CITY BABY trailer from David Morgan

CITY BABY trailer from David Morgan on Vimeo.

Available on iTunes and all other digital VOD platforms April 22nd.
Links coming soon!
CITY BABY is a Portland-centric coming-of-age story about a group of meandering 20-somethings trying to find meaning in the new world of adulthood. CITY BABY features live performances by Glass Candy and STRFKR/Starfucker, a soundtrack of local Portland bands including Chromatics and The Helio Sequence, as well as a cameo from musical frontman Stephen Malkmus (Pavement).
An updated REALITY BITES for the Me Generation, CITY BABY ruminates on themes of love, class, and contemporary youth subculture. CITY BABY follows Cloey, played by Benesh (PORTLANDIA, RID OF ME), who is reluctantly plucked from her party-girl lifestyle and forced to deal with her real life. Pressure from her dad (Daniel Baldwin – TREES LOUNGE) to find a job, her best friend Paige’s (Jillian Leigh – A BIG FAT LOVE STORY) new relationship driving a wedge between them, and a balancing act of two romances with an aging rocker (Andrew Harris – SWEAT, LEVERAGE) and a yuppie ad agency guy (Richard Keith – GREYS ANATOMY, VERONICA MARS) all weigh heavy on her young heart.
“Pungently captures [Portland’s] arty, hipster milieu… a striking performance by Cora Benesh” ~ Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“A well-made unpretentious indie, solid picture bolstered by the cast and unobtrusive direction.” ~ Mark Zhuravsky, Indiewire
“Dreamy tale of beautiful people problems, a loving portrait of an obnoxious culture.” Sarah Mirk, Bitch Magazine
“A surprisingly excellent movie and well worth seeing.” Amy R. Handler, Film Threat
“Turns a refreshingly critical eye on the city’s most frequently exported stereotypes. There’s real social commentary and insight here.” Allison Hallett, The Portland Mercury




By Marci Liroff
Having just worked on a feature film where we were asking for actors to send in their self-taped auditions from around the world, I realized that actors are becoming more empowered and self-sufficient by learning how to tape their auditions. But do yourself a favor and make sure you do it well – taping your audition on your laptop should be a last resort. Make sure to show yourself at your best. Lighting, sound, good quality video and a talented reader will help make your audition as great as it should be.
Some are still stymied by the process and our guest bloggers Tara Tomicevic and Leslie-Ann Huff are here to explain an easy and very inexpensive “work around” using your iPhone. Yes, your iPhone!

When we started noticing how often self-taped auditions are requested (a friend booked a pilot through a self-tape this year!), we figured there had to be a way to get it done that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. We discovered that there is!

Taking matters into our own hands, we started meeting twice a week, practicing and playing around with equipment. Since we weren’t working on an actual audition (yet), this gave us some room to try things, both technically and with our acting. Then, when it came time to send one in, we knew what we were doing.
The following tips are meant to add to Marci’s blog entry How To Self-Tape Your Audition Like A Rockstar, which already covers all the important basics. Hopefully these tips will help to make it even easier.
The camera on the iPhone 4 or iPhone 5 records considerably high-quality video. No fancy, expensive cameras necessary.
Just as Marci pointed out, the tripod is very important to a professional audition tape. To hold up your iPhone on a tripod, you can purchase an inexpensive iPhone mount, like the one we used: Studio Neat Glif Tripod Mount. If you don’t have one, these little guys are a great option to explore.
A directional mic can be hooked into the iPhone via the headphones hole. Theonewe purchased was about $40. This kind of mic cut out the white noise and clearly picked up the actors voice. The difference was very clear: good sound helps pick up all the nuances of an actors performance and gives the tape a more professional feel. A side note on sound: the reader’s voice should not be louder than the actor’s. This tends to happen as the reader stands next to the camera. A directional mic and a mindful reader can help with that. If you still experience some background noise, it can be eliminated in five seconds on iMovie or similar basic programs (YouTube tutorials rock!)
UPDATE: A few of my readers commented that the mic that was suggested (above) is no longer available. I reached out to Tara and asked for any new recommendations. Here’s her response:
The Belkin one we originally suggested is only one we have used repeatedly. I just found some through non-Amazon retailers and eBay (which of course I have no personal experience with and cannot officially recommend):

A friend of mine has a great one called the Tascam iM2 mic for iPhone ( It is about $80 but if you look around online you can often find them reduced to $30-$40.
Leslie-Anne also added that she recently bought an iPhone 5 and the quality of the sound is comparable to using the directional mic for the iPhone 4 (what we were doing before). Hope this helps!

