Casting directors, acting coaches and showrunners provide an in-depth look at cultivating young talent. They touch on searching for the "it factors", adapting to growing demands for diversity and creating a star system in Canada
Daniel Birnbaum has been running both the Film/Television and Youth Departments at the Talent House for three years. Having grown up as an actor in film, television and professional theatre, Daniel continued his training at Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Performance Program. Upon graduation, Daniel quickly discovered a passion for business and merged his love of the arts and business by seguing his career into the world of talent management. He prides himself on having a very diverse and busy roster, of varied ages, with some of his top clients starring in hit series such as The Other Kingdom, Reign, Heroes Reborn, Make It Pop, Backstage, Lost and Found Music Studios, Between, Dark Matter, Killjoys, Annedroids, and a variety of films. Additionally, he’s had clients work in professional theatre all across Canada, and abroad. Daniel was selected as one of the “Five To Watch” for Playback Magazine (2015). He brings a keen eye and a passion to this industry which allows him to work towards the constant success of his clients.
Laura Harbin began her career at Shaftesbury Films where she was on the producing team for over 35 titles, including Murdoch Mysteries (City TV), ReGenesis (TMN/MC/Global) and Life with Derek (Family). In 2011 she joined Temple Street Productions as Senior Director of Scripted Programming, overseeing development and production of the highly rated, award-winning series Being Erica (CBC), Wingin’ It (Family, Starz), the hit tween series The Next Step (Family, Hulu) and the music-based tween series Lost & Found Music Studios which she also Executive Produced. In 2015 she joined forces with Frank van Keeken to start Beachwood Canyon Productions which is currently developing and producing its own projects while continuing to Exec Produce The Next Step.
Larissa Mair has been involved in the arts on a myriad of levels for over 20 years. She is currently the Canadian Casting Director for CBS Paramount on 12 of the network’s new pilots. She recently wrapped the feature film Milton’s Secret, starring Donald Sutherland as well as the upcoming television series Raising Expectations, starring Jason Priestly and Molly Ringwald. Upcoming projects include Four in the Morning (Series, Serendipity Pictures/CBC), The Beaverton (Series, Lantos Pictures/CTV), The CBC Winnipeg Comedy Festival (Frantic Pictures/CBC), Country Crush (Feature Film, eOne) and the Canadian flagship series, Degrassi: Next Class (DHX Media/Netflix). Larissa’s other notable credits include Odd Squad (Series, Sinking Ship/PBS), Make It Pop (Series, DHX Media/Nickelodeon), The Kingdom (Series, DHX Media/Family Channel), Full Out (Feature Film, Family Channel), The Stanley Dynamic (Series, Amaze Pictures/YTV), and the made-for-TV movie, Bruno and Boots (Family Channel).
Tyler Murree is a professional actor who was performed in many film & television projects as well as dozens of stage productions including Broadway’s Les Misérables, The National tour of Disney’s The Lion King and, here in Toronto, The Mirvish Productions of Les Miz, Dirty Dancing and The Lord of the Rings. He has also made a name of himself assisting directors and working with young performers as an acting/dialogue coach on the sets of popular children’s television programs like “The Adventures of Napkin Man, The Other Kingdom, Make it Pop, Max & Shred, My Babysitter’s a Vampire and Life With Boys.
Wayne Davis was an actor in Toronto, in the late 90’s, including a stint at the Stratford Festival. For the last 15 years, he and his wife, Megan, have been working with children in the performing arts at their Thornhill studio – Charactors Theatre Troupe – where Wayne directs and produces a number of musical theatre productions with children grades 2 – 12. He is also the Co-Artistic Director of City Youth Players – a non-profit youth theatre company in York Region - where he has had the opportunity to work with young actors up to the age of 25.
Martin Markle As the Senior Director of Children’s Content, Martin Markle leads the overall strategy for Kids’ CBC. In this role, he oversees the in-house production team, the commissioning of original shows from independent producers, as well as acquisitions, the children’s digital platforms, and audience outreach. He is responsible for content from development to delivery, supervising a diverse slate of projects that includes animation, live action, and puppets. Previous to his role as Senior Director, Markle worked as Executive in Charge of Production for Kids’ CBC. He supervised the animated action series Dragon Booster, which won the Gemini Award for Best Animated Series. As executive producer, he received a Gemini Award for Best Children’s or Youth Program or Series, for The Morgan Waters Show. As an independent producer, Martin has provided animation for Comedy Central, and produced the original musical series JiggiJump. He has written scripts for Yam Roll and Polka Dot Shorts, and directed commercials for Nabisco and Virgin Radio. He also has served as Creative Producer of the TVO Kids afternoon block. With over twenty years experience in the television industry, Martin continues to be passionate about children’s and youth content.