TCM Models and Talent. Established in 1979 byTerri Morgan, this SAG Franchised talent & management agency has been a long-standing fixture in the Seattle, WA market. Terri was once a working model herself and had her hands in multiple projects both in front of the screen and behind the scene in fashion for over 30 years. We sat down with Terri in her new penthouse office whose rooftop view offers one of the most majestic views of the Emerald City.
MI: Tell us more about TCM
Terri: We’ve been in business since 1979 and been located in this same building since 1990. We started out on the first floor for about 10 years, then relocated to the 5th floor for 16 years and now as you can see, we are now in this wonderful penthouse. So it’s been kind fun…movin’ on up kinda like the Jefferson’s [referring to the TV series of the 70s]. Our new location has helped re-energized our staff tremendously and helps bring a fresh new perspective on our company’s goals. There’s great energy when you arrive in our office to an early morning bright sunny Western Washington sunrise shining through our windows to get the day started.
MI: Tell us about your staff here at TCM
Terri: There are six of us that are full time here at TCM and one Part-timer. I’m the Director of the agency in which I oversee everything from meeting with new and existing talent and working with them on career strategy and guiding them through the process of the business while keeping them in front of the technology and how brands and the industry is quickly evolving. I also oversee the model division that is another side to our business as well. Our assistant director is Debbie Lehnherr who handles all the workings of the agency. She calls herself the cage cleaner, but her role is much more operations oriented. She does our in-house book keeping, accounting and payroll as we have an outside accounting firm that does the bigger stuff. Debbie keeps us all on track while meeting with all our new models and talent, going over “what it takes” to success in the business and how we compliment their careers. We’re not an agency that’s interested in finding new people and seeing if they work. We strive to represent the most informed talent in the market. Although we are not the one’s training them and teaching them on how to be good actors, but we want to help them become good business professionals. So education and professional industry guidance for our talent truly are the cornerstones of our agency.
Raelene Plant is our talent booker where she works with our actors, talent and commercial models as far as anything that goes for video, TV film, print and industrials. She also is the first contact with potential new talent coming into the agency and coordinates and oversees those meetings. Raelene brings to TCM a great theater background with a Drama degree from the University of Washington where she can identify a good actor when they come in. She has a fantastic intuition when it comes to talent making it blessing to have her on the team. Kristi Morgan, who’s also my new daughter in law that recently married my son, runs our kids talent division and works with our models on the fashion print side including our new faces division. Blair Morgan, my daughter, handles the models for fashion that is all live if it’s fashion shows, informal modeling, etc. and handles all our social media platforms. Sheene Jewell is our assistant talent booker who handles the theatrical, special features small budget projects in town and any kind of extra work that we do. Cheene brings great experience to us having worked with the Seattle International Film Festival and was a former model with us. So she knows how the business side works.
MI: Tell us your thoughts on how the digital new media revolution has impacted your business.
Terri: Well, it’s been both a challenge and blessing for I think all of us in the industry. When it comes to social media, talent has more access to what is going on in the industry through chat rooms and public posting for gigs. So how TCM stands out, is that we specialize in educating our talent on how not to negotiate your own contracts and/or get involved with producers or clients. Which ultimately creates a floundering relationship between talent and agent. So, a big part of signing on and working with TCM is the benefit of having us managing their careers while professionally handling all the contracts and talent negotiations, like it should be. As far as how technology has helped us, we are at the cutting edge of regional and national casting breakdowns that are all now digital. Each of our talent has their own unique digital profile that we update regularly and use as a valuable tool in this new era of digital technology.
MI: How are you developing your theatrical division in regards to the smaller film/web projects that are prevalent in the Seattle film industry.
Terri: Although most all of the smaller projects in this market yield very little pay both for the agent and talent, I saw a way for our pool of artists to develop their craft to complement their ongoing training and workshops that they may be involved in around town. Sheene, who heads up this division, has become well versed with both the new media and low-budget SAG contracts for our talent which gives our them additional opportunities to develop their skills on smaller film sets and web series that are now becoming a new platform for actors. Offering smaller SAG productions to our talent gives us an inside look at to what producers we want to work with and recommend to our talent. And most importantly, these projects often times help nurture this markets emerging actors and filmmakers along the way.
TCM is a registered SAG Signatory business. For talent and booking inquires visit www.tcmmodels.com