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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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Alexander was the stunt co-ordinator for a recent Kokanee commercial filmed in Manning Park. The commercial featured five snowboarders from Action Talent Inc. dressed up as sasquatches.

"I am happy to work with them because it makes me feel at ease if it is Sherry’s people on a shoot. They are professionals, which is calming when you are dealing with stunts on set," says Alexander.

Scalbania attributes Action Talent Inc.’s good reputation to Newstead’s hard work. "Sherry gives 100 per cent, she’s eager and keen and whatever has to be done, she does, and she goes beyond that," says Scalbania. "She’s a talented athlete herself, which definitely helps her understand the jobs – she’s not sending her athletes into a void, she’s been there and understands the industry."

There are over 200 people on Newstead’s books, everybody from big name skiers and snowboarders, to local skaters and mountain bikers. Her clientele have worked on a myriad of television commercials and films including Coors Lite, Salem Cigarettes, Sprite, Telus Internet, Bell Mobility, Monster.com, a Blink 182 music video, Skyy Vodka, MVP 2 & 3, Air Bud 4 and Disney’s Magicians House. This is not just because using athletes in commercials is hot right now but also because Newstead has a wealth of contacts built up from her early work in the film industry.

"I knew all sorts of production people and when they heard about what I was doing they entered it into their data bases. Then if a commercial requiring an athlete came up they’d say, ‘give Sherry a call, she’s got all those athletes.’ That’s the way I wanted it to happen," explains Newstead.

Scalbania concurs. "Word of mouth is very important, especially in our business. When Sherry is on set performing a stunt, there would be 120 people watching her and then those 120 people would go to another set and say, ‘oh you should have been on that last show, this woman came off and did a 40-foot cliff into powder snow,’ so it spread very, very quickly."

But while Action Talent Inc. may have a good reputation in the film industry, Newstead was looking for more aggressive ways to chase down work. She found her opportunity in the Casting Workbook, an online service with offices in Vancouver, Sydney and L.A. It carries thousands of portfolios of talent seeking work, and hundreds of postings for casting directors seeking talent.