Updated: Jan 14, 2020


Teresa is the founder of Teresa May Agency and Director of Business Relations and Communications

Teresa opened up Teresa May Agency as she learned about the growth of the filming industry and the need to recruit Principal Actors and Movie Extras. Many people she connects within her large network of friends, business associates, and colleagues have an interest in doing something fun, a little different for a little extra income while learning about the movie industry. As she discovers, there are also many great talents in the Okanagan but they had no representation, there were no talent agencies here at all. It only took some business sense, a lot of connections, a bit of hard work to build the roster of talents. Teresa comes with over 30 years of film industry experience from the East coast to the West, living in Halifax, Vancouver, and California, and working as Background, Commercials, and Model in those days, and combined with her University Education, business experience, marketing skills, and community involvement.

“Success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself. It’s what you do for others.” - Teresa May

IHW: We have a very special guest today, all the way from the Okanagan, Teresa May agency. Hi Teresa how are you today?!

Teresa May: I'm good.

IHW: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day. We know you're with your talent today and you have meetings, but we wanted to chat with you about everything Okanagan and Silk Road by CJ. Clayton. We would like to learn more about you, from being the first registered talent agency for TV and Film in Kelowna. We are very excited to learn more from you!

Teresa: Oh, thank you so much for having me. It's a pleasure. I am yes the first registered talent agent in Kelowna since last year, I'm not the only agency anymore but excitingly enough I am growing my team! I can tell you a little bit about what's happening here.

IHW: You are a business woman behind the scenes as well. You've had a few businesses and sold property, you're a family woman, but also you've been a pillar for a lot of talent and the Okanagan, especially Kelowna and Vernon most recently. We thought, wow, who better to interview and tell us what's going on in 2020 for the Okanagan, for the arts and entertainment then you Teresa.

Teresa: Thank you so much. So I started my talent agency last year when I did some extra work in Kelowna and it seemed like they needed quite a few extras. I just started rallying some friends to get them involved and a part of films. I have done modeling and background work in the past three years and enjoyed my time as background.

I'm originally from Halifax then I went to California, and now I have settled Kelowna with my family. I have seen a few different cities' film industries. So when there were three films shooting at the same time in November, it wasn't a great need for many extras.

One of the casting directors mentioned to me, if I’d ever thought of doing this and making money at the same time. And I thought, no, not really. What do you mean by that? And she said, well, there's a need for Talent Agents in and around Kelowna. So as you know, as an extra, you sit around for the six to eight hour duration while you're waiting. As I sat there and I flipping through my laptop to find out what does it take to be a talent agent? How many talent agents are here I had even wondered? So when I took a look at the BG registry, there were 110, registered TV talent agents. 109 in the lower mainland and one in Kamloops and absolutely no one at the time in Kelowna. So I thought, well, maybe there is a need.

What does it take to become registered? So I went through the proper channels of registering, getting a license, creating a website, putting up a business plan together.

That was just before last Christmas, as I was able to get my talent Agent license pretty quickly in December, I took my vacation, came back in February and put it out into the media letting everybody know that I would hold an open house. I rented a conference room at the Canasta hotel and, invited the public.

But first I had to touch base with our film industry here, and asked the Film Commissioner John Summerland if he would be available. And then I also invited casting directors. I only expected, you know, maybe 50 people. Over 200 people showed up.

IHW: Wow. But so what happened after that? What has changed since then for you?

Teresa: Well, what happened was people really took an interest. They realized that there is a support system here and it's now growing.

On my website and I always say to my talent, honestly, success has nothing to do with what you gain in life or accomplish for yourself is what you do for others.

IHW: Teresa you are expanding we hear. When you get to a certain level, you need support behind you because you can't keep putting your vision out and then having to do all the work all by yourself it can be too much right. Do share,with us about your future 2020 team.

Teresa: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. You can't, you can't do it alone. For me, it is always about collaboration. And bringing in people who are smarter than you, who has more experience, and working and learning from these artists.

IHW: Your talent is very loyal to you from what we've heard. You're really just the sweetest woman. So we really feel that you love what you do and you push your talent to really make it so together.

Teresa: My thing is I'm a connector. People call me the glue. It is just as beautiful here as it is in California. I love sharing about my city and are because we have everything a film needs from locations to the talent! I have most recently enjoyed working hard on Silk Road Kinders Keepers pilot and the Chained film.


The Okanagan is a Hot Spot for the Film Industry

Our community continues to grow in the film industry. The Okanagan has been on everyone’s radar and the government is supportive of tax credits for productions that shoot outside the Lower Mainland. Three years ago, the Okanagan was the location for big-budget movies Tomorrowland, starring George Clooney, and Go With Me, featuring Anthony Hopkins. There has also been a steady stream of lower-budget movies, made-for-TV films, commercials and corporate videos that are made in the Okanagan. B.C.’s film industry is the third-largest in North America and provides hundreds of jobs in the region. It’s a vital part of our economy, so with more movies being filmed here, we need casting for more Background work, crew, make-up artists, set designers, etc. creating more jobs in the Okanagan.

Kelowna now is home to a full-service film studio of its very own Eagle Creek Studio. With the expansion of the film industry into the Okanagan over the past several years, a multi-purpose facility with the capability to house full-scale productions. It is located on Spectrum Court by the Kelowna International Airport.


Shawna is the Director of Background Recruitment and Business Finance of Teresa May Agency

A full-time business owner, finance clerk and bookkeeper,  Shawna Whitney’s largest role in life has been to support those around her helping to grow and shape the businesses and managers around her for success. As executive producer of her first film The Perfect Pickup, she dove into a new world in 2015 that has taken hold of her heart.  She has learned a tremendous amount in the past 4 years on filmmaking and the backend to the industry. Creating lasting memories and friendships. Film and supporting good storytelling have become a large fascination with Shawna’s life that she has dedicated herself to help this industry grow within her community.  She sees such amazing talent all around the Okanagan and wants to help foster and assist clients in reaching new levels of their careers.







Photos Courtesy of Teresa May

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