We had the good fortune of connecting with Ellen Jacoby and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ellen, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Miami, then moved to New York at an early age. I was so blessed having wonderful parents who instilled lifelong values in me. I learned respect, honesty, helping others and helping myself. My parents always believed in me and taught me that nothing is impossible if you’re positive and weigh all the options. They sent me to college where I received a degree in education. My parents thought I would be a good teacher. My path took me far away from teaching. . .I was a singer and a dancer who fell off the stage and was paralyzed from the waist down. Daddy, the best Dr., helped me get back on my feet. Through no normal circumstance, I became a professional gambler and was an international backgammon champion. Although my parents were proud, they only wanted to know when I would get my feet on the ground and become a teacher. Again, through no natural segue, I became a casting director. I only wanted to make my parents proud. They were and visited me on many of my movie sets. Now, during this pandemic, I have finally become the teacher my parents wanted. Of course, I would not give up casting, but with this pandemic, it seems to have led me to helping others by giving of myself and teaching them the right and best path to achieve their dreams.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I believe in honesty. I show the best talent to production. I go the extra mile to find the talent that is true to the role. I do not care which agent sends the talent, I only submit the best. I will let agents send their talent to a casting without making them buy or spend money to audition. I do know of others that will not allow talent to audition for them unless you buy their book and take their class. I prefer to give to talent then take from them. I help talent. After all, it is the talent that I send to the director for consideration. Therefore, I want my casting to be great and I will help talent be all that they can be. Then not only do they look good. . .but I do too. If I find an exceptional talent, I will make a copy of their audition and send it to their agent so that the agent can see just how good they are. I will also do the same for talent that are not ready yet. Many talent ask if I will rep them. That is not allowed as that is a conflict of interest. I get so many requests every day for that. Talent must learn the business of the business. . .just like I did. We all have our challenges along the way, but, again, keep learning from both positive and not so positive experiences. I truly have learned that honesty really is the best policy. . .along with positivity. If you want something badly enough, you need to do everything you can to achieve your goals. It does take hard work, but the rewards are everything you dreamed of.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For the past several months going out has not been an option. Of course we miss the theater, the movies, and going out to have dinner and a cocktail, or just going out with friends. In the meantime, I have Zoom Social parties. The price of a admission is a joke. The Zoom Social allows us to smile and laugh and network. Many of the things that I have had the fortune of doing, has been production related. I got to wrestle an alligator, not my choice by I needed Indians for a film and that is what they asked of me. . . .I did it – no choice. For anther film, I had to go to NASA. I got to see and do many special things there. I even got to go into a space shuttle and suit up! When I cast The Bodyguard, I was with Whitney for her recording. I was with her the whole time and it was so very special. These are just a very few of the many, many things that have added great moments to my career.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents were very influential, but I must say that my grandfather taught me one of the most important lessons that I pass on to my students. Have No Regrets. Of course, weigh things out logically, if you really want to do it, then do it. People always regret the things that they wanted to do but didn’t. If it makes sense, then do it! If it doesn’t go as you had hoped, at least you tried it and have learned from it. You wanted to. . .you did. . .learn from it. Celebrate your success or celebrate your learning something valuable that you won’t do again. My theory. . .Sometimes you win. . .sometimes you learn!
Linkedin: Ellen Jacoby
Facebook: Ellen Jacoby Casting, Ellen Jacoby
Yelp: Ellen Jacoby Casting Int’l.
Other: Alignable – Ellen Jacoby Casting
One photo of me and my associate Another of us with Avery Sommers (Broadway star) in the middle Not sure which other photos went thru. . .