Expert Advice for Actors by Amy Gossels

CASTING DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER AMY GOSSELS HAS WONDERFUL AND INFORMATIVE ADIVCE FOR ACTORS OF ALL LEVELS. SEE THE FASCINATING INTERVIEW BELOW!Amy Gossels

How did you fall into this business? Were you an actress as well? Or was it not a fall, but a plan back from your days at RISD?

I actually have my undergraduate degree from Brown University and did grad studies at Rhode Island School of Design. While at Brown, I studied theater as well as other arts as part of my semiotics major.  I performed in a number of productions at Brown and also directed a couple of shows. I knew early on that I wanted to be involved in something creative, whether it was studio art or performing arts, and therefore pursued both. But after my graduate work in studio art, I began to shift my focus towards film production. As for how I built my career, there is no simple answer, because I did it very differently from most. Whereas most get into the field by working for someone established, I never did. In fact, I never worked for anyone in the industry and actually started out by taking on the role of producer on an indie feature being directed by a friend of a friend. So, I was completely self taught.
It’s a long story, but in a nutshell, I was producing a film I that I really believed in, but as we were working with a micro budget, there was no money to hire a casting director. So, one of the many hats I wore on that production happened to also be that of casting director.  I learned “on the job” so to speak, out of necessity. During the shooting of that film, I not only was able to bring a couple of name actor friends, I also discovered a couple of wonderful actors who went on to become household names. My casting career was literally an offshoot of that new producing career, because the production designer I hired on that feature invited a commercial producer to set on our wrap night, and he was so impressed with the cast, he asked if I’d like to take a stab at casting a national network Lotus commercial for a certain director, who at the time, was the number one commercial director in the business and had just fired two other casting directors with whom he was unsatisfied. And as I’m not one to say no to a challenge, but rather one to embrace a new challenge, I said yes. But, I will admit that at first, it was a bit daunting, taking on a commercial job with a very high profile director was an entirely new endeavor which involved an intense learning curve that I had to navigate on my own. But, here I am about two decades later, feeling very blessed that I have a career that I love and still find great joy in everything I do, on both the casting and producing fronts.

What film projects have you enjoyed producing/casting for most? Why? 
I usually find the greatest joy in working with people whom I love, creatively and as human beings. I’ve been very lucky to love most all of the filmmakers I’ve worked with, but if I had to single one project out, it would be a short film I cast and co-produced called “Zen and the Art of Landscaping”. It went on to win more than a dozen film festivals, including Sundance and the Student Academy Award, aired on Showtime Networks and plays in film festivals showcasing the best of the best of short films to this day, about 15 years later.

Short films have always been a passion of mine, and my goal with shorts, as with features, is to not only find actors who will breathe the most interesting and engaging life into the roles, but also to raise the bar of each film by drawing actors who are not only talented and accomplished, but actors who will find nuances in the script so that the final film is even better than it was on the page. The beauty of short films is that they are usually a truly organic creative process, as opposed to one that is driven by distribution needs with often too many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone’s goal is very pure. To make the best film possible. A film that honors the script and the director’s vision that will delight an audience. This film stands out to me not only because of its success and awards and because so many people know it, love it and remember it to this day, but because I fell in love with the script and had a very strong, specific vision for the cast I wanted and was able to realize that vision because the director’s vision was completely in synch with mine and I was able to secure all the actors I had in mind. That rarely happens. That kind of serendipity where you see the final film on the screen in your mind, the director completely agrees with your vision and then you’re ultimately able to lock your dream cast to fully realize your vision and then the final film lives up to your hopes and expectations is a true gift.

Alyssa and I attended your workshop a few weeks ago! Thank you again for the invitation. We really enjoyed it. You are full of such great advice and give amazing direction. If you could give one piece of advice to new actors what would it be?  

