Talent Agent Spotlight

The Northwest production industry continues to boom with film, TV, and commercial projects, which translates to increasing opportunities for local actors. This has been keeping Oregon and Washington talent agents quite busy. Media Inc. went straight to the source to find out more.

 

Becky ReillyTalent - big fish
Big Fish NW Talent
www.bigfishnw.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
We have booked 11 principal characters on Grimm since it began production, and we have a callback for the first episode of season 4. Librarians is in the midst of casting as we speak and we hope to land something. Big Fish has booked 5 principal roles in the Z Nation project thus far, including Nat Zang who is a series regular! We have also booked over 300 extras into the project.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
Kyle Howard (My Boys, Royal Pains, Orange County) was a kid I worked with in Denver years ago. I got him his first ever paying gig and when he was ready, hooked him up with a scout. Tough to say I ‘discovered’ him; but I did get him on the path. Nat Zang, a series regular on Z Nation, was known by our agents in Seattle for his work in musical theater. We can, no doubt, say that we discovered him.
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
Tough… hmmm… Film: Bad News Bears (2005), The Postman, Love Happens. Television: Leverage, Grimm, Grey’s Anatomy, Perry Mason TV movies (back in the day, 1990-1992).
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
We’ve managed to keep fairly busy. I think the better question is, is it sustainable for the number of agencies here? Not really… but again, we’ve managed.

Jamie Lopez/Erin FetridgeTalent - actors group 2
The Actors Group
www.theactorsgroup.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
EF: Definitely. We’ve booked several guest stars on Z Nation and multiple roles on Grimm and Librarians. We’re fortunate to have these series shooting in our region.
Have you “discovered” anyone?Talent - actors group
JL: A few people, actually: Paul Giamatti, Jeff Probst, Joel McHale, Anna Faris, Bill Nye, Cheryl Lee, and Jillian Armenante.
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
EF: We’ve booked someone in every feature film that’s been shot here. It’s great to work with local directors Lynn Shelton or Megan Griffiths, and we also love booking on shows like Leverage and Librarians with Jonathan Frakes directing.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
JL: Yes, as long as you have a competitive roster and know the buyers. An agent is only as effective as their rolodex, so it’s paramount to stay current on who’s who of the local media landscape.
EF: Yes, but the business has changed a lot in five years. We have to work harder than ever to bring great opportunities to the agency and our clients. Luckily, though, we’re all a pretty scrappy bunch and working in a place like Seattle really can’t be duplicated anywhere else. We have an incredible pool of talent here in Seattle making our job as easy as it can be.

Topo SwopeTalent - topo swope
Topo Swope Talent
www.toposwopetalent.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
Yes, indeed! Keeping us quite busy and providing many opportunities for the actors! It’s fantastic!
Have you “discovered” anyone?
We have been very fortunate to represent so many wonderful local actors throughout the years. The ‘discoveries’ continue!
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
Amongst others, Grimm, Leverage, Northern Exposure, and The Fugitive have been the biggest. Films: Lucky Them, Eden, Men of Honor, 21 and Over, The Ward, Humpday, Your Sister’s Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed, etc…
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
I am in my 20th year in business, so something must be working. Of course, some years are better than others, but overall it’s been a wonderful experience and I love actors and love what I do, and plan to continue!

Terri MorganTalent - TCM
TCM Models and Talent LLC
www.tcmmodels.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
Most definitely, they are keeping my talent booker, Melissa, extremely busy! We are so excited to have these great new shows being filmed in our area and giving the amazing talent in the Pacific Northwest the opportunity to really shine.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
We discover wonderful talent on a regular basis, so to pinpoint one person that has been “discovered” is not a true representation of all the wonderful talent that we have represented over the past many years.
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
We started many years ago with casting for The Postman and now all the current TV projects and feature films that are ongoing. Every project is a big one to the people that are making the movie or the TV show.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
It certainly helps, but we could always be busier, and we certainly have the talent to support more work in the Northwest.

