A Guide for Parents: Everything You Need to Know About the Industry
Prepare your child for success in a tough and vibrant industry - here’s all our best advice to get you started!
Spotlight is the home of casting, where your child can get their start on stage or screen. They are eligible for membership by having representation from an agent. We work closely with agents and casting directors to help our members become successful performers, by providing the best acting work on the Spotlight Link. New roles are added every day, casting for the best young talent in the UK and internationally. If your child’s agent asks you to take up Spotlight membership, it’s to help them on their way to a wonderful career in this industry.
Here’s everything you need to know to help your child on their way to success:
Make the most of your child’s Spotlight membership
Spotlight membership entitles your child to a huge variety of workshops and events throughout the year, alongside one-to-one career advice, industry news and advice. You can find lots of the best advice for young performers on our site, as well as in your regular email newsletter. Make sure to check your account preferences so you receive these!
Signing in to your child’s profile for the first time will prompt you to upgrade to your own username and password. This will allow you to view and edit the profile (subject to your child’s agent and their preferences) and to renew their membership each year.
- Learn more about upcoming events with Spotlight, held around the UK and Ireland
Create the best possible profile on Spotlight
Your child’s profile is their first impression to the industry, and should include a natural headshot, a concise summary of skills, any training and previous credits. Headshots must be up to date, which means a commitment to having these taken again as your child grows! Keep all information as up to date as possible, including height, playing age, and your location.
- Learn more about how to edit a young performer profile on Spotlight to present the best possible first impression online
Foster a good relationship with your child’s agent
Agents are essential in supporting the performer, to help them find the right roles and put their name forward. Using Spotlight, agents are able to use the Spotlight Link to submit your child’s Spotlight profile for roles. At a Spotlight event, agent Richard Cook said:
“The role of the agent is to get their clients into the room… You absolutely have to be a member of Spotlight to be in the game - it’s how everybody connects.”
Your agent can help guide you on how to best present your child on their profile, including helping choose the perfect headshot, and advise on the quality of their showreel or voicereel.
- Read Scream Management’s 5 Tips for Success as a Young Performer for the essential tips from a young performer agency.
- Learn the top tips for getting the best young performer headshot from MAD Photography's Mark Davis.
- Listen to our podcast on How Parents and Agents Work Together for Young Performers
Help your child prepare for the audition room
Auditions can be nerve-wracking at the best of times, but there are plenty of ways you can help your child prepare for the experience. Younger performers should worry less about perfection and more about showing willingness to take direction, and good instincts.
As a parent, there is a commitment required to either attend auditions with your child, or arrange for a chaperone. Chaperoning also extends to any work acquired. Licensing should also be obtained for children under school leaving age, in order to work as a performer and this is arranged through local councils. Your child's agent will be able to advise you on the information they require when applying for a licence for them.
- Learn more about the essential ways to help your child prepare for the audition process - including what to expect in the room!
- Read our young performer George Sear’s insight into the importance of the chaperone
Understand the role of the casting director
Casting directors are tasked with looking for the best talent for each role on stage or screen, and work through myriad applications to find the best fit. The casting process is complex, and often there are hundreds of profiles to consider. This is why Spotlight works to help you get all your child’s information in one place, to ensure the casting director has access to everything they need to know about your child and can view this as quickly as possible.
It’s for this reason that the first 30 seconds of any showreel are vital, as is having an effective and accurate headshot. These are the first things a casting director will see when considering your child for a role.
A lot of casting is also moving now towards self-taping, as opposed to auditions in the room - this is great for applying to roles in other locations, but does require a little bit of forward-thinking to help your child make the most of their submitted self-tape.
- Learn more about what casting directors do and what they like to see in a performer
- Learn more about how to self-tape at home
Be prepared for the highs and the lows!
It is a really tough industry, and there’s a long road before the glamour of the red carpet! It pays to be prepared for both good times and bad. Rejection is never personal, however, and you can do a lot to support your child through this to help them have a long and vibrant career.
- Read EastEnders star Seraphina Beh on overcoming rejection for a young performer’s own insight into the realities of the job