I don’t have one piece of advice for actors but instead I have four crucial pieces of advice.
  • First, make sure you have a great headshot that makes people want to get to know you, that makes people interested in you, and that represents you very accurately while bringing out your unique presence. Your headshot often makes the difference between getting the audition or not, and in many cases, actors are booked based on a headshot and reel without an audition, so if the headshot isn’t compelling, clients will not bother to watch your reel or be interested in auditioning you.
  • Secondly, be proactive, submit through the established breakdown sites on a daily basis, listing your representative if you have one, and keeping them in the loop and/or asking them to submit for you.
  • Third, keep up with your training and make sure you’re training with the right people, because when you do get that big audition or opportunity, you want to be sure you’re confident, prepared and can compete with trained professionals who are also vying for the role.
  • Finally, work as much as you can. Work begets work. Take small things, including unpaid gigs from time to time, especially film or video bookings that might be used for your reel, and even background bookings now and then, especially if you’re new to the business. Wonderful new opportunities, connections and growth come from actively putting yourself in the midst of the creative process. I can’t tell you how many great things have come about in the most unexpected ways because someone was in the right place at the right time, i.e. on set and open and receptive to the magic of the moment.
What do you find most rewarding about your career?

I feel rewarded by so many things and can’t narrow it down to just one. As I touched on earlier when talking about my favorite film project, that experience of fully realizing your vision for a film and then seeing the audience thoroughly embrace it is certainly on the top of the list. I also love working in television and the adrenaline rush of being given an impossible challenge on an impossible timeline and how great it feels to deliver against all odds, exceed your clients’ expectations and then see your work air just a day or two later. And finally, I love teaching and am incredibly committed to the process and to achieving great results for the actors with whom I work. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to hear from my students about their new success. In just the past couple of weeks, I heard from one recent student who just booked her first national network commercial as a principal, from another who booked a supporting role on “Law & Order”, from another who just got into the Actors Studio and said he applied everything he learned in class to that audition, and another who is now being courted by two agents since finishing our workshop.

Helping actors hone the skills they need and to compete and succeed and sharing insight to give them a strong sense of direction with their career and then seeing that all translate into tangible new success gives me immeasurable joy.

For more information on how to build your experience with Casty Director Amy Gossels, contact Eliza at: amygosselsworkshop@hotmail.com

Please follow us on all media to stay up to date!

#amygossels #amygosselscasting #amygosselsworkshop #castingdirector #castingdirectorworkshop

Happy (almost) Summer!

Nothing screams summer quite like these new photos of Bicoastal model Katherine Cozumel for European Wax Center! These photos definitely make us wish our office was in a park, but at least working with Katherine and this team is always such a breeze!

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To keep up with Katherine and the rest of her commercial bookings, make sure to follow her on Instagram: @kcozumel

Model of the Month- Stacie J!

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We are so excited to have Stacie J as our Model of the Month! Within the first 3 weeks of signing with us, Stacie picked up her first fit account and has been steadily on the rise since, fitting now for several great brands within her first year!  Continue reading for more on Stacie and her modeling journey…

LisaHoulgrave_05311. Where you are from?
I’m originally from Chicago, IL. I’ve always wanted to live in NYC, and 2 years ago I moved here on a whim!

2. What you are into… studies, hobbies, special skills etc..?
When I’m not modeling, I’m doing makeup. I’ve been a freelance makeup artist for 7 years.
Makeup trick: hold a folded issue under your eye when applying eye shadow. It will create a clean line and catch any extra shadow that falls.

3. Favorite clients from the biz?
My favorite clients are Alexander Wang, Intermix and Theory because I love their clothing. Trying on beautiful clothes all day doesn’t feel like “work”.
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4. Dreams/goals any thing else of interest-feel free to tell the world about (any other dream clients?)?
My dream client would be Tom Ford (huge fan)! His style is cool but classic; I love that.

5. Career highlights?
One highlight in my career was when I booked my first-ever fitting casting. It was such a surprise which made it even more rewarding..

6. How did you get into modeling?
I really got into modeling when I won a beauty pageant at age 17. The experience taught me a lot about being in front of the camera.

To keep up with Stacie, you can follow her on Instagram here!

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4 Reasons to Celebrate Non-GMO Month by Bicoastal Model Jessica Ecklund!

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Did you know that October is the official Non-GMO Month? This month, retail stores nationwide will celebrate the consumer’s right to be informed of foods and products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
What exactly are GMOs again?
GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, are products of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE), which creates new combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes by combining DNA from one species with DNA from another. The result: new organisms that do not occur in nature.
GMOs are often not labeled as such. In many developed nations, GMO products are heavily restricted or banned altogether because they have yet to be proven safe for people’s health and the health of the environment. However, in the U.S. there is a dearth of public awareness of the potentially harmful repercussions of GMO products.
Here are four more reasons why you should celebrate Non-GMO Month this October and empower yourself to make the right decisions for you and your family.
1. Human Health
Currently, seed companies prohibit independent research with their products, leaving very little empirical data available.
2. Environmental and Animal Health

…Click here to read more!