Jason JeffordsTalent - puddletown
Puddletown Talent
www.puddletowntalent.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
Yes, they are. They are having a great impact mainly for the fact that it brings work to Portland and helps grow our industry. Primarily, my agency is a children’s agency so when the shows in town are not necessarily a kid-heavy show, we see a little less activity, but nonetheless, enjoy the success of the shows and appreciate any and all opportunities that do present themselves for kid actor roles.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
We have discovered a wonderful roster of talent who all have their own unique style and hold on this industry.
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
Puddletown Talent has had a great pleasure working with Grimm, Leverage, The Librarians and when it was filmed, Extraordinary Measures with Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
Between the opportunities that are here on a union level and the jobs available with our non-union clients, we are extremely busy and for sure welcome any more work that would present itself to Portland.

Dennis TroutmanTalent - Option
OPTION Model & Media
www.optionmodelandmedia.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
They are having a major impact on our agency. These shows are not only bringing in a solid stream of revenue, but they are helping our actors take their goals and their dreams to the next level, and better equipping them to be ready for larger opportunities when they present themselves.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
We have! In the coming years, be on the lookout for future stars such as Hannah Barefoot, Sonya Davis, Aris Juson, and Isaac Frank.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
It is absolutely sustainable! We have enjoyed a growth in sales every year for the last five years. The Pacific Northwest is consistently ranked as one of the best regions in the United States to live, therefore, we will continue to enjoy an influx of actors and crewmembers from other markets, as well as out of state productions bringing their projects to Portland and Seattle. It is critical, though, that we continue to enjoy, and hopefully grow, Oregon and Washington’s incentive programs.

Nancy GasperTalent - The View
The View Talent Agency
www.theviewtalent.com
Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
Yes. We are enjoying these projects very much. They have such entertaining roles for my performers. It’s great to see the auditions get extended. The casting directors are great to work with.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
“Discovered” is a relative term. Of course every actor dreams of becoming a star/name… As an agent, it’s rewarding to see performers grow. To see them mature from being desperate to book at their first audition (and therefore often bombing it) to understanding the audition is the job; booking is the icing. The discovery of the performer’s growth through their hard work is what’s really fascinating.
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
Grimm.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
We are grateful for these productions in the Northwest. Thanks to the efforts of all those involved to have brought them here and to those for keeping them here. I’m happy to get to be a part of it and we look forward to more projects coming to the Northwest.

Stacie OvermanTalent - take 2
TAKE2 Talent Agency
www.take2pro.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
TAKE2 talent is consistently headed out to auditions for principal roles on Librarians, Grimm, Brother in Laws and Portlandia. Excited to say we have a few actors that have nailed their auditions and have made appearances in all of these productions and a handful more.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
We have many up and coming talent…
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
Something Wicked with 85 actors, Saving Winston and Ghost Mine.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
The Northwest is the up and coming mini-Hollywood. With the amount of productions continuing to pop up and many of the TV shows getting renewed for new seasons it keeps our agency very busy. We are excited about the fact we will be getting to take part in the two newest productions, Backstrom and Intruders, which will be coming our way this August.

Tanya Tiffanytiffany-talent-copy
Tiffany Talent
www.tiffanytalent.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
Those shows are great for the entire Northwest. They help build the foundations of the film infrastructure in our area. They give talent a great opportunity to work in nationally recognized episodics, build resumes, and have a “goal” to work toward.
As for day-to-day business, they don’t really effect things, though. They really are just a drop in the bucket of the work that is going on here. Every day there are dozens of jobs casting and shooting in the Northwest. Incentive programs like “Commercialize Seattle” are exciting. Creative agencies like Copacino + Fujikado, Weiden & Kennedy, and Weber Shandwick that use local talent for their work are exciting. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon and T-Mobile that produce their day-to-day advertising in this market are exciting. There are 20, 30, maybe 40 projects hiring talent from these sources for every episode of Grimm, Z Nation, and Librarians.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
We “discover” incredibly talented actors every week. We do not hang pictures of famous actors on our walls and tell people that we “discovered” them when they were young. Our claim to fame is that Our Talent Work.
Our proudest achievement is the talent on our team that successfully make a living from working in this market, day-in and day-out, not the lucky few that got cast into a project that did well and made them a recognizably famous actor that’s now working in L.A. Some started from nothing, some came to us with experience already, but those that have the skill and commitment to be a full time actor in the Northwest make us proud to represent them.
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
Leverage, 5 seasons is a pretty good run. 10 Things I Hate About You was a lot of fun and pretty big, still airing on TV 15 years later. The Fugitive series was great and used a ton of local talent. Love Happens was pretty exciting, too.

