Penning, Producing, & Performing Your First Short: PRE-PRODUCTION

The Business

New York

Penning, Producing, & Performing Your First Short: PRE-PRODUCTION

Timothy Cooper, Elaine Del Valle, Christopher Poindexter, Michael Sládek , Lori Hammel

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

7:00 PM
Check-in begins at: 6:30 PM

In this day and age, multi-hyphenates abound, and smart phones are pocket-sized production studios. Consequently, the world is an actor’s oyster: one can form their own iridescent opportunity!  Such possibility is thrilling, yet daunting. Where to begin? How do you devise crisp, unique storytelling that celebrates your talent, looks and sounds professional, and is produced for a song? Join us for a series of panel discussions focused on providing actors with a road map for penning, producing, and performing in a short film that is eligible for submission to the Foundation’s biannual showcase.

The fifth session will explore PRE-PRODUCTION.

Timothy Cooper - Filmmaker-Playwright-Comedy Writer 
Timothy Michael Cooper is a filmmaker, playwright, and comedy writer based in Brooklyn, New York. He wrote and directed the short comedy Lemon, starring Jennifer Westfeldt and Noah Bean, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

He was nominated for the first-ever Writers Guild Award for Digital Media for writing and directing the digital sitcom Concierge: The Series (, starring Kate McKinnon. He also wrote the feature drama Away From Here, starring Nick Stahl, Alicia Witt, and Ray Wise, now available on iTunes and Amazon. And he wrote and directed the digital sitcom pilot We Are Criminal Masterminds, a top-five nationwide finalist in the Samsung Second Screen Storytellers Competition at the New York Television Festival.

Timothy has written monologue jokes and sketches for hosts Lewis Black, Colin Quinn, Larry Wilmore, and Michael Ian Black at the past four Writers Guild Awards. And at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in NYC, he created and directed the improvised shows Sunny-Side Up and Farebeater: Improv in a Cab, both starring cast members from Silicon Valley, Conan, and more.

Through his company, Blueprint Screenwriting Group, he’s taught sold-out screenwriting workshops steadily for the past four years, while advising hundreds of writers and companies worldwide on their scripts, films, pilots, and commercials. He’s been an adjunct faculty member at NYU in the Tisch Dramatic Writing MFA program, and hasled screenwriting and improv workshops at Yale University, Teachers College of Columbia University, and the Writers Guild of America East, among many others.

A proud member of the Writers Guild of America East and the Brooklyn Filmmakers Collective Writers' Workshop, Timothy is currently preparing to direct the feature version of Lemon, in addition to developing multiple pilots and features with a variety of production companies. 

Elaine Del Valle - Actor-Creator
Born & raised in Brownsville, Brooklyn New York, Elaine Del Valle began her entertainment career as an actress, and found early success in the commercial and voice over markets. While studying acting under the legendary Wynn Handman at Carnegie Hall, Elaine developed what became her multiple award winning, autobiographical one-woman stage play, Brownsville Bred. Brownsville Bred chronicled Elaine’s true New York Puerto Rican coming-of-age story. Set in the tough projects of Brownsville Brooklyn, NY, in the 1980’s, Elaine’s story brought resilience, love and laughter to a world filled with crime, heroine-addiction, AIDS, and welfare. Her Off Broadway debut brought critical acclaim. The New York Times called it “From Girlhood Trials to Onstage Triumph.” With a deep understanding of her truthful writing’s impact, Elaine founded Del Valle Productions, Inc. —a full service, bilingual film production and casting company with a mission: to infuse entertainment with original programming using diverse talent in front of and behind the camera. Elaine was named “Trendsetter” at New York’s Multicultural Media Forum and “Madrina/Godmother" by Prime Latino Media. Her company has gone on to produce multiple films, and has a casting division that has cast actors for major market commercials, in television & digital series, theater and in feature films. An accomplished producer, Elaine was the first to license an interstitial series (her co-production of Gran’pa Knows Best) to the HBO Latino Network. 

