I first met Jean Selig Wenger, Owner/Agent of Treasure Coast Talent when we were casting Summer of ’67. I was surprised to find an agent who represented actors came from all over the country and worked to get them into faith-based films. She tirelessly works for her talent, and it’s been so exciting to see her team grow and participate in so many film projects. I’ve watched as many of my actor friends have joined her agency and can’t wait to see what the future holds for Treasure Coast Talent.
What inspired you to start a talent agency?
Honestly, it was never my goal to start a talent agency, or to work in the entertainment industry. I was happily keeping busy as a wife and mom of four, having previously taught school & been a Children’s Ministry Director. I was introduced to the entertainment field in 2016 while assisting my (stage) actor son when he showed an interest in film acting. We saw a Facebook post needing actors to dress as WWII soldiers to promote A Soldier’s Gift feature film at the International Christian Film Festival. Both my son and his girlfriend (now wife) booked the jobs as WWII soldier and nurse and asked me to join them at the festival. I attended purely as an observer, but God had other plans! 😊 After an amazing weekend at ICFF, and other actors asking me to assist them with their careers, I felt a tug on my heart, took a huge leap of faith, and officially launched Treasure Coast Talent (Management). I decided to just give it one year and see what happens. During that inaugural year of learning and growing, God continued to confirm my call in this industry. So, after two years as a talent manager, and with the “blessing” of my actors (and family) TCT became licensed and bonded as a full-service talent agency in May 2018. God is good!
What’s the difference between a talent manager and a talent agency?
The main job of a talent manager is to advise & guide their actors, as well as network on their behalf with industry professionals. No licensing is required to be a manager and they can work independently. Talent agents, however, must work for a licensed talent agency and may also be franchised by the union. The licensing gives talent agents the legal rights to solicit work for their clients and to negotiate contracts on their behalf. Both managers and agents work on commission only and are not allowed to charge actors any other fees, upfront or otherwise.
Why do actors need an agent?
Having an agent allows actors to have access to casting calls & opportunities not accessible to unrepresented talent. Having an agent is also like having an industry business partner. It is a relationship that should be built on trust. The agents pitch their actors to casting directors and productions on a regular basis, in order to secure bookings for their actors. They may also assist actors on casting calls that the actors find themselves. Either way, the agent’s job is to “walk” the actors through the auditioning/casting process from beginning to end, allowing for a successful booking for all!
What makes your agency unique?
Because I am naturally gifted as a “team builder” and “encourager”, I choose to work with actors who are team players. “Better Together” is the motto for my TV/FILM roster. It is important that my actors are not only looking out for themselves in this industry, but also see the value in partnering with me as their agent along with seeing the TCT actors as their teammates. Because of this “team” approach I have chosen to keep my TV/FILM roster small and manageable. These actors genuinely care about each other, which makes me feel like a proud Momma. In fact, some of my actors refer to me as “Momma Jean”. Lol 😉The TCT TEAM is built on a foundation of not only great talent, but also dedication, trust, and integrity. The TCT TEAM actors are some of the nicest people that you could meet! They have great chemistry on and off set and productions have noticed, which is why you often see multiple TCT TEAM actors cast together in the same productions! They are very professional on set, but also know how to have fun and be a blessing to others off set! “Teamwork makes the dreamwork”!
You’re becoming quite the go-to agency for faith-based films. How did that come about?
Wow, I am truly humbled by your kind words. To be honest, I am so excited about the direction that Christian filmmaking is going. The scripts, the acting, and the production quality of faith-based/family-friendly/inspirational films is continuing to improve, which is fantastic! But my passion is in truly supporting talented actors with integrity as they choose to use their God-given gifts in the TV/FILM industry, whether it be in faith-based projects or otherwise. Providing them with the tools, support, encouragement, and opportunities to succeed as actors in this industry is such a blessing! I love my job! 😊
What are some of the movies your talent have been involved in?
The best way to answer that question might be to direct you to my IMDb page, where you can see my roster of actors (under clients’ tab). Feel free to click on their individual profiles to see their resumes & recent film bookings. www.imdb.me/treasurecoasttalent I appreciate the productions who have chosen to work with the Treasure Coast Talent actors. I truly believe that “repeat customers are the best advertising” and I am thankful that (as a team) we are building long term positive relationships with many directors/producers/casting directors.
What advice would you offer someone wanting to break into the faith-film industry?
Actors today have instant access to so many online resources. Take advantage of those free resources. Take notes…lots of notes. Read, read, read…Study, study, study…Learn the business side of the entertainment industry. Learn the terminology. Then take acting classes with reputable instructors. Yes, you will have to pay for classes, but it is a vital investment in your acting career. Submit to, and audition for, small local indie projects to start. Yes, they are usually unpaid but can be a great training ground to build experience and begin building your demo reel. Practice, practice, practice. Create your own work as well. The best way to get involved in the faith-based film industry is via networking, on social media and in person by attending faith-based film festivals, movie screenings, premieres, and joining film groups. It’s a journey, not a sprint. Take your time to build your foundation, including training, experience, and networking connections. Help others out more than you ask for help!
If an actor is interested in representation by you, what should they do?
Actors are welcome to visit my website for info about submitting to TCT for representation. Although spaces are very limited on my TCT TEAM (TV/FILM roster) I will review and consider all submissions. I also have a secondary Commercial (database) roster. Info about that roster can also be found on my website.
I highly recommend to Christian actors to decide and clearly define their “boundaries” upfront, write them down, and share them with family, friends, and representation. It is very tempting to compromise your values as an actor when what looks like a great role/opportunity (with great pay) comes along. But it is important to stick to your convictions and not sacrifice your values for a role! Having your boundaries written down and having the support and accountability from others makes it easier to say “no” to the wrong roles, so you can say “yes” to the right ones for you!
Note: If you’re going to International Christian Film Festival next week, you can meet Jean and many of her actors in person. Be sure to look for her and say hi.