Lady Macbeth as a theatre credit for pheonix - and that's it.. is pheonix the name of the theatre company or the venue? the acting world is tiny and people know most venues and theatre companies

    your training - again if its MET Film School put MET Film School - say how long you were there and the full name of the course was acting or was it screen acting?

    the rule of lists is people read the first one, scan the next two, skip the rest and read the last one order your CV in a way that gives a stronger sense of what you are about - i.e you did SCREEN acting at met FILM school and have been working in SHORT FILM and COMMERCIALs since then

    • 13th Nov 2012
    • 1
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    i called up and spoke to them over the phone and the lady i spoke to told me short films to not count as credits, even if they are professional and you were paid.

    thankyou so much for taking the time to give me all that advice!

    • 13th Nov 2012
    • 2
  • Larry Rew


    Spotlight charges 150 Quid then turns a potential subscriber down because Spotlight think a 'short' paid professional film is not a legit credit ! Theyre having a larf; Equity needs to have a word with them about that,get them up to date, plenty of established Directors make Short films, with experienced casts, its not just film schools.

    • 13th Nov 2012
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I had the exact same problem Scarlet and it's so frustrating and demoralising.

    I did short films that were paid because I knew Spotlight had previously accepted people with those as credits and yet I was rejected. I think they have changed things recently! I also have a friend who was sure she'd done less than me but she was accepted. She thinks it was because she had an agent and I didn't at the time.

    My only slightly rubbish advice is to just keep going. Try to find whatever you can and also work with people who although perhaps the plan was to give expenses, would change that to minimal payment and write you a contract.

    Also, put down absolutely everything you can think of on your Spotlight application, not just the four you think fit best and see what they say. It's better to be asked to provide proof than to have missed out because you missed off a minor credit.

    When I met representatives from Spotlight and Equity at the Edinburgh festival they were really surprised that I hadn't been accepted.

    Luckily I gained an agent after the festival and around the same time my Spotlight was accepted. Not sure if that was connected or not!

    I'd say it's definitely worth joining Equity - great advice and a feeling of being part of something. And it still has that badge of honour feeling :-)

    Big hugs



    • 13th Nov 2012
    • 4
  • John Perkins


    Hi Scarlet

    I agree with much of the feedback you have received already. I also want to say you are doing very well at getting paid work over the short period of time. There is a lot of snootiness in the business don't let that hold you back. What Spotlight is trying to do is cut out people who, "just want to be famous" So they stipulate you have to have gone to a recognised Drama school, not just done a music video or been an extra. I would just go online and fill in the application pay the money. And if they reject you go to Equity. You can be a member of Equity

    All the Best


    P.s I also agree you should change the title of your show-real

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 5
  • Mark Kempner


    Crikey!! if Spotlight are not accepting actors who have not attended a recognised training or drama school......that's me gone after 22 years in the biz!! OMG....I'm a fraud!!!

    Not even sure it can be a tie up with Equity ...or lack of Equity be honest. ....but yes you should join your Union.

    I guess they will need to explain why: having auditioned for and or completed a paid gig....they do not count that as a prof credit?!!! I think I would be inclined to go back to them, and ask to speak to someone higher up, and politely ask for a sheet of rules to be clearly laid out, so that you know what is required. They must have a joining criteria of some sort?

    That said, your CV does not read like a list of professional credits….but if they were….then you need to prove it to Spotlight accordingly.

    This is precisely why I would want a jobs graded system bought in…which would tackle this issue perfectly!!

    In a way I am glad they appear to be rigorous....but as far as the credit you mention… sounds a little extreme to me from what you tell us.

    THE REEL: (my pet subject!) is fine ….though the 1st clip is horribly over compressed….and the 2nd clip is very very dark. However, I agree …change it from "Roughcut" too….My showreel. Or …if it is a work in progress - rough cut, then finish it off.

    Good luck, keep us informed.

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 6
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hi Scarlet,

    I have agree, you need to give Spotlight a call and discuss your credits; where you fall short and ask for clear criteria for acceptance into the Spotlight Directory.

    I am surprised that Spoltlight have stated to you that they don't consider paid work on a short film as an acceptable credit when Spotlight themselves are constantly posting casting calls for feature films, short films, student films all for expenses only, not even paid!

    I can see from your showreel, that it is just a matter of time before you get it from roughcut (and it is indeed a work in progress) to something substantial. You've definitely got it, whatever it is; you just need your next productions to be well produced and you'll have the material to replace the first and second scenes clips from the current reel.

    Best regards to all.

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 7
  • Christopher Poke



    This is bonkers. Spotlight certainly don't stop you listing short films as credits once you're in, and employers need to know about these. I would say:

    1. Join Equity anyway. They seem to be on to this anomaly, and your membership will help them and you to change this situation.

    2. Get some more theatre credits if you can. They will be accepted, even if actually unpaid (fringe, profit share, etc.), as long as they are not with a declared amateur group.

    3. Remember: Spotlight wants your money!

    Best of luck,

    Christopher Poke

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thank you for all the responses guys!

    the show reel feedback is very handy. It is currently a rough cut, scraped together to fill the void left by my previous one being very out of date, i am currently waiting on the finished product. I think its in the wrong format to play properly on here as well as everything else!

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 9
  • Nigel Peever


    Did spotlight say anything about your headshot? When I looked for Rod Vass I couldn't find him as a pro photographer only as a fine artist on a website. Nor could I find him in the CCP list of photographers. So your lack of professional credits may not be the only problem.

    Rules are rules and the criteria are there to maintain a professional standard.

