Celebrate the Year’s Best + Buzziest TV With the First-Ever BackstageFest

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Photo Source: Shervin Lainez/Emma McIntyre/Mark Veltman/Kathryn Wirsing

The first ever BackstageFest is upon us, and you can experience it from May 26-28! With 14 virtual events and over 45 guest speakers, we’re bringing talent and creatives from the most talked about television series of the last year straight to you. Through educational Zoom webinars, hot-topic panel discussions, social takeovers, and intimate interviews, audiences are invited to take an inside look at what goes into making a small-screen series a hit. Whether you’re interested in acting on camera; writing, directing, and producing your own material; or working behind the scenes as on-set crew, BackstageFest has something for everyone. Take a look at the full schedule and RSVP for the events below.


Wednesday, May 26

Backstage Live With: Neil Patrick Harris
11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT/4 p.m. UK
BackstageFest kicks off with a Backstage Live featuring longtime multihyphenate Neil Patrick Harris, where he walks us through his process on crafting memorable roles and offers advice on how to break into Hollywood. 

Running the Show: Showrunners Panel
12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT/5 p.m. UK
This panel features showrunners Austin Winsberg (“Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist”), Lucia Aniello (“Hacks”), Christina Lee (“Made for Love”), Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), and Sierra Teller Ornelas (“Rutherford Falls”) as they take us on a deep dive into what goes into making a TV series for the small and streaming screen. 

Take It From Sara Bareilles
2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT/7 p.m. UK
Join award-winning artist, actor, songwriter, and producer Sara Bareilles for a career-spanning walk down memory lane and play-by-play of how she continues to do it all across screen and stage. 

We’re Watching: “A Black Lady Sketch Show” Ensemble Panel
5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT/10 p.m. UK
“A Black Lady Sketch Show” creator and star Robin Thede, producer Lauren Ashley Smith, and writer and actors Ashley Nicole Black and Gabrielle Dennis talk us through the process of creating a hilarious Emmy-nominated hit.

Thursday, May 27

Take It From Barry Jenkins
12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT/5 p.m. UK
Day 2 of BackstageFest begins with Barry Jenkins himself, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind “Moonlight,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” and “The Underground Railroad.” Jenkins sits with us for an exclusive deep-dive interview on his life and career in the arts and how aspiring creators can follow in his footsteps. This interview will premiere live on our YouTube page. 

Getting the Gig: TV Edition, Casting Directors Panel
1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT/6 p.m. UK
The audition room can be tough to crack. Take advice from heavyweight casting directors Julie Harkin (“Industry,” “I May Destroy You”), Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas (“Perry Mason,” “The Comey Rule,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Walking Dead,” “Fear the Walking Dead,” “In Treatment”), and Theo Park (“Master of None”) as they break down what they look for in the audition room and more. Register for this panel at the link above.  

#MeToo + the Rise of the Intimacy Coordinator Panel
2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT/7 p.m. UK
In the age of the #MeToo Movement where sets are looking to create more safe and comfortable work environments, the role of an intimacy coordinator has become even more invaluable. Join intimacy coordinators Claire Warden, Amanda Blumenthal, Teniece Divya Johnson, and Sasha Smith as they pull back the curtain on the growing field and provide all the answers actors need to know. Register for this panel at the link above.

The Making Of: “Bridgerton,” Crew Panel
3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT/8 p.m. UK
“Bridgerton” became Netflix’s biggest hit of all time thanks to astounding performances, juicy plot twists, and breathtaking production value—from direction to costumes to production design. Join us for this behind-the-scenes look on how the series’ visual identity was built from the ground up with hair and makeup designer Marc Pilcher, production designer Will Hughes-Jones, cinematographer Jeffrey Jur, composer Kris Bowers, and costume designers Ellen Mirojnick and John W. Glaser III. Register for this panel at the link above.

The Making Of: “The Handmaid's Tale,” Crew Panel
4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT/9 p.m. UK
Not enough can be said of the incredible filmmaking and production that goes into the award-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Join cinematographer Stuart Biddlecombe, costume designer Debra Hanson, production designer Elisabeth Williams, and composer Adam Taylor as they reveal just what goes into making the one-of-a-kind hit. Register for this panel at the link above.

Let’s Get Sickening: How To Get Cast on “RuPaul's Drag Race” Panel
5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT/10 p.m. UK
Over 13 landmark seasons, VH1’s 19-time Emmy-winning reality competition series “RuPaul’s Drag Race” has helped change the face of television. Join producer and judge Michelle Visage, producer Mandy Salangsang, casting director Goloka Bolte, and Season 13 contestant Olivia Lux for this tell-all BackstageFest panel about everything that goes into casting each season—and how you, too, can become RuGirl royalty. Register for this panel at the link above.

Friday, May 28

We’re Watching: “Mythic Quest,” Ensemble Panel
12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT/5 p.m. UK
Our favorite workplace comedy of the year is back for Season 2 and better than ever! Don’t miss this exclusive “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” panel discussion as part of BackstageFest with creator and star Rob McElhenney, Charlotte Nicdao, Jessie Ennis, David Hornsby, Ashly Burch, Danny Pudi, and Imani Hakim. Register for this panel at the link above.

Spotlighting AAPI Performers’ Call for Hollywood Equity
Diversity + Inclusion Panel
1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT/6 p.m. UK
Join Jamie Chung (“Lovecraft Country”), Olivia Liang (“Kung Fu”), Jessie Mei Li (“Shadow and Bone”), Alice Lee (“Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist”), and Christina Chang (“The Good Doctor”) for this special panel discussion in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, in which we lift the call to Stop Asian Hate in Hollywood and beyond. Register for this panel at the link above. 

Take It From Kathryn Hahn
2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT/7 p.m. UK
Her performance on “WandaVision” had many claiming we’re in the midst of the Hahnaissance, but real Kathryn Hahn fans have known she’s one of the best actors around for years. Here, the stalwart performer gives an exclusive peek behind the curtain on how she builds a show-stealing performance, every time. This interview will premiere live on our YouTube page.

Backstage Live With: Joel Kinnaman
3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. UK
BackstageFest wraps up with a Backstage Live featuring “For All Mankind” and “In Treatment” star Joel Kinnaman. Tune in as Kinnaman talks us through his latest projects, his advice to others in the field, and more. This interview will stream live via Instagram.

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!