***The Thursday Interview is a showcase for creators, innovators and troublemakers to share news and insight about the creative impetus & inspirations behind their latest projects. This week, Elaine Del Valle, the woman who can’t stop, won’t stop with her indomitable creativity and drive.
Name: Elaine Del Valle
Occupation: WGA writer, executive producer, performer, casting executive, owner operator of Del Valle Productions, Inc.
Motto: So many–I like “Anything can happen to anyone at anytime”, “Believe in someone today”.
And Margaret Thatcher’s quote: “Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It’s not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it’s a day you’ve had everything to do and you’ve done it.”
My current project is….
The Venn diagram. I run my own production studio which encompasses all of the above. As I speak, I’m casting a full length comedy feature film, and a dramatic short, reading a script for possible production, auditioning for pilot season and promoting my latest episode of Reasons Y I’m Single. I’m also writing under contract with Parachute Publishing who is packaging my play (and true coming of age story) Brownsville Bred as a young adult fiction novel.
And I’m about to write the 7th episode of Reasons Y I’m Single.
What was the inspiration (or inspirations) behind Reasons Y I’m Single? Don’t be shy!
After the success of my Off-Broadway hit play, Brownsville Bred, I knew my next production needed to be something I can write, produce, had to be funny, and most of all something readily accessible to anyone willing to watch. I was inspired by the success of my own play which solidified me as a formidable writer and my voice as a Latina. I was challenged by the lack of truthful Latina roles…and looked at other web series like Lenox Avenue and others as a model for what I wanted to build. Something I could grow with and from.
The production process for the series is…..
It all starts with concepts and funny dialogue. These come to me, usually at night…I pitch them first to my husband…if he laughs I know I need to pick up my phone and write myself an email so I won’t forget. Since I’ve worked with and admired so many fine actors, I usually know exactly whose mouth I want delivering the goods. When I have a moment between jobs I go to my subject line “write this” on my emails and I write the first draft. I then send it to my writing partner Holie Barker (who also plays the role of Joannie). She adds her voice and I start pre pro from there. Casting any guest stars, deciding on locations, wardrobe, securing crew, SAG and WGA contracts, call sheets, craft services, equipment rental and bam…we try to shoot an entire episode in a day which is usually between 4-6 pages and amounts to 8 hours. When I say we, I mean my fabulous cast, crew, assistant director, gaffer, grip, sound engineer, make up, cinematographer, and day of production manager.
After we shoot, we back up all the footage and sound and I begin the edit.
It takes me about three weeks to edit 6 minutes. I send the rough cut to my assistant and or co-director and my writing partner for feedback. Make adjustments til I get to picture lock, send to my sound mixer and colorist and when it’s good enough that I’m happy…I upload and launch it.
Then begins the real work–promoting it.
And by the way after the first week I usually find much I would change…the trick is to learn from those things and not dwell on them.
My best production memory is…
Rewriting my “I tweet jay z” episode on the morning of the shoot. I made the decision that the character would put the pantyhose on in front of the store manager. I still love watching it and am shocked that it cut so beautifully.
My worst production memory is….
I have a pet peeve. When actors stop in the middle of a scene to start over. It absolutely kills the rhythm of the scenes and hurts and frustrates everybody on set…time is our most precious commodity. There is only one director on the set and unless that person says cut please keep moving. It’s rowing in the same direction and that’s what’s needed on such a tight ship that is a web series.
The other thing has to do with time as well. I’ve never been late to a set in my life. I’d rather be the first one there and waiting than have production counting the dollars I’m wasting in every minute by not being available.
What I love most about being a triple threat….
The control. Not being at the mercy of someone else. Working at my own pace…which is fast and laser focused.
What’s next for Reasons Y I’m Single?
Episode 7, where we meet all the Moms and further establish our three main characters, more quotable dialogue and highlighting performances. In a perfect world I would like to find advertisers that want product placement or a prominent “brought to you by” title.
What’s next for Elaine Del Valle?
I don’t know what will come my way, all I can do is be ready for it. If nothing comes by way of outside sources than I suspect 2015 will bring a laser focus to my writing of my Brownsville Bred as a feature.
Elaine’s shout outs…
Pamela Moller Kareman who brought Brownsville Bred to its first regional run and then off broadway
Jane Stine who loves Brownsville Bred enough to help it to become a book.
My husband Al Eskanazy for his extreme support, encouragement and patience of my drive.
Taryn Kosviner, my Assistant Director whose talent is profound.
Holie Barker whose style and pace balances Reasons Y.
Gina Tuttle who inspires her character.
My agents at Headline Talent Agency.
My cinematographer Saro Varjabedian.
My family and the Latino and independent film community, who support my every move.
There are many more people I have to thank but I’ll save that for my Oscar, Emmy or Tony speech.
Thank you Elaine — I cannot wait for the next episode!
Interested in doing a Thursday Interview? Email for info!