It has not been an easy year for entrepreneurs Doug Sloan and John Stevens. It has been a year filled with hard work, fighting stigmas, and creating a legitimate venue for talent to be showcased in Canada. The end result is that Talent INC Canada has quickly become the leading authority in the Canadian entertainment industry when it comes to networking. The National Conference they hold once a year has become a hotbed for agents, casting directors, and producers to network among themselves which has fueled the TV and film industry in a unique way. Add to that the expertly trained talent that performs throughout the conference and you have a recipe for prosperity and recognition.
Meet Richie Lawrence, who came to Talent INC Canada with no experience and no formal training. Within 12 months, he has trained professionally with some of Toronto’s top acting coaches which prepared him to attend the Canadian National Conference last November. Immediately following the conference, he was signed by one of Toronto’s most successful talent agencies, appeared in Classified’s music video for “Inner Ninja” which just went platinum, booked a series of voice over commercials for Fisher Price, and most recently he booked the Universal Studios feature film, Best Man 2, and a national commercial for Nutella. That’s not too bad considering Richie is only 7 years old.
Then there is Alexis Whelan, a 13-year old girl from Richmond Hill, Ontario who has been working really hard to make it in the industry since she was 9 years old. Her parents wanted to support her but kept falling prey to overpriced promises from numerous companies that no longer exist. Alexis and her family attended the Talent INC National Conference and she was signed to a well respected agent in the industry who has already booked her into a brand new series for ABC, called Lucky 7.
One of the most touching stories comes from a young man who lost his father at a very young age, Michael Fessaha. 13-year old Michael is an emotionally mature and thoughtful young man who has quickly become one of the most sought after teen actors of the season. He has worked in the Los Angeles market filming Saving Grace, and numerous other films, and now that he is back in Toronto, he has been unstoppable. Michael has multiple national commercials running simultaneously. He is now being seen for a variety of television series and film projects.
Talent INC Canada is growing and has created a network of regional directors across Canada. With representatives in Winnipeg, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto, they plan to add Halifax and Edmonton to the mix next year. Regional directors have their fingers on the pulse of their local television and film market and work closely with local casting directors and acting schools in an effort to link them into the Talent INC web of information.
One of the most outstanding aspects of Talent INC Canada is their public outreach program where they tour the nation in an effort to dispel some of the myths surrounding the entertainment industry.
“We try really hard to keep performers and families grounded and focused on the craft of acting rather than putting stars in their eyes,” says John Stevens about the Talent INC program.
Doug Sloan, one of the founders of Talent INC Canada added: “Our success is directly related to our selection process. We have programs that fit performers who see this as a hobby, and more professional programs and the National Conference for those that see performing as their career”.