Kat McNamara, Actress

July 11, 2018

Kat McNamara

Today my guest on the Hometown to Hollywood podcast is actress Kat McNamara. Kat has many credits in film and TV and on stage, but she is best known for her roles on Shadowhunters, Maze Runner, Happyland, The Fosters, and R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls.

We cover a lot of ground, including some inspiring facts: Kat was on Broadway at the age of 13, and graduated with honors from high school at 14 and from college at 17 with a degree in business; all while working steadily! I caught her on a break from filming Shadowhunters in Toronto

Some of my favorite quotes from this podcast interview:

  • “The minute this isn’t fun, don’t do it anymore.”
  • “Be prepared. And then relax. And have fun.”
  • “An actor’s job is to audition.”
  • “If it comes your way, that’s awesome! And if it doesn’t, it wasn’t meant for you. And there’s something else out there.”
  • “It’s amazing to be part of this community that ultimately is about love, acceptance, and encouraging people to be who they are.”
  • “If you’re doing something and you feel accomplished, happy, and fulfilled… that’s success.”
  • “I don’t really have time to focus on the negative.”
  • “Find a way to look at the silver lining. Because there’s always a silver lining in every situation.”
  • “If you in your own heart, are doing what you know is right, & good for you, & you’re being who you truly are, there’s no need to let anyone make you feel inferior.”
  • “Never let anyone squash your dreams.”


Follow Kat HERE:

Instagram:     @kitkatsmeow

Twitter:          @Kat_McNamara

Facebook:       @OfficialKatherineMcNamara

(all verified accounts)

Kat’s view on pursuing an acting career mirrors mine: if it’s in your heart, you should follow that dream. But if it stops being fun, let it go and do something else! The world is filled with amazing paths to pursue.

If your kid or teen has their heart set on acting, and you want to help them have their best chance at that dream, I can help you raise the odds of their success. Investing in a single consultation with me can save you years of time, thousands of dollars, and give you peace of mind. Whether you pursue a career in Hollywood, or right where you are, in your hometown.

If you’re ready for some help getting started, or are already down the road but looking to get un-stuck, schedule a phone, Skype, or in-person consultation with me today. We’ll cover the issues where you know you need help, as well as some issues you may not even be aware of!

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Tish Hicks, Voiceover Artist & Coach

June 28, 2018

Today my guest on Hometown to Hollywood is Master Voiceover Actor and Coach Tish Hicks.

One of LA’s most successful voiceover artists for over 20 years, Tish is as smart, down-to-earth, and nurturing as her signature voice, which you probably have heard as the voice of countless campaigns, including Subaru (for the last seven years) and Citibank (for seven years before that), in animated series like "Ever After High" and "Stinky and Dirty".

Tish is also an acclaimed teacher, and the founder of The V.O. Dojo, a training, networking, and resource center connecting voiceover actors of all levels.

We talk about MANY things voiceover, including why Tish calls it an actor’s “secret weapon,” the major types of voiceover work available for actors, getting VO work without an agent, the kind of agent do you need for the bigger jobs, union status, what actors should do who want to expand into VO work, what should be on a beginner’s VO demo, and MUCH more!

 Some of my favorite quotes from this episode:

  • “Hey kids! Like theatre? Like eating? Try voiceover!”
  • “The internal training is as important as the external training.”
  • “Leave your inner critic outside the booth.”
  • “Know that you can do it, even if you never tried.”
  • “Nobody climbs a mountain by themselves.”
  • “Every time you hear a voiceover, somebody gets paid.”
  • “If you want to be a pro, then train like a pro, with the pros.”
  • “We are essential, and we are expendable; there’s no room for mediocrity.”
  • “There’s lots of people making six figures right where they are.”
  • “You don’t expect to walk into a 6-week ballet class, then audition for ABT.”

How to Find Tish:

Personal website:      http://tishhicks.com/vo/

VO Dojo:                     http://thevodojo.com/

Twitter:                      https://twitter.com/thevodojo

Facebook:                   https://www.facebook.com/thev.o.dojo/


The five things Tish believes are critical for a successful voiceover career—decision, mindset, technique, application, and support—are equally critical for an acting career, whether you are a child, teen or adult.

If your kid or teen has their heart set on acting, and you want to help them have their best chance at that dream, I can help you raise the odds of their success. Investing in a single consultation with me can save you years of time, thousands of dollars, and give you peace of mind. Whether your pursue a career in Hollywood, or right where you are, in your hometown.

