Welcome to Spotlight! This page is designed to support you on your Spotlight journey and give you and your child all the guidance you may need along the way.
I’ve included some of my favourite articles and top tips from our expert industry friends – casting directors, agents, headshot photographers, and licensing specialists, to name just a few. Whenever you find a spare moment, sign in and have a read. Each little nugget of insight will be helpful, particularly if this is a whole new world for you and your child.
Let’s start with our
Agent Engagement and Advice
Connecting with your child’s agent and growing that relationship is an important part of the process. Every agent will have their own way of working, so getting to know yours is key. Here are some articles to help you get started:
- What Young Performer Agents Want You to Know
- Young Performer Agents Bonnie & Betty’s Tips for Parents of Young Performers
- Advice For Young Performers From Industry Experts
- What Parents Need to Know about Working with Their Child’s Agent
Agent Professional Organisations
These organisations have established a code of good agent practice and all agents who become members are expected to adhere to this and work collectively to promote best practices within our industry for their clients. It’s a good starting point if you’re looking for more information about how agencies operate and what is considered best practice. The AYPA is specifically for agents representing a younger clientele.
Casting Director Tips
The role of the casting director is to find the right performers for the right roles. They work across a variety of production types, including stage, commercial, feature film and TV, and use Spotlight every day to cast these productions. Enjoy their words of wisdom in the articles I’ve highlighted below.
- Casting Young Performers
- Casting Heartstopper
- Film and TV Castings for Young Performers
- Sonia Allam’s Audition Tips for Young Performers
Casting Director Professional Organisations
These organisations have been formed by casting directors joining together to establish a recognised standard of professionalism and best practices in the industry throughout all stages of the casting process. They’re a perfect place for you to research casting director names and see if they’re attached to one of these recognised organisations, what their body of work is, and also to gain a little more understanding of the role of the casting director.
Spotlight Profile Tips
It’s important to keep your child’s Spotlight profile up to date, in particular the headshot, height and skills. Overall, you want to make sure the profile is a current representation of your child. This is crucial for the casting director, and really helpful for your agent too. A good rule of thumb is that less can often be more – it’s easier to spot the important information on a concise profile than one that’s overpopulated.
These two experienced headshot photographers have some great advice for parents and young performers when it comes to choosing the right photographer and getting the most out of your session:
Self-taping can very often be the method used for first-round auditions, so it’s important to be as prepared as possible. We have some wonderful advice in the articles below, but the vital tip is to always film in landscape, not portrait, so hold your phone widthways not lengthways.
- Self-taping Tips for Young Performers
- Setting Up and Filming Young Performer Self-tapes
- Lighting and Sound for Self-tapes
- Editing and Sharing Self-tapes
- How to Edit your Self-tapes and Showreels
Safeguarding and Duty of Care
Safeguarding and duty of care is paramount at all times for children working in the entertainment world. Your agent will be experienced in the licensing and chaperoning requirements, so always be guided by them. These articles will inform you of the processes, but an important fact to know is that each job requires a new licence application.
- UK Licensing System
- What You Need To Know About Licensing in the UK
- What You Need to Know About Overseas Licensing
- National Network for Children in Employment & Entertainment (NNCEE)
- Spotlight Safeguarding Policy
Spotlight Industry Articles
Here are some more targeted content and podcasts that may become relevant to some of you during your Spotlight journey. For example: if your child is offered a job on tour, or if they decide they would like to look at performing as a future career.
- Training Routes for Emerging Performers
- Summer School Courses you can Book this Year
- What Parents Should Know About Touring for Young Performers
- What Parents and Young Actors Need to Know About Working with Intimacy Coordinators
We have several podcast episodes that feature casting directors, agents and young performers themselves to help give insight into how the industry works:
- Casting Director Verity Naughton on How Young Performers Get Theatre Work
- Should You Have Multiple Agents as a Young Performer?
- Casting Young Performers for Screen
Establishing a support network with other parents of young performers can be really helpful if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the new information and unknown territory. Sometimes the best advice comes from first-hand experience, so here are some of our most popular articles from parents of performers:
- 19 Tips for Parents of Young Performers Starting Out
- A Parent Answers Your Young Performer Questions
- The Journey of a Young Performer and His Mum
We often hear and use the term, ‘The highs and lows of being a performer’, and there is of course a reason for this – the industry really can be full of them. There are the extreme highs of getting a job, opening night, being on set, and seeing yourself up on the big screen, but equally, there are auditions that don’t come about, ‘pencils’ that don’t quite become a job, even shows that aren’t a success and close early. Finding a way to support your child’s wellbeing, as well as your own, to manage their expectations and yours isn’t always easy. These articles are a good place to start, as well as reaching out to your child’s agent, other parents, and the team here at Spotlight too.
- How to be a Confident and Resilient Young Performer
- A Parent’s Guide to Mental and Physical Health for Young Performers
- Powerful Pause Meditation: Pre-audition for Young Performers
- Powerful Pause Meditation: Calming Nerves for Young Performers
Industry Best Practice
There is an enormous amount of work done by individuals and organisations within our industry to promote best practices as we continue to evolve, develop, and sometimes catch up with the ever-changing world we live in. These resources will hopefully show you the commitment we all have to make the performing arts industry a fairer and more inclusive community:
- Good Practice Guidelines for Parents, Agents, Casting Directors and Producers
- Best Practice: Self-tape and Zoom for Commercials
- Best Practice: Self-tape and Zoom for Scripted Drama
- Understanding Neurodivergency in the Performing Arts with Triple A
- Good Practice Working with Autistic Artists
- Good Practice in British Sign Language (BSL) and the Arts
- The Diverse Squad (PMA)
- The Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Group (CDG)
- Equity Guidelines for Working with the LGBT+ Community
- Employment of Children in Theatre & Film – Ireland
These links are specifically about things related to your membership, so have a quick look here to see if your query is covered, and if not just submit a request on the Spotlight Help Centre.
- Spotlight Help Centre
- Making the Most of Your Young Performer Membership
- Spotlight Bursary Scheme
- Spotlight Name Checker
Image credit: Alex Charilaou