Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside and I still Ain't Playin!

Hi Everyone, Happy 2011 and Welcome Back to my Blog.

As I see snow cascading (yet again) from the window of my home-office, I have to glance at my Blackberry's wall paper to verify that beaches do in fact exist. The new year is settling into the relief that we are more than surviving but indeed thriving with whatever life (and the industry) presents to us. The Casting Solutions Facebook Group Page, maintained by the fabulous Cahill Connolly is a great way for direct access to what the office is up to. We also can be respectively followed on twitter via our names for current updates. As I continue my dual role as Producer/Casting Director, Cahill is faithfully in the wings for Casting Solutions and I Ain't Playin Films. She's continuing to succeed on her own as a Head Shot Photographer,, photo editor and production coordinator. I am truly blessed to have such a solid support system when needed. As always I am proud of her evolution since her college days.

With the launch of I Ain't Playin Films last year I truly feel as if I've earned my place within the New York City Indie Film Community. The gratification of producing is felt more profoundly than casting and I see this is as the path of my natural progression. Although on too many occasions I found myself putting out fires and talking directors off the ledge, the result was the satisfaction of contributing to creating film as art. The list of filmmakers who I love working with continues to expand and I look forward to future collaborations with those who are new to me.

Quite a few films with the casting/producing hybrid have done very well in the festival circuit world wide. Two high points: Sundance 2011 screened "Crazy Beats Strong Every Time" written & directed by Moon Molson and HBO plans to air "The Cycle", written & directed by Roy Clovis Jr. starting Feb. 1st.

I continue to meet new talent by attending showcases, giving workshops for the SAG foundation and teaching at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I enjoy seeing who's out there and keeping the casting files fresh, current and most importantly, diverse. Those of you who know me understand the mission of diversity and inclusion in casting is a life long one for me. I've noticed, expressed from a producer's perspective the issue has more of an impact and I'm taking full advantage of that platform. I'm having a great time working independently and challenging myself in ways I never thought possible. I want to thank everyone for their continued support for my book "Ace Your Acting Audition" designed of course by the multi-talented Cahill Connolly. Sales are steady and it's available at the Drama Book Shop and of course

I continue to be inspired by the world around me and the artists in it. Please feel free to be in touch via the Casting Solutions Facebook group page. There are about 1,400 members from around the globe which is a very heartwarming statistic to know.

Until the next time, be well and come in from the storm.
I wish you all the best- Liz

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall is Upon Us

Hi Everyone, Happy Fall and Welcome Back to my Blog-

As of my last blog post I have continued my personal facebook hiatus which began in the spring. I am grateful to my Casting Associate Cahill Connolly who maintains the Casting Solutions facebook group page which I do post on occasionally via her account. I'm enjoying posting on twitter (under LizOrtizMackes) as a way of time efficient updating. We are all shifting and evolving along with the seasons of life. Cahill has branched out as a photo editor, production coordinator and headshot photographer ( She is always on call to offer her expertise and support for Casting Solutions and I am, so proud of her additional accomplishments.

My expansion has been very personal and professionally has manifested within the realms of the labyrinth of indie film production. Every day I learn more and more how miraculous it is to get a film made. It has been extremely gratifying to collaborate with filmmakers who are artists in their own right. It is an honor to have on going working relationships with directors such as Moon Molson, Randall Dottin, Gordon Grinberg, Dave Gebroe, Wendy Shear, Stephen Mills, Roy Clovis Jr., Christina Choi, Sami Khan among others. The world of development and pre-production is a very isolated one. Much of the time I feel like I am so behind the scenes that I am underground. The more I delve into the intricacies of production the less you may hear about what Casting Solutions is up to. Understand this is quite deliberate as the natural progression into producing (I Ain't Playin Films) will eventually over shadow casting (Casting Solutions). We will always be available to clients to cast but as Cahill and I step into our respective changing roles in the industry we know it's best to flow with the shifts taking place.

I love being out there teaching at AADA, attending shows, giving workshops via the SAG Foundation and other venues. Casting is an integral part of how I think as a producer and I love seeing all the actors who are out there. Thanks to you book sales are still solid for "Ace Your Acting Audition", it's available at the Drama Book Shop and via I'm also delighted that I am booked to participate on a panel for producers at the School of Visual Arts on film financing (IIFF New York City Film Financing Townhall…) and I'll be speaking more from a producing perspective, which is a first.