If you’re ready for some help getting started, or are already down the road but looking to get un-stuck, schedule a phone, Skype, or in-person consultation with me today. We’ll cover the issues where you know you need help, as well as some issues you may not even be aware of!

Did this post help or inspire you? Share it with someone who would enjoy it! Thanks!


Marci Liroff, Casting Director

June 14, 2018

Hi, thanks for joining us on Hometown to Hollywood! Today my guest on this podcast is Hollywood casting director Marci Liroff.

Marci is an independent casting director who has cast over 50 films, many of them iconic. While working at the renowned casting office of Fenton-Feinberg Casting she, along with Mike Fenton, cast such films as the Academy Award-nominated Poltergeist; Steven Spielberg’s E.T.Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

After establishing her own casting company in 1983, MARCI LIROFF CASTING, Marci cast successful films like Footloose, St. Elmo’s Fire, Pretty in Pink, The Spitfire Grill, Untamed Heart, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Iron Giant, Vampire Academy and The Sublime and Beautiful, which she produced as well.

Marcie is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Casting Society of America.


Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:


  • “If a director is watching your audition, & you don’t grab them immediately—BOOM!— instantly they’re going to click away.”
  • “This is art, but it’s also business. And we can’t get the money from investors unless we have some sort of name attached to sell it.”
  • “When someone walks in, and they look right for the part, my inner voice is going, “Please be good, please be good, please be good!”
  • “I’m looking for authenticity, and honesty, and that they’re prepared.”
  • “I think it’s a great idea for any actor to work with a coach beforehand.”
  • “You have to be off-book on your very first audition. And you need to have made distinct choices, so I can see how your brain works.”
  • “Just say, ‘I’m going to start over,’ rather than, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,, I always do this, can I please start over?’”
  • “Don’t fall apart (if you forget a line). It’s not life or death here… It’s how you react to the situation that gives us confidence in you.”
  • “If you get an audition for something, and you start questioning, ‘what am I doing here, I’m not right for this,’ don’t do that to yourself… because WE see something in you that’s right for it.”
  • “Maybe you’re not right for this. But we will remember you for the next thing.”
  • “We’re getting thousands of submissions for each role. Thousands. If you’re one of the 50 that are called in—you’ve already won.”
  • “Your only goal should be to consistently go into these rooms and be good. And start building a foundation with the casting directors, producers, & directors, so that they’ll remember you for the next thing.”
  • “We bring you in because we’re your biggest fan, and we’re trying to get you this role.”
  • “I think actors should watch 1-2 episodes of every TV show that’s out there. When you get an audition the night before, I’d rather see you spending that time preparing for the audition, rather than having to catch up.”
  • “If you wouldn’t do it in the real world, don’t do it on social media.”
  • “So much of this is mindset and perspective, and that’s the one thing that you can control.”


Marci’s DVD course Marci Liroff’s Audition Bootcamp, is available to purchase on her website, http://www.marciliroff.com/.


Here is a link to Marci’s online course on the Udemy platform:



Check them out!


Follow Marci here:

Website: http://www.marciliroff.com/

Twitter: @marciliroff

Instagram: @marciliroff

Facebook: @MarciLiroffFans


Link to “How to self-tape your audition like a rock star” HERE

Link to Deadline article about the Child Performers Protection Act HERE

Links to the 6-part article from Marci’s blog on what Casting Directors do are below:








This was one of the most informative podcasts I’ve ever had the pleasure of producing, and one of my biggest takeaways is Marci’s emphasis on the importance of mindset to success. This really can’t be emphasized enough.

So much of what makes a difference in getting cast—as well as simple quality of life—is about your mindset. Every successful actor I know shares this belief.

Look for more writing and focus on mindset in upcoming blog posts, courses and books here… and meanwhile, if you are looking for immediate help in a breakthrough for your career or the career of your young actor, book a consultation with me over Skype or in person in Los Angeles. For little more than the cost of an hour with an acting coach, you can have a breakthrough in your success on this journey. I look forward to speaking with you!




College Audition Program, Sarah Gaboury

May 30, 2018

Did you know that most top drama programs in the country take fewer than 8% of applicants? But help is on the way! My guest on this special episode of Hometown to Hollywood is acting coach Sarah Gaboury, of the College Audition Program, & Teen Actors Lab. And she has developed a special online program to give you everything you need to maximize your odds of getting into the program of your dreams.


