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Practical tips to improve your chances of being found by casting directors via Spotlight search.

As well as using the Spotlight Link to send breakdowns to performers and agents, casting professionals also use Spotlight to search for performers. There are 5,000-10,000 searches carried out every day, and with specific attributes, accents, skills or credits all being used by casting directors to filter through performer profiles, it’s important to make sure your profile is correctly filled in.

What casting directors see when they search for performers, and the different criteria they can search by.

Our dedicated team have shared their tips for making sure your profile appears in all relevant searches to help you be discovered.

Professional Credits

Everything you add to the Credits section of your profile is searchable by casting professionals so ensure you keep this up-to-date and include as much information as possible.

  1. Apart from the ‘about me’ section of your profile, which is a free text area, you should always include credits in the designated Credits area so they appear in search.
  2. Include as much information as possible, including your role, the production’s name, year, company and director.
  3. If you’ve forgotten who the director was, dig out old call sheets and scripts or spend some time online to find out their name.
  4. Once you’ve finished a job, remember to move it from the ‘about me’ section and into Credits.
  5. Check you’ve spelled everything correctly as any typos or misspellings will not appear in search.
  6. If you include a production or stage still, the photo descriptions are not searchable so make sure you’ve listed the information correctly in your Credits.
If you’re shortlisted for a role on the basis that you have a particular skill then make sure you can actually do it

Skills, Accents and Languages

Never underestimate that a particular skill may be just what a casting director is looking for. If you are a talented musician, singer, sportsperson or linguist then make sure to add this to your profile.

  1. In most instances, you can indicate if you are highly skilled (which is also a specific search filter) so take time to review what you currently have on your profile.
  2. Don’t add too many skills and don’t over-use the highly skilled feature.
  3. Be honest about your level of ability, if you haven’t ridden a horse for 10 years then it may be a good idea to remove it from your profile!
  4. If you learn a new skill (like fire breathing!) make sure you add it to your Skills section as you never know what someone is looking for in their next big project.
  5. If you have a particular skill such as voice over artist (and where e.g. you also have a home studio or access to one) then do add it.
  6. If you’re shortlisted for a role on the basis that you have a particular skill then make sure you can actually do it!
  7. If you’re listing accents it’s a good idea to also include voice clips on your profile so casting professionals can hear what you sound like once they’ve found you. Learn from Daniel Kaluuya and be truthful about what accents you can do and your ability level.

© copyright 2020 BBC // Watch the original video on The Graham Norton Show’s YouTube Channel

Appearance and Nationality

Searches can be done by Physical Characteristics, Appearance and Nationality so ensure all of these fields on your profile accurately describe how you currently look.

  1. Ensure you complete the height, eye colour and hair colour fields within the Basic Details section as these are all used to search for performers.
  2. Add a minimum and maximum playing age but do be realistic about the age range you can actually play.
  3. Make sure you enter your correct nationality. This should be the place where you hold a passport or have full citizenship.
  4. Appearance or family origin can be shown by using the My Appearances section on the Spotlight profile.
  5. It’s important to complete both the Nationality and the My Appearances sections of your profile. For example, if a casting professional is looking for someone to play a Chinese character, they will search for ‘Chinese’ using the Appearance section, however, if they are looking for someone who can work on a project based in China, they will search ‘Chinese’ using the Nationality section.


Casting professionals using Location to search for performers is becoming increasingly popular so make sure you add yours correctly.

  1. Ensure you list your primary location first.
  2. You can add up to three locations where you have a base.

Help yourself be found. As well as making sure your photos and showreel are the best they can be, take some time to regularly check and update your profile so it can be properly searched by casting directors.

Remember our website is designed so that search engines will not include Spotlight profiles in their search results. Your profile is only searchable by registered industry professionals. If you want to share your profile with someone who is not a Spotlight subscriber then you can do this using your view PIN.

‘About Me’ and Training

The free text entered into these sections is searchable. Casting professionals can search for key words, and if that word is in your ‘About Me’ or training section, you’ll come up in their results. So it’s important to make every word count!

  1. The ‘About Me’ section is ideal for listing useful information that doesn’t fit anywhere else on your profile, such as productions you’ve recently appeared in, more details about your heritage, and unusual skills that might not appear in the ‘Skills’ section.
  2. You don’t need to list every course/workshop you’ve ever attended in your ‘Training’ section. Focus on your key training, such as drama school. Or, if you’ve done very specialised training such as ‘L’ecole Jacques Lecoq’, then this may be worth including too.
  3. Think about the type of searches you want to come up in, and which relevant words casting professionals are likely to use. For example, if you want to focus on comedy roles, phrases such as ‘stand-up’ and ‘comedian’ will serve you better than ‘dancer’ or ‘football’.
  4. Casting professionals conduct their searches to narrow down their choice of performers, so they’re unlikely to search for broad terms that most people will have on their profile. Ensure you convey your uniqueness and make yourself stand out.
  5. Keep both sections neat and up to date, and don’t forget to adapt the information to suit the roles you’re putting yourself forward for.

Ethnicity or Heritage

The Ethnicity or Heritage tool contains over 800 ethnicities, plus a free text option to ensure performers are able to accurately tell casting directors about their heritage. Casting directors will soon be able to search for a performer with a specific ethnicity or heritage, so make sure to add yours to your profile to avoid missing out on opportunities.

If you don’t want this information displayed on your Spotlight profile, then selecting ‘No’ under ‘Do you want your ethnicity or heritage displayed on your profile?’ will keep it off your profile whilst still allowing you to come up in relevant searches.

If you need further help, get in touch or take a look at our News & Advice page for more acting advice and casting tips.