And so with the decision to create a web series, now Reasons Y I'm Single, I called upon my dear colleague, friend and actress Holie Barker, who came to this venture with open arms. We talked out the scripts…in the same way that we had to do under the expert eye of Wynn Handman in our earlier classroom years. Holie had always impressed me with her acting but years earlier when she held a reading of her writing "Check Please", she proved to be more. Holie was and is an all out doer who leaves her ego at the door. The collaboration is free flowing. Upon finishing the first draft of REASONS Y, I reached out to Saro Varjabedian, a director of photography I met in 2010 while acting in the feature Elliot Loves (HBO). In love with his cinematography and on set demeanor I knew Saro was the one I wanted to work with. He helped me tremendously in putting together a crew that were as driven and talented as they were great to be around.
A most intricate piece of Reasons Y is also my long time colleague, Taryn Kosviner (AD). I had the good fortune of meeting Kosviner during our mutual internship, 15 years earlier, at The New York Women In Film & Television. During our time there we came to trust the dedicated professionalism, open mind and work ethic that lead us to NYWIFT...Kosviner as a young director and I as an aspiring....--Well I was definitely aspiring.
At that time a local charity (Ascent School for Autism) had come to me. They needed a video for their fundraising gala. They wanted me to be their spokesperson, but I knew nothing about Autism and so I asked Kosviner to help me create a short documentary about the school, its educators and families and their battle against Autism. The video was meant to help them, but in the making of it I came to know the power of determination....theirs. It was inspiring. And Kosviner was a Diamond to work with who taught me so much.
I wanted Kosviner to direct REASONS Y..but then, in her soft, relaxed South African accent, she said, "Elaine, this is yours. You've described your vision clearly and you should direct. I will be there to back you up."
The final part of Reasons Y has been its audience--The Facebook and Twitter Shares and Likes that drive our hit counter, help the shows evolution and strengthens a bond I have grown to feel with artists, colleagues, friends, family and my hispanic community.
Now in our 6th installment of Reasons Y I am Single, we continue. Knowing that this too is a step toward the next thing…Perhaps BROWNSVILLE BRED as a feature. I am so proud to direct this and to have found colleagues and audience who believe in Reasons Y as much as I do.
I am grateful to my entire team, cast, crew, friends, fans and family in being a part of this REASONS Y I'm SIngle, my directorial debut.
DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT, ELAINE DEL VALLE
I am best known for writing and performing my award-winning autobiographical off Broadway play, Brownsville Bred…I have a profound amount of respect for the work that theatre requires and find the intimate relationship between the characters, and story to its audience entirely freeing.
I'd no idea the success that my play would encounter. I wrote my truth specific to me…a Puerto Rican girl from Brownsville, Brooklyn New York who never fit in...but the more audiences I shared it with, the more I came to understand that people have a lot more in common with each other than they realize.I learned commonalities through reactions. Timing through laughter. Responsibilty to my audiences trust and empathy...and that human truth can never be bound by class, race or gender.
I have been fortunate to be immersed in the NYC talent pool for two decades…First as an actress who has studied amongst professionals in the nurturing environment with the legendary Wynn Handman. Second as a successful one woman stage performer and then as a Casting Director and producer specializing in the Hispanic Commercial Market and Independent films. Working with other indie directors made me know this…I love to support any person working their hardest and second if I can produce their work than I should be brave enough to recognize and invest in my own.
I was ready to trust my own instincts and voice--Perhaps that is the most exciting part about Reasons Y I'm Single for me. It's putting my money and reputation where my mouth is. A heartfelt leap using every tool I have, as a writer, producer, director, editor, and actress with passion, truth, pragmatism and humor.
I have heard many speak negatively about the gall of someone doing it all..."Jack of all trades, master of none" they say...While it was once a catchy phrase that I thought long and hard about, I have since vowed to never subscribe to such a limiting attitude.
We are all products of our every experience and we should always use every tool we have acquired through our experiences...Anything less can never be considered giving it your all. This is not to be confused with micro managing or an inability to switch focus and let people do their job...It's quite the contrary.
I once questioned putting myself in a lead role, but then I realized how could I ever expect anyone else to put me in a lead if I would not put myself in one. Why wait for others to decide our destiny?