Sources & Resources
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences
Publisher of the Academy Players Directory and home to an extensive library, the Academy also offers special screenings and exhibits. 8949 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 247-3000. www.oscars. org.
The Actors' Network
This membership-only organization is the only business information, education, and resource organization of its kind in the world. It is not a workshop company, but it offers services such as industry guest speakers, topical discussions, member activities, and power groups, designed to help beginning actors learn to treat their performance/artistic careers as a business. For information and/or to make a reservation for the free orientation, call (818) 509-1010. www.actors-network.com.
The Agencies: What the Actor Needs To Know
This is Lawrence Parke's indispensable guide to agents in Los Angeles, with a listing of all agencies' specialties and the names of each agent in each department at every agency, big to small. ($10, updated monthly, available at Samuel French and Take One Bookstore)
American Guild of Variety Artists
This union represents live variety acts, such as performers in Las Vegas club showrooms and cabarets, musical variety shows, comedy showcases, dance revues, magic shows, and amusement park shows. The main difference between Equity and AGVA is that Equity shows have a book, while AGVA shows generally have no storyline. 4741 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Ste. 208, N. Hollywood 91607. (818) 508-9984.
Back Stage West
Your very own actors trade paper is reachable by phone: (323) 525-2356 (main editorial line), (323) 525-2225 (advertising), (323) 525-2358 (casting), (800) 745-8922 (subscriber services; call between 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.). Fax numbers are (323) 525-2354 (editorial), (323) 525-2226 (advertising), and (323) 965-1340 (casting). The mailing address is Back Stage West, 5055 Wilshire Blvd., 5th Fl., L.A., CA 90036. General e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. (See page 2 for more info.)
Back to One: The Movie Extras Guidebook (15th Edition)
This step-by-step guidebook promises to help you become a background actor/extra in films, TV, music videos, commercials, and modeling/print work within the next 24 hours. It features insider tips, tidbits and tricks on how anyone can get started, how to work with agents and casting directors, how to market yourself, a who's who on-set, and where to find the jobs. It also includes a listing of more than 100 extra casting agents and explains the fastest way to get your SAG & AFTRA cards. Written by Cullen Chambers, it costs $24.95 and is available at Samuel French.
Breakdown Services Ltd.
This communications network and casting system provides integrated tools for casting directors and talent representatives. It offers casting director guides, updated casting labels, and sides through Showfax (see below) at its offices. The website also offers "Actor Access," which allows actors to view a free partial listing of breakdowns. 2140 Cotner Ave., 3rd Fl., L.A., CA 90025-5714. (310) 276-9166. www.breakdownservices.com.
Casting Society of America
Not every casting director is a member but most are. Here's where you send correspondence to have it forwarded, or where you call to get updates on casting directors' whereabouts—they move around a lot in L.A. 606 N. Larchmont Blvd., Ste. 4-B, L.A. (323) 463-1925. www.castingsociety .com.
Practically a brand name for typecasting, Central Casting is still in business, booking the bulk of extras for television, and a lot for films and commercials. Know that the company takes an upfront "photo fee" of $20 cash, and you must bring ID. It may also encourage you to join a "calling service" for a monthly fee, presumably to help you get more work. For more information about Central, and about the many alternative services in the region, check Extra Work for Brain Surgeons (see listing below). 220 S. Flower St., Burbank, CA 91502-2101. If you have never registered there, be sure to call (818) 562-2755 for instructions. www.ep-services.com/extras.htm.
Extra Work for Brain Surgeons
Put out annually by Hollywood OS, this is a no-holds-barred guide to extra work in L.A., with chapters on how to work on feature films, getting your SAG card, working on soap operas, joining AFTRA, and avoiding the scams. Before you tear a flier off a telephone pole, get this guide. There are also quarterly supplements offered. Not to be mistaken for Extra Work for Rocket Scientists, this book costs $27.50 and is available at Take One Bookstore, or you can call (310) 289-9400.
