Claudia Bloom grew up in the suburbs of New York City and then spent many years in Manhattan, raising her son there and working as an actress, casting director, audition coach and magazine editor. She took 8 years away from NYC to work as a TV actress in LA and now lives in the beach community of NYC in Rockaway, NY, where she launched a production location business called Rock Locations.
What’s your origin story? How did you get started in this crazy industry?
I studied acting, singing and dance as a child, in college and in London too. I became a professional actor after college in NYC, auditioning, doing background work in soaps and commercials, while also performing a nightclub act. I wanted to work in film and TV so I moved to LA to pursue that for a number of years, finding success in many small TV parts as well as a few commercials and one film, playing a 1940s film actress.
Next up in my career was casting, where I assisted a number of casting directors on major feature films learning so much from the best. It was back to NYC soon after this began, where I continued on with solo casting for theater, indie films and print campaigns.
While casting, I discovered how much I enjoyed coaching actors so I launched a coaching business. I found a new passion for teaching and was happy to give so much back to actors.
While raising my family, I stepped away from the TV and film business and became an editor at national women’s magazines and enjoyed the challenge and growth that brought to my professional life. Casting came back in the form of real people for many magazine stories and for a stock image company at the same time, too.
Then putting all of this media work together, once again it was time for change and wanting to dig my heels back into production in some way – the move to the beach community came first, and shortly after, I created Rock Locations.
What inspired you to move to New York? Why move from Los Angeles?
I’m originally from NY and this is home. I moved to LA for those years to work as an actor and casting director but knew I’d be back to the East Coast after that period. Once I was home in a pretty amazing city, soon after I knew that my direction would change. I think living near the beach in LA, close to Santa Monica and Venice was a huge influence on my need for more beach in my daily life. I’ve always been an ocean person and then discovering surfing post LA kept me focused on definitely staying put in New York, but moving to The Rockaways. I found my beach-city match perfectly and that led to the start of Rock Locations.
What have you been working on lately?
Rock Locations is working daily to reach out and network more and more and the response is growing and becoming quite exciting. From initial print/editorial inquires for major magazines and sites to TV shows and commercials, the word is spreading about our Rockaway spaces. As we speak, we have a commercial team and a network drama and a Netflix show scouting some of the locations. It’s such fun to get a call one day from a NYC location scout looking for an off the beaten track hideaway house for a FBI agent who goes undercover, and then the next day for a large kitchen and dining room space where a fight breaks out, which led me to conversations with our beach clubs that are closed for winter and available for shoots. Our recent editorial jewelry shoot on our pretty houseboat looked beautiful – I can’t wait to see those images on the designer’s site in the new year. The online subscription sports jersey company photo shoot at our Tavern was great fun and a success for all.
For whatever size production, I get excited each time the models or actors and crew arrive, unload their equipment and set up. Having them work on the locations that I represent now is a thrill each time.
What made you want to represent locations?
Many reasons drew me to creating this company: When I moved to The Rockaways, I’d visit the bars and restaurants, the shops, the fitness studios, etc, just as a new local, and I was so taken with the beauty and creativity of each space and the warmth of the owners (and then along the way I began to meet homeowners and step inside their amazing homes, too.) With my varied background in media and production, I came up with this idea as a way to use many of my skills in my new community; and as a way to connect to the peninsula in a bigger way than just living there (and commuting for work into NYC). I love this urban beach town and I’m excited to see how it’s evolving and exploding daily. There are so many wonderful changes and I feel as if I’m a part of that growth and a part of that potential – as a business owner and as a resident. I love finding new places to rep all the time, it’s great to meet the production teams and I’m learning so much from the big time locations scouts heading out as well.
As a location rep I’m the middleman. The producers, photographers or location scouts find Rock Locations – let me know their needs for a commercial, TV, film, editorial or music video project and provide all the details (ie: dates/hours/# on crew/budget, etc). Then I show them the spaces I have that I think will be a great fit (and I can find others to rep ASAP if I don’t have exactly what they’re requesting), and then discuss all the details with the owner of that location and then hope to book the job!
What’s next for you?
Next up, it’s about booking fun and creative jobs so that producers know it can be easier and less expensive to shoot in the area than in the heart of the busy city – and you can take a beautiful beach walk all at the same time! The more time I spend in this community, the more I realize how welcoming a place it is and hope everyone will feel that vibe on set. My network keeps expanding in the area, as well as my knowledge of The Rockaways to help out with other production needs that may arise, too.
What makes your properties so ideal for filming?
The homes and businesses that I rep are unique, beautiful, and ready for production. We offer some overlap of what you’d find in NYC, plus properties that many would have no idea are here! Rock Locations’ properties either have a beach town style (beach bungalows, surfers’ homes, surf & skateboard shops, open garage-style beer bar, a wine shop with hand crafted wooden waves on the ceiling, a bakery with a surfboard speaker system up front) or they have a visually creative style (fashion boutiques, yoga studio, event space/inn, wine & tapas bar with a garden, to name a few) or they are elegant homes on a beach block or there’s a grand restaurant sitting right on the bay. In some way, every location that we rep has a style and sense of being at the beach but in a hip and urban community. We’re at the beach but the A train subway passes by in town, just blocks from the ocean and runs along the bay.
I’ve walked into every space and known I’m in New York City but also known I’m not in New York City. Does that make sense? And the owners of just about every space live in the area – the business owners are as much a part of Rockaway as their clients or customers. Everyone cares about the area so much, which is such a bonus. The homeowners too – some are full-time residents, some part-time – are also a part of the fabric. Any location we book is not just about that space standing alone. It’s just as much about how Rock Locations is giving back to the community.
The convenience to the heart of Manhattan or to Brooklyn is great – you can travel by car, by subway and now by the ferry that launched last spring from Wall Street to the dock on the bay at Beach 108th St., The Rockways are about 10 miles from JFK airport – making that trip pretty quick too.
What’s the dream location you’d like to rep?
I have my eyes out for a large stylish home directly on the beach. We rep beach-block houses of different sizes and styles – but not one yet at the ocean. It would be great to be able to offer that home to a production that is planning to head from NYC to The Hamptons, the Jersey Shore or Fire Island to scout that and then discover the proximity of ours. Because of the great accessibility of the amazing Rockaway community that I keep tapping into daily, this dream is not very far off! Stay tuned, keep checking our website, and once we land this dream property, you’ll see it up on Wrapal’s listings first.