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Dear Readers

If there's one thing I've found actors who read Back Stage to be, it's passionate -- passionate about acting, passionate about gaining an edge in the business, and passionate about participating in Back Stage. That enthusiasm and dedication was evident when Back Stage surveyed its print and online audience to better understand what types of information are most critical to actors and where and how they prefer to receive that information. Nearly 1,400 of you responded, and I thank each of you who took the time to share your opinion. Your valuable feedback enables me and others at Back Stage to further improve our product.

Not surprisingly, casting and crew notices ranked the No. 1 information need among our audience, followed by updates on film/TV/stage productions, career advice, calendar of events, and craft advice. However, many respondents who read our print publication expressed frustration over casting notices not being timely enough because our paper arrives too late for some of that information to be useful. Though there's no way to speed up the U.S. Postal Service, which typically takes two days to deliver Back Stage from the time it is published, I have a suggestion to remedy this frustration: Consider a joint subscription to Back Stage print and BackStage.com, which also includes access to RossReports.com. This arrangement offers the best of both worlds: immediate, daily online access to job notices, news, and listings, and a weekly hard copy to read whenever and wherever you want. You can review this option by visiting our website and clicking on "Subscribe."

There were not many surprises in the survey data, but what was most helpful to me was that you cited the following topics as areas that Back Stage most needs to improve or increase coverage of: commercials, voiceover, contracts and union rules, singing and voice, financial advice, and independent film. Expect to see Back Stage step up its efforts in these areas.

Also not surprising is that many actors are turning more and more to the Internet to get their information. It's clear that the business of casting is predominantly online, and that makes perfect sense -- considering how much easier, faster, and cheaper it is for actors to electronically submit to an online notice compared with snail mail. As for your complaints about navigating BackStage.com, those too are being addressed.

And now for a depressing statistic: Only 21 percent of respondents noted that editorials were an important item they care about. Yet I believe many of you want to hear our staff's opinions and the opinions of those in the industry. Therefore I encourage you to further support this page by writing us letters when you enjoy an article you read or we've helped you with something, as well as when you disagree with a viewpoint expressed in an article. We also welcome you to contribute op-ed pieces. The best way to do that is to contact this page's editor, Lauren Horwitch, at [email protected]

-- Jamie Painter Young, National Editor-in-Chief

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