Feel free to be in touch via the Casting Solutions facebook group page. I thank you for your support, and I hope this finds you all well and renewed for a wonderful Fall.

Until the next time, I wish you all the best- Liz

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spring Forward- Spring (Facebook) Fast

Welcome back to my blog and Happy Spring. I am grateful for the expansion of the Casting Solutions Facebook group page which has over 1,010 members world wide. It is very gratifying to have a place to directly reach out to actors about castings, resources and news. Facebook is an effective tool providing the means to achieve this goal. Having said that, I temporarily deactivated my personal account, as many of my Facebook friends are also on the group page. This hiatus or fast, is a bit of a challenge; can I live without a personal presence on Facebook and the residual "cyber-stress" it was creating? I think I can and less than 24 hours into this experiment, I've already saved time and mental energy. My Casting Associate, Cahill Connolly (who really runs Casting Solutions, I'm just a figure head) will be posting on the group page on my behalf and will relay any messages you may have for the office or myself. I will continue to tweet on a regular basis so feel free to follow me on twitter (LizOrtizMackes). Now for some updates since my last blog post:
Thanks to all of you who have supported my book Ace Your Acting Audition, designed by the amazing Cahill. Drama Book Shop continues to re-order it on a regular basis and it is available on and also being sold overseas. The wonderful reviews posted by actors have touched me deeply and thank you to those who took the time to do so.
In January I announced the newest division of Casting Solutions, I Ain't Playin Films. I'm happy to say that 2 screenplays are being agressively pushed in LA, and that's all I'm allowed to disclose about it, but very encouraging, especially in a business where the climate can be chronically discouraging.
On the Casting front there were screenings of 2 very special short films: "The Robber Barons of Wall Street" by Peter Killy and "The Cycle" by Roy Clovis Jr. which also was the screen debut of our intern, high school senior, Surfin Percy. The shift to producing has overlapped with 3 current projects which we cast and I also am Associate Producer. These 2 films: "Crazy Beats Strong Every Time" by Moon Molson, "The Tailor" by Gordon Grinberg and pilot "Drama Inc." by Jennifer Richards & Babatunde Odesanaya are collaborations of extremely talented and accomplished individuals. Additionally, the film "The Camera's Eye" directed by Wendy Shear and written by James Tracy is doing the festival circuit. I look forward to attending the screening on May 6th at the Bergenfield Film Festival. The gratification of producing in conjunction with casting is an expansive journey and creatively rewarding. As an instructor at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and my other workshops I have an even deeper inside perspective into the industry which I can further demystify to my students. Producing is also extremely chaotic, unpredictable and time consuming. I've had to cut back on attending shows and showcases. Wearing the wife, mom, casting, teacher and now producer hats simutaneously have taught me the necessity and freedom of boundaries. I want to know what actors are up to but please don't take it personally if I can't see your show. The more I'm out there bringing in new projects for the office the more opportunities I can provide to actors, and isn't that what it's all about?
Enjoy the spirit of renewal which is exemplified by the season. I appreciate all of you and until the next time I wish you only the best. - Liz

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's a New Year and I Ain't Playin! 1-21-10

Welcome back to my blog. It's been an exhausting start to the year with the global and personal challenges we are all facing. I am grateful for the basics: good health, family, friends and meaningful work. I'm identifying this time as a crisis of reinvention. I've emerged as an author (special thanks to all who've supported the successful launch of Ace Your Acting Audition) and film producer. I Ain't Playin Films, a new divsion of Casting Solutions has evolved as a result of the film/stage projects in production and development which found their way to me. I am honored to be working with great scripts and collaborators. For a summary of these projects please send an email to: . I embrace being more selective about the projects I cast and am enjoying my expanded role of producer more than I expected. I think this is because I have a stronger voice in the creative process and therefore able to advocate on a deeper level for diversity in regard to casting. Those who know me well understand how I love to speak up to producers and clients about the necessity of inclusion and advocacy for all actors. I know I push buttons, annoy some and perhaps lose work over this but that won't stop me because I Ain't Playin (hence the name of the new division!) I keep it real by proudly going into my 9th year on the faculty at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and by giving monthly workshops for SAG's NYCAP program for the last 3 years. Working closely with actors in this way is an inspiration and allows me to meet new actors on a continuous basis. We are all navigating our way through the storm of change, here's to moving onward and upward. All the best- Liz

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Fall 2009

Welcome to my blog, thanks for your support and now for a little news:
  • SAVE THE DATE - "ACE YOUR ACTING AUDITION" by Liz Ortiz-Mackes Book Launch, hosted by Drama Book Shop on Oct. 22, Please click on the link for an invitation.
Yes, I wrote a book thanks to the encouragement of my dear friend Franz Reynold of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. "ACE YOUR ACTING AUDITION" is based on my cold reading workshops which focus on quick, transformational tips to take your audition to the next level.