Join us for some great tips in this podcast, and then sign up for a free online class that could reinvent your future… Three Things Stopping You from Getting into Drama School, which I’ll be hosting live with Sarah Wednesday, June 13, at 7pm Pacific Time. Signup link is HERE: https://collegeauditionprogram.com/bw/


Some of my favorite quotes from this episode:


  • “If you really want it, you’re going to need to put in some serious hours.”
  • “I feel like teens ‘get it’ quicker than adults, because they have less ‘stuff’ to break down sometimes.”
  • “I see a lot of programs that dumb it down, and I don’t know why.”
  • “Lack of preparation is the biggest issue stopping kids from getting into drama school.”
  • “It’s very hard to know what you don’t know.”
  • “One of the best resources out there is the NACAC Visual and Performing Arts College Fair.”
  • “If you don’t like reading plays, you probably shouldn’t do this.”
  • “What is your ‘WHY’?”
  • “Look at the faculty and what they’re doing, and see if that feels inspiring to you.”
  • “Figure out who you are, and how to bring that to these auditions.”
  • “It’s never too early to start.”


How to Find Sarah, the College Audition Program, and the Teen Actors Lab:


College Audition Program:   https://collegeauditionprogram.com/

Teen Actors Lab:                   https://teenactorslab.com/

Instagram:                             @teenactorslab

Twitter:                                  @teenactorslab

Facebook:                               @teenactorslab


Chandler Kinney, Actress

May 17, 2018

My guests on this episode of Hometown to Hollywood are actress Chandler Kinney and her mom Taryn Kinney. Chandler is best known for her roles on Lethal Weapon, Gortimer Gibbons’ Life on Normal Street, Girl Meets World, KC Undercover, and The Haunted Hathaways. And Taryn is her fabulous mom!

We cover some great topics in this conversation, including why Chandler feels so strongly about the importance of training, when her mom Taryn knew to take her interest in performing seriously, the role that dance played in her getting started as an actor, and much more. And we laugh a lot! Join us!

Some of my favorite quotes:

  • “If you try—and succeed—then you’ve got to find a way to make it work.”
  • “I draw inspiration from almost everything I come in contact with.”
  • “Dancing and performing onstage has taught me how to be in the moment.”
  • “Everyone’s childhood is important.”
  • “You have to be open to the lesson.”
  • “If you have to be somewhere anyway, why not learn from it?”
  • “Buying those books—and READING them—saved us so much pain.”


Follow Chandler HERE:

Twitter: @chandlerlkinney (verified)

Instagram: @chandlerlkinney (verified)


Chandler’s path into acting illustrates that there are many ways to go… in her case, she began in dance, which led to a commercial, which led to an agent, then acting classes, and then acting in film and TV. There is no “one way” to do this. And because everyone’s situation is different, it can be hard to know how to approach breaking into the industry. A single consultation with me via Skype or in-person in LA can make all the difference.

No one can promise success in this business, but you can certainly raise your odds while saving a lot of time and money. If you’re ready to get some coaching on how to break into acting for film or TV, or are already down the road but stuck, book a consultation with me on my consultation page. For not much more than the price of an acting coach, you can get peace of mind, and a detailed action plan.


Thomas Doherty, Actor

May 2, 2018

My guest on this episode of the Hometown to Hollywood podcast is Thomas Doherty. His hometown is Edinburgh, Scotland!

Thomas is best known for his work playing Harry Hook in Descendants 2, and Sean in The Lodge. His movie High Strung Free Dance will be out in 2018, and he’s about to begin production on Descendants 3 in Vancouver.

We delve into the more spiritual and philosophical side of being an actor, while discovering some seriously great stories (Thomas led a true double life for 4 years while he hid his passion for musical theatre, Billy-Elliot style). He shares his secret to both peace of mind and compelling acting (meditation) and finding happiness. Join us!

Some of my favorite quotes from this inspiring interview:

  • “To me, the idolizing turned to appreciating.”
  • “I thought, ‘is their opinion really more important than what I want to do?’ And I realized it wasn’t.”
  • “It wasn’t cool to be doing (theatre and dance). So I went in secret, like a Billy Elliot story. I did that for 4 years.”
  • “Keep learning, keep growing, keep going to dance classes.”
  • “Always work on your weaknesses, because you become a more rounded, wholesome performer.”
  • “The best advice I could give you is to meditate. You get into your body, out of your mind, and more present. And it shows on camera.”
  • On Hollywood: “There’s just all this possibility. It’s not the possibility that you thought it would be… but it’s fantastic.”
  • “Fame and fortune can’t make you happy… you experience happiness inside yourself.”
  • “You’ve got to stumble before you can walk.”
  • “I guess the ultimate success is to be happy.”