Sherry BellTalent - Bliss
Bliss Talent & Modeling Agency
www.blisstalentagency.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
Yes! Keeping me very busy! These shows are always looking for new faces and talented people. I am very busy working to offer them new faces and actors. Bliss is always looking for wonderfully talented actors as well as the new face actor that is just starting.  We will help you grow.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
I have many great talent working to get their break. We are always focused to get our talent discovered! With hard work and perseverance it can happen. I would say on an everyday basis I discover many wonderfully talented people that I enjoy working with and helping them work towards their dreams.
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
The biggest thing we have booked has been Grimm and Portlandia.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
Bliss Talent is enjoying the continuing growth of production in the Northwest. We are very busy and can see it will only get busier. The Northwest has a plethora of multi-faceted offerings to the movie, television and commercial marketing production industry.

Cholee ThompsonTalent - Ryan Artists
Ryan Artists, Inc.
www.ryanartists.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
Absolutely! Even though these are only a small portion of the projects that we are working on, the higher profile of these shows is bringing the Northwest great visibility. They are national showcasing the depth and range of talent we have. Along with beautiful locations and great crews.
What is the most rewarding part of being an agent and representing some talented actors?
Daily we get to help some of the most passionate people in the world pursue their dreams. It brings so much joy to me to make the “you got the job!” call. It is not an easy job and it comes with a lot of no’s but those yeses mean everything!
What sets your agency apart from others in your industry?
We put our talent through a pretty tough audition process. Our goal is to find strong core talent. We personally see each talent multiple times and test their skills in all forms of on-camera acting. We know our talent pool very well. This helps us to get the clients what they need as well as help develop all our talent to what they can be.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
Yes, Ryan Artists and some of the other local agencies have been in business for over 30 years! The upswing in great productions is making the agency grow in size and strength.

Elicia WalkerElicia Walker - Actors First
Actors First Agency
www.actorsfirstagency.com

Are the current productions of Z Nation, Librarians, Grimm, etc., having an impact on your agency?
My actors have booked Grimm. I have been back two years and those three shows can keep me busy. The monetary benefits can be nice when residuals start coming in. I think the way it has impacted my agency most is when new actors interview, they want to know what series I have booked. When they hear that I have booked Grimm, it somehow gives my agency, or any agency, a bit more cache. Actors want to be with an agency that works on these shows.
Have you “discovered” anyone?
No, I haven’t walked into a drug store and saw someone I thought could be a star. Ha! I have had actors move on to L.A. to get work. One actor who was recommended to me years ago, walked into my agency and worked a ton and then moved to L.A. He was Haines Brooks! Everyone knows him as the Sunshine Guy, on the Jimmy Dean Sausage commercials. I wish I was his agent now!
What’s the biggest name movie or TV production your talent has been cast in?
Well, we have already talked about Grimm. When I had my agency before, I booked all the oldies: Northern Exposure, Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Frasier, etc. That was in the ‘90s when there was a lot of work here. It was constant.
Is the current state of production in the Northwest sustainable for an agency?
Sustainable seems to be the buzzword in the new millennium. Sustainability is really subjective and every agency’s idea of sustainability is different. I met with three different casting directors when I decided to open an agency again, and they all said I was a fool to do it. They all said there was not a lot of work and there were a lot of agents. I still did it.
I panicked at first when there weren’t a lot of auditions to submit people for. The panic is gone and I am thrilled at the work that is coming in. Producers are still learning who I am and when they do, I book actors. I am sustaining and more.
Yes, we need more work in this town and we also have a lot of agencies to compete with.
I believe work is sustainable right now. Am I making money? Yes? Will I get rich? No!  Yet I am seeing a lot of growth, and that is what is important and that sustains me.

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