Please drop by the Drama Book Shop on October 22nd at 6PM to celebrate the book's launch.
If you'd like a copy of the latest press release, send an email to

I also have to give a heartfelt thanks to the amazing Cahill Connolly who not only runs the office as my casting associate but did a fantastic job of designing the book.
Cahill is also a very talented headshot photographer and I recommend you contact her for a complimentary consultation,

On the casting front currently airing is:
(Not for nothing, I will never watch this show, I am too damned squeamish)

Currently Screening are the following films we cast:
  • Zombie Honeymoon screened Governors Island Alliance, Post Factory Films NY and SlamDance.
  • Medicine Man directed by Himkar Tak, screening at 2009 Urban World Festival:
  • The Camera's Eye, directed by Wendy Shear is in post-production. The Huffington Post interviewed Wendy Shear and lead actress, Kate Forsatz.
  • The Cycle, directed by Roy Clovis Jr. is in post production and featured a stellar cast and crew. For more information log on to
I also had the pleasure of being Associate Producer on Medicine Man and The Camera's Eye. I'm discovering that producing is an extremely creative and gratifying art and we plan on working on more projects in that capacity. We have 3 feature films in development which look like they will be made within the next year. I'll be sure to give an update as these projects evolve.

In the meantime Happy Fall and if you haven't already please join our Facebook group Casting Solutions, and follow us on twitter:

All the best-
Liz & Cahill

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Shooting is slated to begin the first week of June on the new psychological horror film "The Camera’s Eye" in Patterson, New Jersey. "The Camera’s Eye" is the latest scary offering from "Friday the 13th": The Final Chapter screenwriter Bruce Hidemi Sakow. The film is being produced by New Jersey-based production company Joy Kill Entertainment, LLC. The film’s main location is at a fully restored four-story turn-of-the-century mansion in New Jersey. The original owner of the house built the mansion spending over a quarter of a million dollars at the turn of the century (a huge sum at the time). Cole (the owner) later hung himself when he was wiped-out in the stock market crash of 1929 (adding an eerie twist to the production)..

The independent feature-length psychological thriller tells the story of the mental breakdown of Roxanne, a troubled war photographer who is haunted by dreams of her father. Roxanne descends into madness when leaves to care for her dying mother and discovers that her father was a serial killer who murdered her twin sister when she was a young girl. As she tries to cope with this terrifying reality, Roxanne starts to see frightening otherworldly images in her photographs. Her mental state spirals downward as she begins a murder spree. Ted (her publisher and lover) tries to save her from the abyss of madness.

Bruce Hidemi Sakow and executive producer James Tracy co-wrote the original screenplay. Sakow attended both NYU Film School and the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Sakow taught screenwriting for nine years at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and has written twenty-six original screenplays including the tremendous box-office smash "Friday the 13th":The Final Chapter.

"The Camera’s Eye" is Executive Producer James Tracy’s first film project through his Joy Kill Entertainment, LLC banner. Tracy (an attorney who graduated Boston University School of Law) is a member of the New Jersey Screenwriters Group for over five years. This collaboration with Bruce Hidemi Sakow took place at this time.

Film and TV veteran Wendy Shear is making her directorial debut on the film after many years of working as an Assistant Director on television shows including NBC’s "Sisters", "The Dukes of Hazard", Aaron Spelling Productions’ "Dynasty" and "The Colbys" as well as films including "Every Which Way But Loose". Since moving to New York, Shear served as line-producer on the soon-to-be-released feature "The Spring in Her Step" starring Mario Van Pebbles and Bonnie Loren as has produced various independent film projects as well. Well-known Casting Director Liz Ortiz-Mackes was brought on board to round out the key production staff. Shooting "The Camera’s Eye" began on June 1st. Executive Producer James Tracy plans to have the feature in select film festivals by early 2010.

** For further information please contact Joy Kill Entertainment, LLC