Archives for January 2015

My New Year Prayer For You


By Marci Liroff

Here comes that time of year again. New Year’s Day brings with it a time of reflection on the past year. For many, it’s a time to restart programs, habits, exercise, and things we let slide during the last several months. It’s time to take stock of our lives and plan anew.

For an actor it’s a great time to reassess what’s working for you and what’s not. If you’ve been keeping a daily diary or spreadsheet of your auditions and meetings this year (as I suggested in my article “How Keeping a Diary Can Help You Book the Job”) you’ll be able to see your progress in black and white. This little trick will show you that this year you had 25–30 auditions and last year you had only 15. You’ll be able to track your callbacks and feedback.

Perhaps it’s time to let go of old precepts and thoughts and shift your mindset. I always come back to this. Your perception is the one thing you have control of in this business.

So much is out of your control (how you look, you’re too old or young, you remind the director of his ex-wife), but after you’ve sufficiently trained and prepped for the role you are the only one who can control how you’re going to let it affect you. You have the choice of how you’re going to view your audition and how you view it thereafter. Are you going to kick yourself time and time again after each audition when you didn’t do what you wanted to do? Or are you going to learn from it — specifically what went wrong or what sent you off the rails? Are you going to continue to let that voice inside your head say, “I’m not right for this. I always screw up in comedy — I’m no good,” or are you going to master that voice and banish it not only from the room, but your head forever? You have this choice.

You also learn from what you did right — those times when you feel comfortable in your own skin and you come ready to play. You’re prepared, you’re flexible in those moments when you get a director who wants to work with you in the room. You’re there to have fun and get the job done. You come in as a collaborator rather than someone who just needs to book a job. Once again, it’s your mindset. We pick up on the energy you bring into the room.

Reflection can also take another path. In my article “Why Do You Act?,” I talked about Will Smith being asked by Jimmy Fallon if fame can ever be scary. His reply was right on the money. Smith replied that it could be, especially now that his kids are coming into the business. “But I tell them…keep loving people. The thing is to make sure with your art that it is a gift to people to help their lives be better and brighter. What happens a lot of times when you see people fail in this business is that they’re in it for their ego, and they start doing it for them. It’s like, no, you’re trying to help people get through a day.”

As this new year begins, I urge you to keep loving, be mindful, be good to yourselves, and be of service to those around you. You are artists and you have a story to tell.

Make sure to check out my new online course “How To Audition For Film and Television: Audition Bootcamp”. You can view it on your laptop or your mobile device and your subscription gives you lifetime viewing privileges for this course. I’ll be adding lectures throughout the year.

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Gone But Not Forgotten


By Marci Liroff

I watched “Good Will Hunting” last night. I hadn’t seen it since it first came out in 1997. To think that the very young Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote this as their first movie is amazing. I realize I still can’t believe Robin Williams isn’t with us anymore. I’m finding it very hard to accept.

We’ve lost so many actors that I’ve had the pleasure to have known and worked with through the years and they bring back so many wonderful memories.

Here are but a few.

Robin Williams was one of the first actors to take the leap of faith on a little animated movie I cast, “Ferngully-The Last Rainforest,” long before celebrity voice-overs were popular. When I cast him in the film “Insomnia” I had to convince the powers that be that he could play against type as a serial killer.

When I worked on “Poltergeist,” young Heather O’Rourke immediately stood out with her sweetness and curiosity about the world around her. I had been bringing in the talented Dominique Dunne for several years and finally found the perfect role for her. Both are gone too soon. We lucked out when we found Zelda Rubenstein to play the eccentric psychic Tangina.

I became friendly with Dudley Moore after casting him in “Six Weeks.” He drove me home once when my car got locked in a parking lot where we were out to dinner—and even picked me up the next day to go and get it!

It’s hard to imagine that director Bob Clark made the raunchy “Porky’s” and the hilarious classic “A Christmas Story.” A drunk driver on PCH killed him and his son. Working with him on these movies was one of the highlights of my career. You’ve never met a sweeter man.

I had the pleasure of casting Chris Penn in two movies: “All the Right Moves” and the original “Footloose.” The producers fell in love with him on “Footloose” and re-wrote the role to suit him.

Brittany Murphy was so great in “Summer Catch,” but another audition sticks in my mind. In the middle of her audition for “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” she went into the corner of the room and took out her contacts and dropped them on the carpet, saying they were driving her crazy. The director had to take her in hand and walk her off the lot and back to her driver because she couldn’t see!

When we cast Gregory Hines for the cult classic “Eve of Destruction,” he was so into it he came to the auditions and read opposite the actors.

In 1982, Vic Morrow was hoping to make a comeback with “Twilight Zone: The  Movie.” The children production found to be in the scene (I had refused to get involved in casting them because I felt the scene, as described by director John Landis, was too dangerous), Renee Shinn Chen and Myca Dinh Le, were so excited to be in a movie. A dangerous and ill-conceived stunt went awry and the helicopter crashed down upon them and Morrow, killing them all. I testified in court against the defendants. A very sad day in Hollywood history.

It was a treat to come to work everyday when director Harold Ramis was in the room. He made everyone feel so comfortable. He and the star and creator of the pilot, Paul Reiser, stood up to shake hands whenever a lady came in the room. To sit in the room with the two of them as they were riffing back and forth were moments that I’ll never forget.

Although I miss them, I’m grateful these films have immortalized them and, at times, it still feels like they’re with us.

Rest in peace my friends.