Backstage West is one of the oldest and most reliable resources for actors in the United States. And, with NEW updates it’s also one of the most complete.


Here, the LA Actor’s Blog asks 5 questions of Luke Crowe– the Vice President and National Casting Editor of Backstage and Call Sheet. He’s been working at Backstage for over a decade, so he knows what’s up!

1. Why is Backstage indispensable to Actors? 

 Founded in 1960 as a weekly magazine, Backstage is one of the world’s longest-running and most-trusted resources for actors, featuring news, interviews, advice columns, and casting calls aimed at helping performers advance their careers.

In the old days, we published separate print editions of the magazine for our Los Angeles and New York audiences; the L.A. version of Backstage was known as Back Stage West. However, with the tremendous growth of Backstage.com, we now reach a wide international audience of millions, and we’re able to publish new articles and casting calls throughout the day, every day of the week, providing actors with far more opportunities and timely information than ever before. We still publish a weekly magazine that’s national in scope, highlighting some of our best articles each week; while our website provides thousands of additional articles, resources, and casting calls.

images-1Casting directors, producers, filmmakers, theaters, production companies, and other content creators post more than 30,000 casting notices and job listings on Backstage.com every year, spanning hundreds of thousands of roles. The actors on our site are able to create customized applications to submit to the roles of their choice; keep track of their application history; communicate with casting directors; and more. Additionally, our site’s Talent Database features the profiles of over 130,000 actors, models, and performers; and content creators use the database to cast thousands of roles, supplementing their casting calls.

 Among a variety of entertainment-industry tools on the site, Backstage.com/Resources also includes an auditions calendar (featuring details on upcoming auditions), a database of monologues, production listings, and our popular Call Sheet directory (which includes company profiles and contact details for thousands of top casting directors, talent agencies, managers, and more).

 The incredible actors that got their start with Backstage include the likes of Robert De Niro, Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill, Amy Schumer, James Franco, Scott Bakula, Jonathan Groff, Marcia Gay Harden, Todd Field, Caitriona Balfe, Chris Cooper, Chris Evans, Kim Cattrall, Connie Britton, Ed Burns, Patrick Wilson, and so many more. The list is endless. We’ve compiled some of our favorite quotes at www.backstage.com/testimonials. And we’re very excited about helping to launch the next generation of actors as well.

2. Why are there sections online for cities other than LA and NY — Atlanta, for example? 

The entertainment industry has changed a lot over the last decade, with new opportunities for actors cropping up across the U.S. For instance, a lot of Hollywood film and television productions now shoot in states like Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Georgia. Independent film and theater has exploded in states like Texas. Content creators are shooting indie films, web series, and commercials across the country. And almost every state has multiple theater, film, and digital-media schools now, resulting in more local content being produced.

With that in mind, we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure that actors and content creators have a great experience using Backstage regardless of their location. Backstage’s casting site (www.backstage.com/casting) is set up to allow actors to easily filter through the opportunities based on their location, “type,” and interests; and the content creators that are using our site to cast their projects can likewise filter through the applications they receive (and our Talent Database) based on their needs. For example, our casting content can be viewed from a national perspective, or quickly drilled down to a specific state, city, or geographic radius.

And although we offer our services everywhere, cities such as Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Miami, and Chicago have been particularly popular topics for visitors to our site lately, so we’ve added additional news and casting coverage to these cities to help meet the demand. We’re always working to meet the needs of our readers, wherever they may be living. (And, of course, New York and Los Angeles are still the biggest areas for casting on Backstage.com by far, since they’re the entertainment capitals.)

3. What are the newest features of your digital magazine? 

 We publish the weekly Backstage Digital Edition, which is a PDF version of the print-edition magazine — it looks great on tablets, and our magazine readers love it since they’re able to see it as soon as it’s published, without having to wait for it to arrive via snail mail. However, our full website is where all the big innovations are happening: On Backstage.com, we’ve launched tools for actors to create highly customized casting searches and automatic alerts; profiles featuring their credits, photos, videos, and audio reels; more powerful application tools for submitting to casting calls; a messaging system; a Talent Dashboard for actors to easily manage their profiles, applications, and private communications; interactive resource databases; more articles and advice columns; and an advanced suite of tools that make it easier for casting directors to cast their projects. We’re constantly launching enhancements to the site, as the art and technology of online casting continues to evolve.

 

4. What does an actor “get” out of a subscription to Backstage? 

Every Backstage.com subscription includes full access to all of the articles, casting calls, and tools on Backstage.com — including the ability to add an unlimited number of photos, videos, and audio clips to their accounts for no extra charge (compared to other casting sites that charge additional fees for every media item); the ability to apply to an unlimited number of casting calls; exclusive audition details; optional inclusion in Backstage’s Talent Database; unlimited access to articles and advice columns; exclusive entertainment-industry company details in the Call Sheet resource databases; optional email newsletters; weekly delivery of the Digital Edition magazine (with the option to upgrade to receive the print-edition of the magazine as well); individualized casting searches and automatic notifications; and more.

5. How has Backstage changed in the last 10 years? 

Thanks to Backstage.com, our audience has grown exponentially in the past decade, reaching a global audience of actors, models, performers, and content creators. Along with that, the growth of digital filmmaking, web series, and online video distribution via sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and Netflix has had a huge imimagespact on the number of productions that now need actors. With more projects taking place and a wider audience, we’ve seen astounding increases in the number of projects using Backstage to find talent, which means more opportunities for actors to perform.

At the same time, technology has vastly changed the way casting takes place: Even just a decade ago, a lot of productions were still requesting headshots and resumes be sent via snail mail, and casting directors might have to wait weeks for all of the submissions to arrive and get sorted. Later, a lot of casting moved to email, but initial applications were still largely just based on a single photo and resume, and managing the submissions was still clunky. Nowadays, however, most casting takes place directly on our site, which allows for lightning-fast submissions that often feature a wide range of media items, including an increased usage of video; state-of-the-art tools for organizing submissions; and a quicker and more high-tech casting process overall.

If you have had experience using Backstage in any city, please tell the LA Actor’s Blog how it worked for you in the comment section below!

 And if you’re ready to find out more, click below to subscribe today!


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