Interview with Ben Jones from StarsInMyEyes dot TV

StarsInMyEyes dot TV is a very established website in the entertainment industry. Their online service has helped countless people get their foot in the door with productions and companies. If you want to work in the entertainment industry but don’t know how to go about it this is the website for you. I managed to grab a few minutes with Ben Jones from to grill him and for him to give me the lowdown on the company.

What is Stars in My Eyes all about?

StarsInMyEyes dot TV has evolved from a former web site called The Catwalk which provided information solely about modelling opportunities. Our research showed that there was a huge demand for information on opportunities throughout the entire entertainment industry and a lot of people either didn’t know where to look at all or were spending a huge amount of time searching numerous different sources. The name was chosen because we’d expected our core subscriber base to be ‘first timers’ looking for a way to get ‘on the ladder’, however we’ve found that there is a surprising number of experienced &/or trained &/or professional people that have registered and added profiles to the site – we believe this is because of the quality and range of listings we have, which can range from requirements for amateur dancers and models right up to auditions for starring roles in West End shows!
So I guess you could say that ‘we’re about providing people from all walks of life, be they complete amateurs or fully fledged professionals, with a straightforward, accessible means of finding suitable opportunities in the entertainment industry!’.

How long has Stars in My Eyes been going?

The current site has been in operation for approximately six months, prior to which The Catwalk was running for a little over a year.

How many people do you currently have signed up for your service?

At the end of November 2006 we had around 1,500 registered subscribers, with a database of around 35,000 people who’ve registered an interest but haven’t yet got around to taking up a subscription!

How does you service help young people get noticed in the entertainment industry?

Every registered subscriber is able to set up their own profile on our site. They can add up to 5 photographs as well as information about their experience, their ‘personality’ and basic details such as height, hair colour, etc along with an actable ‘age range’. All of the profiles on the site are visible to anyone visiting the site but for security reasons profile holders can only be contacted by agents that are registered with us and even then the agents don’t have direct contact. We’re possibly going to allow verified agents to get access to telephone numbers at some stage (profile holders will have an option to withhold this information if they wish), but this would only be where we’ve been able to satisfy ourselves that it’s a bona fide agent. We hope to soon be adding a facility for subscribers to upload show reels, audio demos and CVs.

Which companies, producers, directors etc. do you work with?

Well that would be rather a long list! To drop a few ‘names’ into the hat we currently have listings from the BBC, ITV, Channel 5, Endemol (Big Brother, etc) plus various other big name production companies. In fact, while I was in the process of answering this particular question we had a request to add listings for ‘Ladette to Lady’ and ‘Scrapheap Challenge’

Are there any names of people that have come through your system that we may have heard of or seen on TV?

Not that we’ve noticed but I think we have to be realistic and appreciate that well known ‘names’ are less likely to utilise our sort of service as they have full time agents actively working on their behalf (and taking a nice commission for doing so!). Having said that though, we have had quite a lot of registrations from people who are already successful in their field, including people who’ve had lead roles in major stage productions.

What facilities do you get by registering with your service?

All registered subscribers have full access to details of every single opportunity listed on our web site. They also have access to our Hints & Tips articles, providing useful information about such things as creating a CV, make up, audition techniques, etc. The Hints & Tips articles are managed by a leading hair & make-up artists who’s worked with some pretty famous names including Liz Hurley and Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as Lord Lichfield! They’re able to add their profiles to the site, including up to 5 photographs, and all non-confidential details are readily available to anyone visiting the site.
Another rather exciting bonus for our subscribers at the moment is an exclusive deal we have with the UK’s leading makeover and photographic studio – anyone registered with us on a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription gets a complimentary makeover and professional photo session at one of their studios – an excellent way to get a basic portfolio together at no cost!

What makes your service better or different to other routes of finding fame?

Well that’s not the easiest of questions to answer as everyone will have different ideas about what’s the best way of achieving ‘fame’! We do like to think that our web site is easy to use and provides clear and up-to-date information, as well as sensible, no-nonsense guidance about the industry as a whole. We’re always updating information and listings, and looking at ways to provide more & more benefits to our subscribers. Unlike some of our competitor sites, we provide direct contact information for all of the opportunities we feature – this may be a telephone number or an email address, web site or postal address to which to send CVs and photographs. Some sites keep the details of casting agents, directors, etc ‘anonymous’ and ask people to fill in generic application forms – we’ve found that people often wonder whether their applications ever really go anywhere when they have to do that! With our system, control is in the hands of the user!

If you could give young people one piece of advice on how to pursue a career in entertainment what would it be?

In a nutshell I’d say ‘Be Focused, be Patient, be Flexible, be Realistic!’
Identify your strengths and focus on them, hone them to perfection! Don’t expect things to happen overnight and don’t expect to be successful at every single opportunity you apply for prepare yourself for rejection, and this can be frequent. Don’t hold out for the perfect job within reason take what’s offered even if it’s not what you really want to be doing – all experience is good experience! Be realistic in your expectations and you’re less likely to be disappointed.

Thanks for your time, any last words?

Don’t you think I’ve already said enough! Seriously though, I hope my answers have proved helpful and informative and thanks for giving me the time to talk about StarsInMyEyes dot TV!