The staff of Talkin' Broadway gets dozens of e-mails every month from aspiring actors. These tend to fall into two general categories, the "I want to move to New York and be an actor - how do I do that?" and the "I just arrived in New York to pursue a career as an actor. I bought a copy of BackStage and read it. What do I do now?" We used to dread these requests for information. How could we possibly answer them?

However, recently we've discovered a new website dedicated to answering just these questions! We were so impressed with the scope and quality of this website, we asked its creator, Evan Robertson, to introduce it to our readers.

Evan, that's your cue . . .

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The Actors' Exchange
An Introduction and Mission Statement
by Evan Robertson

Most of us began acting because of the sense of community we found in the theatre. Unlike the visual arts, which demand solitude, acting can only take place in tandem with other artists; the sum of the parts was greater than the whole.

However, although the essence of that experience brings hundreds of actors into the fold of the industry every year, the reality of the profession is isolation. Artists who want nothing more than to create with a circle of friends some brave new world are reduced to waiting for a miracle. Instead of struggling with our craft, we struggle with our temp jobs and angry restaurateurs. Instead of searching for the divine moment, we search for dignity.

Acting is a noble and courageous profession. We are the oral historians, "the abstract and brief chronicles of the time." It demands absolute dedication to the pursuit of truth in the moment. But without a sense of community, an actor is lost. The Actors' Exchange was created to fill that gap.

AE is dedicated to providing timely, vital, and unbiased information to actors. Whether you are looking for research, trying to find a free copy of a text, sending out a mailing to agencies and casting directors, looking for a photographer or pointers on getting a good headshot, the Actors' Exchange has the resources you're seeking - free of cost and agendas.

The site also provides weekly feature articles on important issues, such as the SAG strike, advice on aspects of the craft and business, and humor columns.

But the ultimate and most powerful aim of the site will be you, the aspiring actor. You will be able to share opinions on people and places in the business, add your headshot and resume to our gallery (again, free), and most importantly, participate in on-line chats with professionals in the business - casting directors, agents, teachers from various reputable programs, working actors, and other people of interest.

At present, The Actors' Exchange is working to build a rapport with actors such as yourself who will play an integral role in the future of the AE community by visiting the site and letting me know what you find useful and what you would like to see added to the site.

Remember: this site gives you and many more just like you the opportunity to come together and support each other in what has proven to be the most difficult career in the free world; you don't have to do it alone.

Visit the Actors' Exchange then email me, your guide Evan Robertson, with comments and suggestions.

Good luck and break many legs!

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