This week on Casting Frontier’s ninth episode of The Curve, Burgandi and Govind are joined by the multi-talented Fred Goss who boasts an epic list of credits. In addition to being an actor, he’s best known as the creator/writer/director/producer/star of ABC’s Sons and Daughters. Goss is also an award-winning director with his work on the comedy series Modern Family (2009) and Community (2009). In fact, he’s directed many episodic shows and hundreds of commercials.

Moving from Michigan to Los Angeles at the age of 18, Goss delved into stand-up comedy and theater. Over a decade later, he realized all the skills he was acquiring were not advancing his career the way he’d hoped. “By the time I was 30, it became abundantly clear to me that nobody gave a flying [fill in the blank] about my career in Hollywood,” he shares.

Discouraged, Goss had to reassess his approach. He began earning a living as a production assistant and then he moved on to working in casting—eventually casting about 100 commercials. One of them was a Sprite commercial in the 1980s, and he landed the part himself. That one role opened the door to him acting in approximately 150 commercials!

Along the way, Goss learned shooting and editing skills, as well as how to stream over the Internet. To help pay the bills, he shot videos capturing bar mitzvahs. But his love of performing kept Goss active in improv and sketch comedy; always growing, he honed his comedic writing skills.

Eventually, his work in comedy captured the interest of network executives. Indeed, Goss received his break as a writer with the 2006-2007 ABC family comedy Sons and Daughters. The television series featured an extended blended family with Goss portraying the protagonist father Cameron Walker. And while the cast semi-improvised their lines, Goss and his co-creator Nick Holly developed robust storylines which gave the actors important milestones to hit while keeping the narrative moving forward. The writing also anchored the actors in their characters’ backstories and gave them their unique voices.

At the time, Goss told Variety, “There are no traditional, constructed jokes. We decide the size of the elephant in the room and people play it straight. A good actor is inherently a good improviser.” Each episode sifted several hours of footage down to a single 22-minute show. However, Sons and Daughters was up against some heavy competition; it ran against American Idol and House. But while its audience was relatively small, the sitcom garnered a devoted fanbase. And although the show aired just 10 episodes, it allowed Goss to get his foot in the door to directing many commercials as well as episodic work in the years to come.

Overall, Goss says he attributes his success in the industry to “taking initiative and doing it myself because I knew full well that nobody was going to ask me to be in their movie, nobody was going to ask me to direct their TV show.” He advises aspiring talent to be realistic about who is and isn’t invested in their success in the field and to take charge of their own development.

More recently, Goss created and directed a rather unusual web series starring Jeff Bridges (learn more about it at JoinSleepClub.com) which got picked up as an Amazon Prime original film. The plan is to assemble the episodes and then add another 20 minutes to create a feature film to be released this coming fall.

Casting Frontier’s YouTube series The Curve is hosted by Burgandi Phoenix and Govind Kumar. Make sure to check out episode nine, part 2 next week to hear more valuable tips and stories from Fred Gross.

And just for fun, here is the 1980’s Sprite commercial featuring Goss struggling to put on the same overcoat as his acting partner. This part earned Goss his SAG card, and he made over $100,000 in residuals for only 20 minutes of work!

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