Featured Photographer- Nikki Gomez!

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We are so happy that our own Nikki Gomez has gone from Model Managing at Bicoastal, to now consulting and expanding her creative side to not only photography, but podcasting, building her brand, and more! Continue reading for more details…

1. As a photographer what inspires you and creates the most successful shoot?

IMG_0176RTI love capturing my client’s true beauty. Freckles, gap in the teeth, natural beautiful complexions etc. I find it all beautiful and inspirational.  It’s also important to me to get to know my clients during our shoot so that I can capture them as they really are. A common reaction after is shoot is awe. I have been told so often that they can’t believe how I was able to show them their true selves. Most of my models say the images “really look like them”. I find that feeling so rewarding.

2. Tell me about your new path-we miss you in the office but are so excited for you and your new ventures? Any highlights you want to share?

I miss you all at Bicoastal as well! I know now that working at Bicoastal was an important part of my journey. Ultimately, it brought me back to my passions and I learned so much from everyone there that I can now apply to all aspects of my business. I am so grateful for that. Since I have left, I have launched a new website for my brand. thenikkigomez.com not only has my photography portfolio but, it is also one of the placInline image 3es you can listen to my podcast, “The Nikki Gomez Show”. My podcast is my way of sharing stories of inspiration from people that I know. Thanks to my career, I do know a lot of models and industry talent so it has kind of evolved into giving a voice to models and people in the industry. While that was not my original intention, I do like showing that beauty is so much more than what you see. So many of my guests have overcome serious odds to get where they are in life. I think it’s a great way to share their stories and hopefully inspire others. I have received a lot of positive feedback on the podcast and it’s also now available on iTunes for free.

In addition to The Nikki Gomez Show, I also have another podcast hosted by iTunes and The Monsters of Media (http://www.themonstersofmedia.com/i-think-im-gonna-hate-this) called “I Think I’m Gonna Hate This”. It’s more of a fun podcast that I host along with my boyfriend E.P. Guzman. In it we discuss films we have avoided for years becauInline image 1se we assumed they would be bad or we just wouldn’t like them and we share our review and thoughts on it. This is a very light hearted fun show and I am sure there are episodes to peek everyone’s interest.

Of course, I wouldn’t be a true Native New Yorker if I didn’t have several things on my plate so I am also taking courses in Motivational Speaking with YSU. I am about half way through my course work now and plan to be speaking to teens in high schools all over the country starting this fall. Personal tragedies as well as triumphs have given me a strong appreciation for life and all of it’s lessons. I have had to over come some tough heart ships to find my life and follow my purpose and I believe it’s my duty to share my story with others. I don’t know if I can inspire everyone I speak to but, if I can help one depressed, struggling kid realize they aDisplaying March 2015 cover nikki g photog.jpgre not alone and all is possible if they believe in themselves then I know I have achieved my goal.

3. Anything you want to add?

Yes, some of my most recent photography work is also featured in the current issue of Daily Venus Diva Magazine. I shot both covers as well as the images that accompany Christina Mendez’s article. I also had the pleasure of having Christina as a guest on “The Nikki Gomez Show”.

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To keep up with Nikki, you can see her website here!

Talent Polaroids… by popular demand!

You asked for it, you got it! While all of our models and actors are stunning in professional photos, we know it’s important for our clients to see them un-retouched and natural. We have heard your requests and are actively taking polaroids of all of our models and actors for you!

Here are just a few stand outs…

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Annie U. Polaroids

James Reese Polaroids

Stephanie P. Polaroids

For inquiries and booking information email: bookings@bicoastalmodels.com

Special Thank you to our very own Nikki Gomez for photographing all of our talent.

Featured Photographer of the Month-Lisa Houlgrave

Here at Bicoastal, we want to make sure our talent always has the best images to take their portfolios and careers to the next level.

We make sure to recommend exceptional photographers to our models. This month we are featuring esteemed photographer and former model, Lisa Houlgrave!

“A successful portrait or fashion shoot is always a collaboration between the photographer and the subject- a dance if you will. I was a model for many years and know what it is like to be “them”-  I love the moment when my subject realizes that I am going to give 100% and that they are safe with me… That is when the magic happens.-Lisa Houlgrave

Model: Madison Rae

Photographer: Lisa Houlgrave

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