Trust Your Instincts

Note_CD_Nick_Bertozzi_0302.jpeg.644x650_q100Illustration by: Nick Bertozzi

By Marci Liroff

If you’re in L.A. and haven’t RSVPd to my July Audition Bootcamp, take a moment and check it out. Only a few seats left!

Does the casting couch still exist? You bet. I was disheartened to read this post on Facebook from my agent friend Mimi Mayer of Angel City Talent.

“Anyone here have any of their ladies going in to see [redacted]? Cuz there’s some serious creepy going on right now. Warn your clients that they will be invited to meet the director at the Ritz-Carlton, and should they decline, will be shamed and insulted. Yes, I am naming names.”

I advised her to have her client write everything down while it’s fresh in her mind. Report it to SAG-AFTRA. She can do it anonymously if need be. Protect others.

Her client reported that the director called her cellphone directly (she never gave her number out) and wanted to meet her for a “private” meeting at the Ritz-Carlton later that evening, “just have a drink, relax and ‘talk about the role.’ ”

When she said that she wanted her manager to be involved, he said, “How long have you been in the business? Sometimes managers can lose a job for talent. You need to know that. And you need to lose 15 pounds and I wasn’t going to offer you the role anyway. I just wanted to give you some industry advice.”

I asked if she’d informed the casting director. “Yes, and he was a dick. Sketchy. I told him it was unacceptable, unprofessional, and harassment, and that I was contacting SAG-AFTRA, to which he replied, ‘Go right ahead,’ and hung up on me.”

She also posted about it on social media, on her personal accounts, and on the Agency/Management Facebook page to alert other reps about this situation and to protect their talent.

That’s when the calls and emails started coming in. “My agent colleague from another agency just called me and said he had a client with a similarly creepy experience with these guys,” Mayer says. “And yet another one of her clients went in earlier this week, said it was a little weird but nothing touchy-feely, yet they posted her picture on their Facebook page as being part of the project—no call, no offer. They’re idiots.”

I asked Mimi how she advises her clients. She says, “Always trust your instincts. They are your guardian angels. Do your homework on a project. This goes for the talent and the rep. Keep your team looped in. Our client did this and I feel that she dodged a bullet. Not all young talent will be so lucky, unfortunately.”

I wondered if this only happens to women. Mayer responded, “As unprepared for an inappropriate advance as a young woman might be, young men are more often even less prepared and can sometimes be more easily conned/shamed into doing something that they aren’t comfortable with. If parents aren’t able to teach their children about this, then it’s up to the reps to watch out for our talent. It’s not always easy. Speaking for myself, I know that Angel City does our best to send our clients into professional and safe environments. Our rate on this is very high—but clearly blemished by this experience.”

If something feels wrong, don’t get pressured into doing something if you don’t feel comfortable. I can guarantee you that that job won’t bring you fame and fortune.

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.


Warning: I grant permission to share my blog as written with no additions or deletions.  Posting my blog is in no way an endorsement of another site unless you obtain my written consent.)

Like this story? Help spread the word!
Click to tweet!


  1. Thank you for this Marci. Early on in my career I ran in to this. I was literally told by a fairly reputable manager who I was introduced to by a fairly reputable producer that in order to make it in Hollywood you HAD to sleep with the appropriate people. He even used Jane Fonda as an example. “How do you think she got where she is…?” It’s laughable but I can see how in that given situation it might seem frighteningly convincing to a young naive actress who wanted nothing more than to be a star. I on the other hand made the conscious decision in that moment that if that’s what I had to do I didn’t want to be an actress. It seemed ludicrous to me. I went on to have a very successful career through the 80’s and 90’s (thanks in no small way to you Marci) and continue to work to this day. I’ve never had to compromise my morals or values and I never will.
    Thank you for this cautionary tale. It’s very important.

  2. Marci – you would not believe the stories I could tell. Sooooo many. The objectification of youth and beauty is one of the major reasons I became so disillusioned with the career of an actress. I chose to express myself through my voice instead, writing and singing. I soon discovered that in the music business, it was no different. It still happens to me now. There is a quid pro quo implicitly attached to the interest of many predatory gate-keepers. There’s no way to win, because when you decline them, they never hire you, but ironically, succumbing will only tamp out all interest in you; so that’s not going to get you anywhere either.

    The question has always been, If you think I’m so hot that you wanna f*ck me, why not see what I’m like onscreen?

Speak Your Mind


Follow This Post