One of the best things you can do for yourself before ever leaving home is to get a subscription to the weekly publication, BACKSTAGE WEST (BSW). It is considered the bible of actors in Hollywood and it can open up entirely new avenues of information for anyone, anywhere. Unlike Daily Variety and Hollywood Reporter, which are geared more (though not exclusively) to other pros in our business, such as producers, agents, casting directors, etc., virtually everything you will read in BSW will be of interest to you, the actor.
Among the many regular departments you will find articles and lists such as…
– Audition notices for plays, student films, and other types of acting projects
– Photographers and acting teachers/coaches
– Acting schools
– Reviews of plays in Southern California (yes, you should read them, even if you aren’t living here yet)
– A great advice column
– During tax season, a tax advisor column specifically for actors
– Updates on the union activities and problems
– Agent and manager info
The more you read about the actor’s life in Hollywood, the more prepared you’ll be to either join it yourself or…not. They don’t sugar-coat the information they disseminate, so you’ll see a few horror stories intermingled with the general news every so often and that, in our opinion, is a good way to balance things.
We suggest you read the play reviews as a way to become familiar with the various theaters, of which we seem to have at least one on every corner. Seriously. Theater snobs from New York and Chicago would like you to believe that L.A. has little to offer in the way of live stage productions, but nothing could be further from the truth. Granted, as recently as the early ‘90s, our theaters were nothing to write home about, generally speaking, but that has really improved since then. Be prepared to attend lots of low-cost plays when you get here. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good most of them are and the reviews will give you a good idea of the better theaters in town.
By the way, one of the choices for your subscription says that it includes Ross Reports. Don’t waste your money on that. You aren’t even close to needing it and it’ll be something new to “discover” later on.