    You should be able to get enough credits to gain entry to spotlight in your first year if you work hard at it.

    May I ask how you obtained for your headshot? Did you pay for it, was it a favour etc.

    Don't panic, even Spotlight is not a magic bullet! Just work hard and hope for a lot of luck! Everybody in spotlight at the moment has had to fulfill the same criteria and there are thousands and thousands of them!

    Good luck!

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 10
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    If a short film was paid, I see no reason for Spotlight to not consider it a professional credit. It's ludicrous. If that really is the case, I would like to hear their explanation for it, because it won't stand up to any reasonable argument.

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 11
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    i received this statement from spotlight in an email -

    Actors appearing in Spotlight must have professional acting experience, or training at a recognized drama school. The drama school would need to be part of the Conference of Drama schools or on a course accredited by the National Council of Drama Training. The training needs to be a minimum of one year full time.

    If you have not trained at a drama school you would need to have professional acting experience. This would be a minimum of four jobs in either theatre, film or television. This must be work where you were employed on a professional basis as a featured actor. Work in Short Films, Commercials, Idents, Corporates, as an extra, walk-on, dancer and promotional work would not count.

    Yes my head shots were an exchange of favors rather than money, i did some reference modeling in exchange for them. I got my hair cut short for a role and needed replacement head shots asap. I am in the process of saving for a new set at the moment. Although spotlight didn't mention any problem with the existing ones i shall take on your advice.

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 12
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I am pleased they are being vigorous in who they take on, as someone else has said, it is generally a good sign. However, pro actors DO work in commercials (especially when we have dialogue), corporates, idents and short films. PAID, that is - with contracts.

    Also Spotlight advertise these jobs, some of them by top CD's, so I see some conflict there with Spotlight joining criteria. I also hear that unpaid *stuff* is advertised on Spotlight. Go figure.

    I happen to like your headshot, by the way. Keep going - you'll get there. I remember being grilled by Equity 20 years ago as part of my application process - (when it was a closed shop). They took me on - and they were wholly right to grill us. See it as a challenge, play their game and suddenly you will fall in. X

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 13
  • Nigel Peever


    Hi again,

    I hope I'm being positive and I am genuinely trying to help.

    The criteria that spotlight have given are clear.

    Sadly MET do not fall into the list of recognised drama schools as listed by The conference of Drama Scools

    So you are out of luck there. Never mind I didn't train at one of them either!

    Your other credits are at the moment a little thin even lady Macbeth when you click on it is for Phoenix (sounds good so far) then underneath extra agency oops.... We've just lost a huge chunk of credibility. That is not to say that you could have been the best Lady Macbeth ever! But we become suspicious because that element doesn't appear on your CV no Director and no you see what I Mean? Your best credit and yet we go eh? What's that about?

    Your commercial... Great a commercial but for what? Who filmed it? Again a big eh? What is that about?

    Your music video seems fine but put the director in the director box the company show up with a lot of other artists. So it looks great!

    Your photo is Ok, you are a very good looking young lady, but your hair hides your face, your hand is strangely positioned in your hair, your eyes only half way up the picture instead of the usual two thirds, the contrast for a BW seems a bit washy. So straight away I questioned if it was a pro shot that you had paid good money for and sure enough you've answered that. No, A professional actors most basic and essential tool done as a favour by a mate.

    You can get the necessary credits! you are now on CCP, apply for everything you can! There is a lot of work on here, join equity, find an agent, the system is hard enough to crack when you work within it, you are going to need a lot more luck than ever to work outside it.

    Once again I mean this as helpful advice from someone who has been grinding through the mill a long time, it is not I repeat not a criticism of someone who has put their head above the parapet when she is starting out.

    Once again good luck!

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 14
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    When you apply it says can you answer one of these questions;

    1} Did you train at a CDS drama school OR study a BA/MA in Performance?

    2} Have 4 professional credits.

    I studied a BA in Drama and got accepted.

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 15
  • Jenna Sharpe


    Not sure how the hell I got accepted into Spotlight back when I applied, must have caught someone on a good day :p

    It does seem rather unfair but you have done well to get some work without Spotlight or an agent so well done.

    As for headshots, I have seen worse believe me. It's a very nice photo of you but could be improved on and the hair over your eye has to go!

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 16
  • Tony Burden


    As an aside to this for anybody else waiting to subscribe to spotlight, you can commence building your profile at any time and return to update it and change it when ever you like. Then when you have the money it's just a matter of making arrangements for paying and of course the acceptance criteria which alas still applies.

    • 14th Nov 2012
    • 17
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    The trick with Spotlight is don't just tell them about your paid acting credits but include everything you have ever done in your application. Then they can pick the stuff they like to count as your qualifying credits.

    You should definitely include any extra work you have done on well known films. They seem to be more interested in projects they recognise rather than what we would consider professional credits.

    Also don't worry about applying again and again after you receive a rejection. This will mean that you can try with different data and photos. You also may get lucky with who checks your application if you send it a few times.

    Finally, remember to follow their instructions exactly. I got rejected once because I uploaded a colour photo as my main picture when they want black and white for the book.

    • 15th Nov 2012
    • 18
  • Nigel Peever


    Sorry :-) I cant agree with Jeanette about including extra work and apparently any small friendly amateur dramatic societies like the woodhouse players either. in your spotlight application.

    Slaps wristies! :-) naughty naughty! If I can spot them in a moment then so can casting directors.

    But obviously everyone is entitled to their point of view.

    • 15th Nov 2012
    • 19