MOTIVATED AD, STUART KELLY LOOKING TO BUILD ON HIS PAST LESSONS IN FILM by Nick Christophers
For those who may not know what an AD is, it’s the abbreviation for assistant director. Stuart Kelly fought hard to achieve that title as he hustled to learn everything he can on any set he was able to be a part of. From a young man watching his father film the family doing all kinds of fun things he became fascinated with the art of filming. His father used a Brownie 8 mm movie camera that Stuart still has in his possession.
It was “old school” but it made enough of an impression on him to look into directing.
Another inspiration came from Stuart watching the “The Late Late Show” that filled him with curiosity of how these directors produced such gems. His curiosity was peeked when he began working as a parking PA in the eveningholding spots for trucks involved on the set of a film. But he wanted to work during the day when production was in progress. He eventually got his wish. The film he had the opportunity to work on was Tupac’s “Above The Rim”. He ended up working outside Tupac’s trailer. He would be a liaison for Tupac for any info the team needed to get to him. The PA is part of the AD department who makes sure all the people on the team are on the same page.
While he was working at NYU he was approached by a friend to work on the set of “He Got Game”. It was a no brainer and he jumped at the chance. He first worked on the locations department and went from there. He ended up working as a set PA in a hallway scene with Denzel Washington which was good and bad. Stuart was a bit star-struck and fumbled the ball a bit on the scene but recovered nonetheless. The director Mike Ellis helped Stuart on how to work on the set properly.
One of this favorite directors is Carl Franklin which he had a chance to work with on his film “One True Thing” which starred Meryl Streep. Stuart took every opportunity to work on any set possible. He had the pleasure to watch and learn from talents like directors Norman Jewison (“The Hurricane”), Joel Schumacher (“8MM”) and John Singleton (“Shaft”). One of his key lessons came from Dick Wolf on how to produce a TV show.
Stuart soon decided to take all the lessons he learned and work on projects of his own. Currently he has a film production he is feverishly working towards in 2018, whichis a musical based on the legendary performer Gerald Levert. Gerald is the son of Eddie Levert from the band The O-Jay’s. Gerald passed away in 2006 and was known to be a prolific R&B singer. Stuart was a big fan of his and wanted to honor his musical talents.
The title of the musical he is working to put together is actually one of the tracks by Gerald called “Definition Of A Man”. The musical is about how three men from Bed-Stuyvesant come together through music and dance. It is like R&B meets West Side Story.
On the current radar Stuart has worked on Spike Lee’sFilm “Blackkklansman” and Series “She’s Gotta Have It”. That project is currently on Netflix and has currently wrapped Season 2. Since then, Stuart has become “Head of Production” for Triple SSS Entertainment and has been asked to be the 1st. A.D. on the motion picture, “Shadow in The Rain”. He has also paid it forward by being a Mentor in the Reel Works program that provides free film making lessons for NYC youth and he keeps empowering the youth by making sure he hires P.A.s that wouldn’t normally get a chance on many other Sets and instructs them constantly on the etiquette and enhancing their knowledge on the art of film making. For 2018 his main focus is hisproject “Definition Of A Man” and hopes to also bring Eddie Levert who was the lead singer of the O’Jay’sonboard. Be on the look-out for this project that will do what Stuart wants most, “to bring families together to enjoy something pure and innocent.”