SPOTLIGHT - ENGAGING WITH OUR MEMBERS
Since COVID19 has happened it has never felt more important for me personally, to connect with our members and to support them through this difficult time. My name is Mel and I work at Spotlight, my job title is Membership Engagement Executive. I am extremely passionate about the industry, all my hobbies outside of work pretty much culminate in anything to do with the arts.
Ironically as a teenager I strongly disliked studying drama, which my secondary school drama teacher loves to remind me of, you would never have guessed that this was the job I would end up in. For me, the arts is about escapism, and about bringing stories to life, the arts have given me the confidence to be who I want to be and for that I will be eternally grateful. I'm a positive person and look for the best in a situation and I've found the lockdown has allowed me a moment to pause and refocus so here I am writing down my thoughts on what has been the most extraordinary of times. I was a bit apprehensive about what to write but as soon as I started typing, the words just seemed to flow out of me.
I wanted to write to you all because l imagine, like many of you, before I worked at Spotlight, I just saw Spotlight as a logo, I had no idea about the workings behind this company. I worked as a young performer agent for many years and although I knew what Spotlight was I had no idea what really happened behind the scenes. Three years ago I landed a job in the membership support team and finally got to see behind the scenes of Spotlight HQ in Leicester Square.
This company has heart and passion at its core, our company values are human, proud, supportive, professional and passionate. I know every single person who works here by name and cannot wait for the day when we can all head to the pub again for an after work drink. In the mornings even though we are all working remotely, we continue to greet each other on our internal communications channel, it fills my heart with joy to see those messages every day. We all wait for our Head of Publishing to say MORNING!! as this is how she greets us every day when in the office, with enthusiasm and positivity.
Life as we know it, in a very short period of time has changed drastically. Our industry that we all love has been stopped in its tracks and things on a day-to-day basis which give us great comfort are no longer able to exist. With our data governance officer we used to hypothetically mark out continuity plans for certain eventualities, like, if there was a fire in the building, or if we had no internet. It actually happened once, we ended up with no internet for the day, not a fun day at Spotlight HQ, let me tell you. Never once did we plan for a global pandemic that would drive us all to work from home and obliterate our industry overnight.
From the moment it was ordered by the Government at 5pm on Monday 16th March for all non-essential travel to stop, the team at Spotlight have been working from home. We thrive on working collectively and all of a sudden we had to deal with the ever-changing goalposts of our personal lives whilst continuing on a day-to-day basis to support our members.
Work flowing through the linkboard slowed down, however over the past few weeks we have seen some indications that things are starting to pick up again. However, breakdowns (job advertisements) is not the only tool used by casting directors. Over 100,000 searches a month are normally made on Spotlight by casting directors searching for actors for specific roles., Pretty much everything on your profile is searchable, which is why everything must be up-to-date and spelt correctly. Our IT and product teams has been working on some incredible changes, which will appear live on members accounts over the next few months. This is the culmination of years of hard work and we are so excited to finally be able to share it with you.
As a company some of the things we have done to support our members through this time include the introduction of 121’s with casting directors and agents. We have increased our in house Spotlight career advice sessions (which on a personal note have been extremely enjoyable and motivational). We have set up an online showcase page for our members who are graduating drama school this year, we have set up a life coaching scheme, hosted online webinars and created an online digital casting service. For more detailed information on what we have worked on so far please head to the news and advice section of the Spotlight website.
On a personal note, I would like to say thank you to every single member who has communicated with us over this difficult time. Each message received really does brighten our day so thank you for taking the time to check in on us and to spread some kindness. This is an extremely tough period but all we can do is stick together and my hope is that we will come out of this stronger and that the arts will experience the beauty of something similar to the roaring 1920s.
Mel studied drama at Loughborough University, before heading into the industry and interning at a number of places including Hubbard casting, the National student drama festival and a number of adult agencies. She then took up a full-time job as a Young Performer agents assistant, where she remained for five years and worked her way up to being a Junior agent. Three years ago, she then moved to Spotlight.
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