For more than 50 years, Backstage has been the most trusted place for actors to find career advice and casting information. Started in December 1960 by Ira Eaker and Allen Zwerdling, Backstage quickly became required reading for every young actor who came to New York to cut their teeth. The newspaper's original blue-and-red logo became as synonymous with NYC actors as a class at The Actors Studio. A Los Angeles edition, Backstage West, was launched in 1994, and Backstage.com came to life in 1997. In late 2008, the two regional newspapers were synthesized into a single national edition, now known simply as Backstage, which is sold across the United States and Canada.
Today, the Backstage brand signifies something greater than simply casting notices: Backstage is a place where actors, singers and dancers can connect with the greater performing arts community. More importantly, Backstage is where performers can get all the information they need to succeed in the entertainment business. Actors browse through our magazine, checking updated production listings or reading our periodic spotlights on photography, college programs, acting schools and coaches. Or they check our many interactive online features, from news, reviews, and advice columns to a vibrant message board, weblogs, video, and much more.
Jobboard Finder’s opinion
Summary: Originally a newspaper founded by Allen Zwerdling and Ira Eaker in 1960, Backstage is a specialist job board for performers, actors and creators. Since the creation of the site, it has become quite successful and useful for actors and directors everywhere (well, especially in the US, big cities in Canada and ones in the UK). In fact, Backstage helped launch the career of actors such as Al Pacino, Denzel Washington, Sandra Bullock, Scarlett Johansson, and Viola Davis. So it’s no wonder 2.88 million views are recorded each month (mostly from Anglo-Saxon countries) and that the social media is booming: 122 00 followers on Instagram, 138 000 on Twitter, 1 072 052 on Facebook and 10 027 on Linkedin. Oh, and of course, another 53 307 on Youtube, who surely watch the countless videos. There is a lot of clear information about the history of the site and the team (even photos of the team dogs), making this website a fun experience, as well as an essential tool for those in show business.
Design: When you click onto Backstage, the first thing you see is the backdrop image (of animated people reading lines) and the search engine (keywords and locations). The rest of the site also focuses on the gig hunt, even though Backstage is so much more than a job board. You can browse popular auditions, see featured gigs and key figures, discover the magazine, news and guide sections, etc. There is so much to do! The website also highlights some of the big names hiring through Backstage and the different categories: film, TV, modelling, theatre, kids, and voiceover. Even if you don’t know what to advertise, you can still use the site to find talent by clicking on “Find Talent” at the top of the page. The jobseekers pay more for the service than recruiters do, but at the moment, everyone can benefit from a free 60 month trial. Once in the job listing, you can choose the gender, location, radius, age, production type, compensation, role type, union status, ethnicity and other keywords. There are no logos, but it’s still easy to sort through the offers (which can appear in order of the audition date, the latest ones or the “submit ASAP” indication). Most of the job offers actually include several roles.
The job board objective: Backstage makes it easy for actors and singers to make it in show biz, all the while staying up-to-date on all the latest news.
Recruiter observations: Creating an advert is a long process. You need to describe both the project (role) and the person or people you want to cast. The basic package is relatively inexpensive. However, if you have time to browse through the database, that could be less expensive and for useful. You cannot contact the upcoming stars through the website without an account, but the names (and even personal websites) are visible.
Jobseeker observations: Jobseekers (or aspiring artists) will be happy to know that the first 60 months are free (no credit card needed). Each profile includes a details (education and personal information), media (you can include links) and highlights (you can write whatever you want) section.
The job offers: The job offers are all in the artistic field. Actors to singers to models. It’s all there. There are 7 251 acting jobs at the moment.
Special features: Photos of the company dogs; Youtbue videos; podcasts; the testimonials; the magazine; the guide; casting news; expert advice; the audition calendar; the monologue (to help in preparing for an audition); the resources; the forum; the actor/actress database you can even choose to view only transgender applicants).
Verdict: How could you not be impressed by Backstage? Even if you aren’t looking for actors, or work, the website has interesting articles on news, movies and how to act. If not just for the entertainment and training, you should definitely check out Backstage!
Written by Ali Neill
As the job board tester and blog editor for the Jobboard Finder, Ali works on job boards from all around the world and keeps a close eye on the recruitment trends thanks to a number of sources, including the website's social media pages.
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