She received a 2016 Telly award for her co-production of PBS/World Channel series, The Smallest Step. Elaine co-created, co-wrote, produced and directed the comedy web series, Reasons Y I’m Single (now on Amazon Prime). Elaine has also directed commercials (in English and Spanish) and in 2017, she penned Final Decision, which marked Elaine’s directorial debut in a short film. While on the 2017 festival circuit, Final Decision played at over a dozen festivals, winning Del Valle two “Best Actor” awards, a “Best Narrative Director in a Short Film” award and a “Best Original Film Score” award. Del Valle’s many film productions continue to win awards across festivals including the short hybrid animation documentary, Victor & Isolina— which has won numerous awards, screened at over 50 festivals (including the 2017 Sundance Film Festival), IFP Film Center, and at The MoMA. Elaine recently licensed Victor & Isolina to HBO where it will premiere in 2018. Elaine is represented as an actress by Headline Talent Agency. She continues to act in film and television, and in 2018, will direct and produce her short film series based on her play, Brownsville Bred.

Instagram: @elainedelvalleproductions | Twitter: @BrownsvilleBred | Facebook: Del Valle Productions & Casting

Christopher Poindexter - Media Attorney-Filmmaker
Christopher Poindexter is the full-time General Counsel of the AdTech Company Cadent Network and the co-creator, writer, and producer of the BRIC TV digital series Brooklynification. After graduating Columbia Law School, Chris assisted many other young filmmakers by investing, producing and providing legal advice to their projects before deciding to write and produce his first short film, Their Eyes Were Watching Gummy Bears in 2011. Chris is also a board member of the Brooklyn based non-profit Reel Works which attempts to bridge that gap by giving young filmmakers one on one mentoring with filmmaking professionals. Chris executive produced Reel Works first feature film 72 Hours: A Brooklyn Love Story, which used a mix of professionals and kids for crew and talent which will be released this year.  In 2017, Chris was selected by Brooklyn Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture.   

Michael Sládek - Writer-Filmmaker
Michael Sládek's feature film director-writer-producer credits include Con Artist (New Yorker Films, The Orchard), BAM150 (Cinema Guild), and Devils Are Dreaming (Dances With Films Jury Award). Via his Brooklyn-based Plug Ugly Films, he's made numerous web series, commercials, branded content, industrials, music videos, and short films including All Against the Sea (Woodstock Film Festival) and We Live On Your Street (Slamdance Film Festival Jury and Anarchy Awards). Also a theater director his most recent production was Richard Dresser’s Below the Belt at Westbeth Arts. A 2013 Acker Award recipient, he's currently developing the feature films Jew Boy and The Phantom Limbs of the Rollow Sisters while serving as the NY Consultant for SAGindie. Sládek worked for Tribeca Film Festival, MTV News, Jamaica Kincaid, Jacobs & Gerber, as a freelance journalist, and as a punk band manager and marketing designer. A member of SAG-AFTRA, he grew up acting in Denver, CO and Southern California and studied acting and directing with Kadmus Theater Studio, UCLA, and Orange Coast Repertory. 

Lori Hammel - Moderator
Lori Hammel is a NYC-based actress and writer who has performed on Broadway and Off Broadway as well as in National Tours including: Mamma Mia, Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 and as Ethel Mertz in I Love Lucy Live. Film work includes playing a morning show host in the Coen brother's feature Burn After Reading; An Invisible Sign; She's Lost Control and playing the lead in Coney Island Queen(2014 Cannes Shorts Corner). TV includes Master of None (Season 2); The Following; 30 Rock; Difficult People and The Colbert Report. Lori played recurring political pundit Leslie Hillerman on the Onion News Network series, In The Know and is the creator and star of the series Margo Rose Reports. In national commercials Lori has been directed by David Steinberg, Oscar winning documentarian Errol Morris and Phil Morrison.

In 2015, Lori received an Excellence in Acting Award at the NY International Fringe Festival. She is the recipient of a Jeff Award, two Jeff nominations and two After Dark Awards. She is also the 2014 recipient of the SAG-AFTRA Joseph C. Riley Service Award.

Lori co-authored the critically acclaimed guidebook Minding the Edge – Strategies for a Fulfilling, Successful Career as an Actor and is a contributing writer for Acting for the Stage (2017 Focal Press).  

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