Follow Thomas online here:

Twitter: @thomasadoherty

Instagram: @thomasadoherty

Both accounts are verified with the little blue checkmark.

Thomas makes it clear that a great deal of success in Hollywood-- or in life in general-- is due to your internal condition. You can understand all the basics of how to do something, but if you are missing a healthy mindset, you will never experience the joy you seek-- and probably not achieve your professional goals either. This echoes my experience too.

Sometimes a slightly different approach is all it takes to get some traction in this industry. If you need help geting your young actor's career off the ground, book a consultation with me over Skype or in LA. A single session can answer your questions, give you an action plan, and peace of mind.


Marnie Cooper, Acting Coach

April 18, 2018

My guest on this podcast episode is master acting coach, and talent manager, Marnie Cooper.

Marnie has been teaching acting, and coaching clients for over 25 years, and works with kids, teens, and adults. Her clients include Mila Kunis, America Ferrera, Miley Cyrus, Syler Samuels, Olivia Holt, Jennette McCurdy, Braeden Lemasters, Danielle and Kay Panabaker, Taylor Momsen, Paul Dano, Brenda Song, Ashley Argota, Leelee Sobieski, Ella Anderson, and many more.

She teaches beginner through master classes as well as private coaching in her studio in Studio City, California. Marnie also does on-set coaching, and works with actors via Skype and Facetime all over the world. She is also the author of Teaching Kids to Act for Film and Television.

Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:


  • “Acting is one of the only professions where you don’t want your hard work to show.”
  • “If I coach you well, they should think you’re not coached.”
  • “They want you organic. And whatever you do to get organic is what they want you to do.”
  • “Even if you’re wrong for the role, I highly recommend you go in.”
  • “You can be a great actor and a bad auditioner, and never work a day in your life.”
  • “There is no great, horrific thing that is going to happen if you blow your audition.”
  • “Bring a notebook to the audition and journal from the character’s point of view in the waiting room.”
  • “Be off book. Every time you look down is a moment you’re not present.”
  • “You need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
  • “Acting is a wonderful experience every child should have, but not necessarily professionally.”


Follow Marnie Here:


Website:         http://marniecooperschool.com/

Facebook:       @MarnieCooperSchoolofActing

Twitter:          @howdoiact

Instagram:     @MarnieCooperSchoolofActing


Buy her book on Amazon here:

Teaching Kids to Act for Film and Television


I agree with Marnie-- Not everyone who loves to act should be a professional actor. But if your kid or teen has their heart set on it and you want to help them have their best chance at that dream, I can help you raise the odds of their success. Investing in a single consultation with me can save you years of time, thousands of dollars, and give you peace of mind.

If you're ready for some help getting started, or are already down the road but looking to get un-stuck, schedule a Skype or in-person consultation with me today. We'll cover the issues where you know you need help, as well as some issues you may not even be aware of!

Did this post help you? Share it with someone who would enjoy it! Thanks!


Mackenzie Hancsicsak of This is Us

April 3, 2018

What’s it like to book a series regular role on a hit TV show at the age of 8… on your first audition ever? The show is This is Us, and that’s exactly what happened to my guest Mackenzie Hancsicsak! Mackenzie plays Young Kate on the Emmy-award-winning show, and her fabulous mom, Melinda joins us on this podcast episode.

Melinda and Mackenzie share their story, and we cover all kinds of territory, including the importance of Improv skills, the reality of parenting a kid on a TV show as well as the reality of being a kid on one (hint: you have to wake up early a LOT), how to stay grounded, how being a working actor can sharpen memorization and other academic skills… and there is even a little impromptu duet of Descendants 2’s Ways to Be Wicked-! Join us for a fun and intimate conversation.

Some of my favorite quotes from this episode:

  • “I don’t think you can really work a full-time job. Your job is to be the advocate for your kid.”
  • “I have to believe that learning her lines is helping her in school.”
  • “Someday she won’t be in the show, and I want her to learn life skis that she can take with her in life, and not just on a set.”
  • “Kids are taught to hate, and they’re taught to love.”
  • You have no idea what they’re looking for… so you can’t lose if you’re just being yourself.”

