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If you’re a professional actor in the UK, then it’s highly likely that you have a Spotlight profile. However, not all actors use their Spotlight profile to its full extent. 

Did you know that every bit of information entered on your profile is searchable to casting professionals, or that casting professionals can filter performers based on whether they have a showreel on their profile or not? There are plenty of things you can do to your Spotlight profile to increase your casting chances.

At the Spotlight Prize, we spoke to casting director James Pearson of Pearson Casting. Pearson Casting have done the casting for West End and London-based shows such as Operation Mincemeat, SIX the Musical, RENT and Jerry Springer the Opera. Most recently, it’s been announced that they’ll be doing the casting for the upcoming Starlight Express at Wembley Park Theatre.

We asked James what tips he had for actors to help them get found through Spotlight. Here is what he shared:

Your Spotlight profile isn’t just an online page – it connects you to the industry, helps you find work and grants you access to exclusive events and workshops. However, James Pearson points out that, “A lot of actors don’t use it as a tool. They use it as something they’re supposed to buy.” He advises, “Really delve into what your Spotlight page is and how, in essence, you can use it.” 

Take a look at the wealth of knowledge available to you through the News and Advice section on Spotlight – particularly the content about Spotlight profiles. We have advice ranging from using Spotlight as a self-represented performer to helping casting directors find you on Spotlight.

All of this advice is aimed at helping you understand what your Spotlight profile can do for your acting career and ensuring you have the best chance possible at finding your next role. 

A showreel is essential for showcasing your ability as an actor. Writing about your training and experience on your Spotlight profile is useful to help you come up in searches – however, giving casting directors the ability to see your skills in action is what’s going to get you on their shortlists.

When it comes to roles you’ve submitted yourself for, James Pearson says, “If you have no credits, if you haven’t trained, [but] you have a showreel, the chances of you being seen are near to 100%.”

To upload a showreel to your Spotlight profile:

If you don’t have a showreel on your Spotlight profile, it may be because you don’t currently have one. We have plenty of advice on how to make a showreel and James Pearson insists that, “Most casting directors will say [a showreel] doesn’t have to be professionally done.”

You don’t have to spend a fortune getting a showreel made and it’s possible to create a showreel with no professional experience. 

“Everybody has a smartphone,” James says. “Set up a two shot, which is two smartphones on two £10 little tripods. Pop it on your mate, pop it on you and do a scene that you like and that can be enough. And then just edit it so that it’s on you and you look and sound great.” 

This goes for self-tapes as well. Casting professionals are looking at your acting ability, so as long as you don’t distract from that with poor quality audio or strange things in the background on your recording, your self-tape and showreel will achieve what they need to.

James adds, “Casting directors just want to see who you are. So, get something down. Just make sure you sound and look great in terms of we can see and hear you.”

A massive thanks to James Pearson for his advice! Take a look at our News & Advice section for more useful tips from casting directors.

Image credit: Joanna Nicole Photography