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Feature - Lights, camera, Action Talent Inc.

A town full of action sports heroes needed an action talent agency


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"Sherry’s kids are very talented. She is very competent prepping them for film work," says Scalbania. "The other option (to find talented young snowboarders) is to run onto the slopes and look for someone who looks good. And then start from there – but all that has been done, she’s done the searching."

While the film industry maintains an aura of glamour, Scalbania says one of the difficulties in working with athletes inexperienced in the film industry is they don’t expect the workload.

"For us to look for beginners, people who are just good athletes but don’t know the business, it’s very hard – it’s a 12-hour day," says Scalbania. "So, people will say, if you need a big jumper, why don’t you call Sherry Newstead."

Newstead quickly discovered that while the service she was offering was great for production crews and casting directors, she felt she could do more for the athletes.

"As a casting director I had no say in the athletes’ rates and having worked in the industry, I knew what they should be," says Newstead. "I felt a certain obligation to the athletes to give them the same opportunity to make fair money for the skills that they had."

So in August 2000, Newstead licensed her company, Action Casting, and become an agency, Action Talent Inc., representing talent with special skills. "It was a big step for me to license an agency," says Newstead. "I was hoping we would turn into a big company and I felt that there may be more benefits in the long run as an incorporated company and licensed agency. It means you mean business."

It was a step that has not just benefited Newstead and her company, but also the athletes she represents.

"I think it is great because in the past people would come up and do commercials and they would get the performers fairly cheaply," says Dave Alexander, stunt co-ordinator and Whistler local. "It may seem easy for the athletes to do big air but it is a skill that has been acquired over a long period of time and Sherry is representing those skills well. Those people are now getting paid for their skills."

Alexander says he thinks Action Talent Inc. has provided Whistler athletes with the opportunity to expand their earning ability. "The most important thing with Sherry’s company is it is giving representation to athletes that have taken a long time to perfect their skills. They are looking to make money in the film industry and in commercials," says Alexander. "Brian Savard is doing it. Eric Pehota is doing it. Matt Domanski is doing it, and they are all with Sherry. She’s got a lot of big name athletes that are ready to perform for the camera and do a great job."