We are lucky that one of our apartments has a spot lit by two windows, which provides great natural light. Find the spots in your home that face windows. Use blinds and curtains to increase or decrease the amount of direct light. Try using the different lamps in your home. Experiment. Much to our surprise, we noticed that a fluorescent kitchen light actually enhanced the look of the natural light. Be resourceful and use your judgement. If you have a dark place or have to shoot at night, Marci’s lighting suggestions in her original post are spot on.
To get your video (regardless of its length) from your phone to your computer, connect the two via a USB cable. If you’re on a Mac, open the app Preview. Then click File, Import from iPhone, and all your iPhone files will be listed. Select your video and click Import.
We recommend stopping after each take so that you can select the take you want and send that one only without having to edit at all. But if you need to edit we learned iMovie quickly and on our own (again, YouTube tutorials!)
We paid about $60 (in addition to the price of our phones) to get this system working. We’ve seen companies around town charge $25-$100+ per self-tape. So invest in yourself and a couple self-tapes in you’ll be happy you did (and feel extra savvy too)!
Here’s a video sample:
If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out. We are both on Twitter: @TaraTomicevic and @Leslie_AnneHuff.
Tara Tomicevic is an actress, writer, and producer. She is Croatian born, Italian raised, and Berkeley branded.

Leslie-Anne Huff is an actress, Los Angeles native, and lover of pugs. Credits and more info can be found on her website:
I’d love to hear about any hot tips you’ve discovered while self-taping your auditions. It’s always good to share with the community.

Glad you’re here!



“the black sea” Official Trailer 2014 from Brian Padian

“the black sea” Official Trailer 2014 from Brian Padian on Vimeo.

a narrative feature film debut | written & directed by Brian Padian | produced by Scott Ballard & Brian Padian | starring: Cora Benesh, Erin McGarry, Corrina Repp, Bill Sebastian, Matt Sipes, Joe von Appen | shot on Super 16 mm by Scott Ballard | original score by Jesse Jones | edited by Evonne Moritz | sound design by Jordan Eusebio


The Punishing Business – Official Trailer

Heather Harlow


Casting By: A Benefit for


Marci Liroff, “Social Media and the Casting Director”


The Tom Todoroff Studio & Conservatory

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One Foolproof Way to Ruin an Audition (via Backstage Branding)

One Foolproof Way to Ruin an Audition

By Daniel Holloway | Posted Oct. 30, 2013, 5:21 p.m.

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casting directors
Marci Liroff

One Foolproof Way to Ruin an Audition
I was casting a TV pilot a few years ago, and one of the roles was described as an “Old-World Hollywood agent. He even wears a pocket square in his suit jacket.” All of the lovely actors who came in were dressed to the nines.

I brought in an actor from Canada whom I didn’t know personally, but I had seen his demo reel and been impressed. It was enough to convince me to bring him straight to the producers without a pre-read because I was pressed for time. He had a great comedy background and was a fresh face out here, so I thought it would be an interesting audition at the very least.

When you work on a television show the writers are often the creators and producers of the show. I had a full house that day with the director for the pilot, the star-creator-writer-producer and his writing-producing partner as well.

