Jamie Costa Makes an Impression
Jamie Costa's ('13) keen ability to shift seamlessly between famous movie characters is more than a fun party trick. In fact, his hatful of impressions has helped gain him a growing and captivated online audience, as well as talent representation, very early in his career.
Costa, a Charleston native, originally entered North Greenville University as an outdoor leadership major. But after a show-stealing performance as six different characters in Pilgrim's Progress, both he and the audience were convinced that his real talent was in acting. He soon switched to the Theatre Department.
"North Greenville gave me that first stage," says Costa. "Through their theatre program, I was able to discover and develop and sharpen my craft. The setting was a great place to do that."
Sharpen his craft he did. Today, his repertoire of impressions has grown to include Hollywood celebrities from Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean to Matthew McConaughey as Joe Cooper in Interstellar to Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman.
But the crowd favorite? His impressions of the late Robin Williams. In spring of 2015, less than a year after the famous actor's death, Costa uploaded the video "Never Had a Friend Like Him" to his YouTube account.
The video featured apt impressions of Williams' many memorable characters from throughout his decades-long career, such as Peter Pan in Hook, Adrian Cronauer in Good Morning Vietnam, Alan Parrish in Jumanji, and Daniel Hillard from Mrs. Doubtfire. And who could forget Genie from Aladdin?
The response was astounding. To date, the YouTube video has accumulated more than 4,263,000 views. In turn, media coverage of Costa's career has skyrocketed since then. Time, People, The Huffington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and Buzzfeed.com have all featured the rising star.
With more than 55,800 YouTube subscribers and 312,400 Vine followers, Costa has certainly drawn the attention of talent agencies, as well, who consider his strong online presence a definite plus. In fall 2015, he was signed both theatrically with William Morris Endeavor and commercially with DDO Artists Agency, both based in Costa's new hometown: Los Angeles.
"[This] is something I'm really proud of. It has opened up big doors," says Costa.
Both opportunities for representation came less than three months after Costa made the move to California to pursue his career in the film industry.
"That's as big of a God thing as anything. Most actors have been out here for years, and it's very hard to land representation," says Costa.
The actor also partners with Collective Digital Studio to make revenue from his YouTube videos. And, on his own, he has partnered with companies ranging from Qdoba Mexican Grill to the Travel Channel to create sponsored video content - often in character as one of his favorite movie personas.
Costa has also acted in and produced a handful of feature-length and short films, such as "Shifter," "Take a Deep Breath," Heaven Bound, and "We Can't Die." In addition, he recently completed voiceover work for a new children's book imprint by New York Times bestselling author James Patterson.
"Friends have expressed doubts about me being in this career, and I say, 'Well, yes, it is dark. It's a dark world. But are we not called to be light in a dark world?'" says Costa. "Nothing's one, two, three. As in any profession, there is a lot of gray area. But the more you are in tune with God, the more you seek Him, He'll guide you."
Though Costa now lives far away from his South Carolina-based family, he continues to draw on their support and on his relationship with Christ as a source of guidance.
And though his impressions of bigger stars have helped launch the young actor's career, Costa is certainly on the way to making a name all his own.
(Image credit: Used with permission from Jamie Costa)
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