The Hollywood Reporter and Variety
Both these publications come out five days a week. Tuesday's Reporter is the one with the complete film production charts, a listing of everything that's shooting and slated to shoot, often including contacts for the production companies. Variety's TV chart is printed on Thursdays, and its film chart is printed on Fridays. www.hollywoodreporter.com. www.variety.com.
Independent Feature Project/ Los Angeles
IFP/Los Angeles is dedicated to supporting independent filmmakers and championing the cause of independent filmmaking. The group has year-round screenings, seminars, symposia, and educational programs that help members master the art and craft of filmmaking. It also provides professional advice, access to industry leaders, networking opportunities, camera and equipment rentals, and discounts to more than 200 industry-related vendors. IFP also works to promote independent film to a wider audience through the Los Angeles Film Festival and the nationally televised IFP Independent Spirit Awards. 8750 Wilshire Blvd., 2nd Fl., Beverly Hills 90211. For information about joining, visit www.ifp.org or call (310) 432-1200 and ask for the membership department.
LA Stage Alliance
This indispensable arts advocacy group comprises theatres of all sizes in L.A. County—and a few outside it. Among the fine services it offers to theatre-producing members and the community at large, LA Stage Alliance gives out the prestigious Ovation Awards for local theatre and sells same-day half-price theatre tickets ("WebTIX") online. Its website also provides a comprehensive list of every theatre in Southern California. It is headquartered at 644 S. Figueroa, L.A., CA 90017-3411. (213) 614-0556. www.theatrela.org.
Note: At press time the website address had not changed for this organization, which recently changed its name from Theatre LA.
Offering a sort of one-stop information source, this conveniently sized booklet covers film, TV, agencies, and commercial casting and production with charts that are updated twice a year ($7.95, monthly, available at Samuel French, Take One Bookstore, and many newsstands). To subscribe, call (800) 745-8922.
SAG, AFTRA, and Equity
The three main actors unions are all conveniently in the same plush office building, across the street from Variety and near the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Also in the building is the SAG/AFTRA Federal Credit Union and online casting service Castnet.com. 5757 Wilshire Blvd., L.A., CA 90036-3635. SAG (323) 954-1600; AFTRA (323) 634-8100; Equity (323) 634-1750. The SAG agency line, through which you can locate actors by their representatives, is (323) 549-6737. www.sag.org. www.aftra.org. www.actorsequity.org.
Samuel French Theatre & Film Bookshop
Everything you need in print, from play scripts to biographies to acting textbooks to industry guides, is available at this legendary bookstore. Two locations: In Hollywood at 7623 Sunset Blvd., 90046. (323) 876-0570, and in Studio City at 11963 Ventura Blvd, 91604. (818) 762-0535. www.samuelfrench.com.
This service faxes "sides" to actors for auditions when their agents are too busy. It costs $1.75 a page to fax and $1 a page by using the website to download the sides. Showfax is located at 2140 Cotner Ave., L.A., CA 90025-5714. (310) 385-6920 or outside L.A. at (800) 886-8716. www.showfax.com.
Take One Film & Theatre Books
This small but growing new storefront gives Westside actors and industry folks a long-overdue specialty bookstore. Founded and run by Tim Morrell, a former buyer for Samuel French and Skylight Books, Take One hosts regular evening and afternoon events with authors and industry pros, as well as sells books and supplies. Morell may not yet have everything you could want on his shelves, but he's committed to ordering whatever you ask for. 11516 Santa Monica Blvd., east of Barrington in West L.A., CA 90025-3008. (310) 445-4050. www.take1filmbooks.com.
Thomas Bros. Guide
Clearly visible in practically every backseat in L.A., this cartographic necessity will guide all you flustered drivers through the freeways and surface streets of this sprawling metropolis. It costs $31.95 and is available at most bookstores, by calling (800) 899-6277, or by accessing www.thomas.com.
Working Actors Guide
Available at most bookstores for $39, this thick annual guidebook offers listings of acting-related services and information, from acting coaches to gyms to agencies. To order the book, call (323) 876-0570 or (800) 729-6423. www.workingactors.com.