Johnny Canuck showed up wearing a grungy leather jacket, ripped-up jeans (not the designer kind), and a wrinkled T-shirt. I thought to myself, “Wow, this guy must be really good to be so carefree about how he’s dressed for his audition!” He sat down, didn’t say much, put on his “readers” (half-glasses), and began to read the scene off the page. Our creator-star read with all the actors. The actor continued to read, face down in his sides. He’d look up briefly to see that we were all still there but basically just read off the page. I felt the energy in the room shift. I saw steam start to come out of the producer’s ears. My face got all hot. Then it happened. As if things weren’t bad enough, Johnny decided to try his hand at a joke and change the dialogue. He was sitting in the presence of one of the hottest veteran comedians for the last 30 years, someone who had a long-running hit TV show, and he thought he’d show how funny he was by changing the dialogue. The line read, “Boy! Somebody’s got a bee in his bonnet today!” He changed it to, “Boy! Somebody’s got a bee in his yarmulke today!” He tried to make a Jewish joke to the Jews in the room. At that point, one of the producers’ head exploded. The other producer was so furious he turned his entire body around on the couch to face the back of the room. I felt myself sink into a pool of hot molasses.

He finished his scene. We all just sat there staring at him. You could hear a pin drop. I said, “Thank you,” and he slunk out of the room. Then everybody turned to me with a giant “What the heck was that?” look. I had no answer. I threw myself on the sword. I took responsibility for this guy being unprepared, not caring about how he dressed, and the ultimate sin—changing dialogue.

By the time you get a script, it has been through months of revisions and rewrites, not to mention notes from the studio and the network. The writers want to hear their words. They get very attached to them.

I’ve worked with some directors who openly say, “I’m not attached to the material—it’s OK if you riff a bit.” That’s the time to improvise. Otherwise, stick to the material you’ve been given, put your own spin on it from your well-thought-out character choices, then let it fly…as written.  For more great acting and casting info visit Marci Liroff at


John Krasinski – Off Camera – “Auditioning for The Office”


Use Protection

October 15, 2013 By Marci Liroff 10 Comments

Content By Marci Liroff
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By Marci Liroff

You’ve got an extremely emotional scene to do. You arrive early to your audition so you can get settled and get in your “zone”.

In the waiting room you overhear the casting assistant talking to CAA about sending a script to Mr. Famous Actor for your role. You can actually hear the actors auditioning in the other room and they’re getting a great reaction. You’re starting to question all your choices. “Eek! I wasn’t gonna do that!”

You shove your earbuds even further into your ears hoping you can drown out all these distractions that will be undoubtedly be your undoing. “I’m good. I’m in my zone. I can do this!” you repeat over and over. You’re calling up your character’s emotional past to grab onto the emotions you’ll need for the upcoming scene.

You’re ushered into the casting office and are greeted by a peppy and excited assistant OR a group of people that barely register that you’re in the room to audition. Then they want to chat. “How’s it going?/What did you think of the script?/Do you have any questions?” In the background you can hear the distinct sound of your heart beating so loudly that you can barely hear them asking you these inane questions. Then you realize, no, it’s not your heartbeat it’s the distinct sound of a drill because they’re putting on a new roof on the office while you’re auditioning.

Are we having fun yet? No, we’re not. How can an actor give a great audition against all these odds that seem to be set up as an obstacle course to make them fail? Protect yourself. Yes, YOU have to protect yourself against all these outside elements. Concentration is key but asking, or rather telling them what you need is also crucial. This is what I call “controlling the room”. If you have a traumatic scene to do and you’re all geared up to connect to the character’s pain emotionally, then you come into an office and have to chat first – protect yourself. You can say, “I’d love to jump into the scene first then we can chat after.” It’s all about the way you ask/tell. If you’re polite and gracious you can get away with murder in this setting – as long as you’re not a diva about it. Remember, we want you to do well. We want to help you. It’s ok to ask a specific question about the scene, character, screenplay beforehand but make sure that you can use the answer in a very specific way to inform the way you’ll play the upcoming scene.

If you get lost in the first few moments of the scene, stop and say, “I’m going to start over” and do just that – start over. Don’t ask for permission. You need not make a big deal about it. Don’t apologize and don’t have a meltdown. Remember, you didn’t do anything horrible – but if you flip out and say, “I’m so sorry, can I please start over? Damn I always do that!”, then you give me pause and I’m now worried how you’ll be on set if this happens. It’s how you handle these little speed bumps that shows us what a pro you are.

Remember, this is your time. This is your audition. Tell us what you need.

I’d love to hear about how you protect yourself in auditions and I’m sure it would help our community as well. Leave a comment and share this blog with your friends.

Glad you’re here!


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