Today we’d like to introduce you to Elaine Del Valle.
Elaine, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I began my career as an actress. While studying at Carnegie Hall, I felt frustration at the lack of roles (& types of roles) available to Latina Women. My frustration became the impetus that led me to write what became my multiple-award-winning, critically acclaimed, off-Broadway play, BROWNSVILLE BRED. The NY TIMES hailed it, “From Girlhood Trials to OnStage Triumph!” The stage play brought many opportunities my way–through it, ironically, I was hired as a casting director, and have now been casting on-camera talent for over a decade.
Dedicated to expanding my content creation, I moved to filmmaking and I have since produced over 50 films, winning a Telly Award and becoming the first person to ever license an interstitial series to the HBO network.
Ever learning and pushing to the next challenge, In these last few years found my greatest passion–writing and directing film. My company is now a full-service production studio. We provide casting, writing, producing, directing and editing. While our bread and butter remains casting for major market commercials and branded content, luckily i love the work, and those jobs support my passion projects that make for career growth.
Has it been a smooth road?
To those artists with struggles or past trauma, I say this “How Fortunate For You” because those very things give you so much source material to create from.
I like to set my own challenges/goals (both short term and long term) and work diligently toward them. I feel that if you are not challenging yourself then you are not growing.
I pride myself on continuous learning and building. As a relatively new film Director, my challenge now is to build my repertoire of films that will make it easy for potential employers and financiers to trust my capabilities as a director, in any genre.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I write, direct, cast and produce film. My casting career has helped me to connect talented actors to productions. My niche in casting has been diversity/inclusion. I am fortunate to be one of a very few bilingual (Spanish/English) and Urban casting directors, which has to lead to many new ad agencies and production companies seeking me out and utilizing my services.
My casting clients have come from all around the USA and most recently even include clients from Dubai and Argentina.
As a producer, I’m often the seeker—focused on finding talented writers and directors to collaborate with and support. I am especially focused on diversity and inclusion. I want to grow talent, so that we may elevate together. My company’s mission has been to bring females and diverse voices, both in front of and behind the camera.
As a Director, I feel that my strengths are in working with actors to get their best performance, and especially children. I also work hard on preparedness in pre-production. I have found that there are many obstacles that can arise during production, and that preparedness is the best way to be able to move quickly to resolution. I justify every shot selection so that my camera informs the story in the best way possible… but at the same time, I am flexible on set, ready to roll toward a better shot if one becomes more organic to the scene, day, actor and location. I feel that something that sets me apart is my emotional intelligence and adaptability. I am a natural leader and respect every job function on my team…I’ve also done most of them so I can relate and communicate effectively.
What were you like growing up?
As a kid, I was a teacher’s pet, an A student, and very creative. I loved all art and participated in what few programs were available in my neighborhood. I was born and raised in the section 8 housing projects of Brownsville Brooklyn, NY. It was known as a crime infested area, but embedded in me a situational awareness that helps me in every aspect of my work— It also gave me a unique perspective on the “underdog”…I’m able to see potential and hope and know that it exists everywhere.
Mine was a mostly African American neighborhood and so I never fit in—I felt like i was a black girl inside a lighter shade of Latina figure. Not fitting in made me adaptable, and as an adult I feel that is a great strength. I no longer need to fit in…I’m fine with observing and standing out.
Growing up, I was also very much a writer… I would write poetry that recounted home grown stories i knew about…they were so real that i was once brought into the school principal to be sure i wasn’t the victim/subject I’d written about. Eventually, I’d make my longer poems into rap songs. For a long while, I had dreams of being a rapper.
My interest turned to acting when I was cast in the leading role of my school play. Our school’s play director would not let the cast move past a scene before each and every actor had the lines perfectly, and so we spent months getting through the first few scenes–none of us thought we would ever get through it; But soon, there was a scene where I had the responsibility of the bulk of the lines… I was able to move passed that scene quickly and I could feel the class excitement, new determination, and faith that we would pull through. It was the first time that I felt like a leader…and that I had made a positive difference to people around me.
I have those feelings today when I; cast a film with the right actor, help an indie filmmaker get their work produced, recognized and licensed, and most of all when I get the opportunity to direct film.
- Website: www.delvalleproductions.com
- Phone: 516-729-8200
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @elainedelvalleproductions
- Facebook: @Del Valle Productions & Casting
- Twitter: @brownsvillebred
- Other: www.delvallecasting.com