This week on Casting Frontier’s ninth episode, part two of The Curve, Burgandi and Govind continue chatting with the creative force known as Fred Goss. In addition to being an actor, Goss is best known as the creator/writer/director/producer and star of ABC’s family comedy Sons and Daughters. 

In fact, Goss broke into the business as a writer with the 2006 sitcom. And the show quickly gained a devoted following as it captured a fresh and lively take on interactions of an extended, blended family. However, it was up against American Idol’s highest-rated season. So as viewers were contemplating who to crown the next most popular singer (Taylor Hicks or Katharine McPhee) barely any of them even knew about the existence of Sons and Daughters. All the while, the semi-improvised sitcom’s audience members were calling Sons and Daughters, “One of my favorite shows of all time,” “very compelling,” and “probably the best prematurely canceled show ever.”

Although the show aired just 10 episodes, it allowed Goss to get his foot in the door to direct hundreds of commercials as well as award-winning episodic work. 

In this interview, Goss talks about the importance of casting. He spends a lot of time seeing actors before selecting them because he’s a big believer in the old adage: “Directing is only something you have to do if you have not done good casting.” A tremendous advantage for any actor, Goss insists, is to have developed improvisational skills. Performers who can both read from the script and improvise can create their own flow on set, remain in character with ease even when the camera is turned off, and are equipped to develop a natural rapport with their scene partners with the playful technique. So, Goss highly encourages actors to take improv classes.

As for individuals who want to create their own work, Goss has some advice. He tells aspiring writers, “Don’t be precious about it when you’re starting. Like if you get a camera, and you’re writing stuff … all you want to do is give [producers] something you’re okay with because they’re going to note it, no matter how perfect it is. So when you write something, get them the script. They want to be a part of the development process.” Instead of refining a single piece until it’s perfect, he encourages less-polished volume. He says, “Do a script a week; just knock it out and shoot it once a week.” By the tenth script, he says, you’ll start to figure it out. 

Most recently, Goss created and directed an 11-part short docu-series starring Jeff Bridges who relies heavily on improvisation for the first time. It’s inspired by Bridges’ “wonderfully absurd” 2015 Sleeping Tapes which featured spoken-word and ambient music—and indeed climbed to the top of the New Age Billboard Chart. Goss says Bridges, “Kills it!” as he embarks on a sometimes-tempestuous journey to perform his artistic Sleeping Tapes live at the Hollywood Bowl. The series’ slogan is, “Where a healthy sleep life fuels an inspired AWAKE LIFE.” And the project 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-length film to be released this coming fall.

To learn more about the project, visit JoinSleepClub.com.

And to learn more about Fred Goss and his career, visit his website GossFilms.com.

Casting Frontier’s YouTube series The Curve is hosted by Burgandi Phoenix and Govind Kumar. Make sure to check out episode ten next week to hear more valuable tips and stories from more industry insiders. Next up is the legendary casting director April Webster.

 

Comments

comments