We mention the Girl Uplifters Team (GUT) whose motto is “Girls uplifting girls. Everywhere. Every one. Every single day.” This is a wonderful group that I support as well. You can find them at http://www.girlupliftersteam.com/

Follow Mackenzie at:

Twitter: @MHancsicsak

Instagram: @mackenziehancsicsak


(Both accounts are verified, and operated by Melinda).


And fan mail can be sent to:

P.O. Box 801705, Santa Clarita, California, 91380


Breaking into the world of professional acting can be confusing and challenging, and it’s especially important to make good choices when what’s at stake is your kid. I offer both Skype and in-person consultations for parents of young actors to help cut through the confusion, and increase your odds of success. A single session with me can save you thousands of dollars, and months—or possibly years—of wasted time. Go to my Consultations webpage and book a session today—before another season goes by. You’ll be glad you did!


Raegan Revord, Actress

March 16, 2018

Raegan Revord, Actress

What’s it like to be only ten years old, and a series regular on a huge hit show? What’s it like to be the mom of a young star? Listen in and you’ll hear from my guests, Raegan and Holly Revord. Raegan is best known for her roles on Young Sheldon, Modern Family, and Grace and Frankie. And Holly is her fabulous mom!

We discuss how Raegan started in the industry, how she stays grounded, some of the challenges they face as a family, surprises along their journey, advice for young actors and their parents, and much more. Join us!

Some of my favorite quotes from this episode:

  • “I don’t ever want her to forget the journey. All the ‘no’s’ that she got. It was not easy!”
  • “Don’t be what you think they want. Be yourself.”
  • “The set really is the best classroom.”
  • “If you want it, fight for it.”
  • “We have jars that say, ‘save,’ ‘spend,’ and ‘share.’”
  • “You can actually invest the Coogan funds.”
  • “Have a team that believes in your kid. That’s so important.”
  • “I am trying tor raise a good human. I’m not trying to raise a good actor.”
  • “There’s enough sunshine at the top for everybody.”


Follow Raegan HERE:

Twitter: OfficialRaeganR (verified)

Instagram: @raeganrevord (verified)

Facebook: @raeganrevord (verified)


Raising a kid is challenging enough without adding the pressures of auditions, working, and potentially even fame to the mix! Sometimes having someone to check in with can be invaluable… especially if you get stuck or are not sure how to proceed in a sticky situation.

I offer consultations with parents of young actors at any stage, from complete beginners to families that have been on this path for a while. Book a 60 or 90 minute consultation with me over Skype or in person in Burbank, and get the help you need to support your kid as they follow their dream of being a professional actor.




Michelle Danner, Acting Coach

February 28, 2018

My guest on this episode of Hometown to Hollywood is Michelle Danner.

Michelle is an award-winning acting coach, film director, and founder of the Michelle Danner Acting Studio in Los Angeles. She trained with Stella Adler and Uta Hagen, and actors she has worked with both privately and on set include Chris Rock, Gerard Butler, Seth MacFarlane, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, James Franco, Christian Slater, Zooey Deschanel, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Coolidge, and many more.

The Michelle Danner Acting Studio features an extremely broad offering of classes for kids, teens, and adults, including scene study, audition for film and TV, Improv, film script analysis, private coaching, and much more. She is also founding and artistic director of the Edgemar Center for the Arts.

Join us as Michelle breaks down the basics of Meisner Technique, Lee Strasberg’s Method, Stella Adler, Stanislavski’s System, Uta Hagen, and the Chekhov technique…. and explains why she think it’s important to have more than one approach to playing a role, as well as the difference of acting for stage vs. film vs. TV, and MUCH more!


Some of my favorite quotes from our conversation:


  • “If you’re doing theatre, you’re playing tennis; if you’re doing a movie, you’re playing ping pong; and if you’re doing TV you’re playing marbles.”
  • “People want to hire young actors that they feel will deliver, and not freeze up.”
  • On auditioning: “You really have to understand the music of the writing, the music of the show.”
  • The more you study, research, and do, the more you’re ahead of the game.”
  • “The most important thing is to get out of your head.”
  • “Be really interested in the ride. The ride is the joyful part of it.”
  • “For 100 NO’s, there could be a yes.”
  • “Study the actors that inspire you.”
  • “You don’t have to wait for someone to say yes to you. You can say yes to yourself.”
  • “Nothing is easy that’s worthwhile in this life.”


Follow Michelle here:


Website:         http://www.michelledanner.com/

Twitter:          @ActingAtEdgemar

Instagram:     @MichelleDannerLA

Facebook:       @MichelleDannerLosAngelesActingSchool