Photo: Courtesy of Lemon Lime Light Media
I believe my purpose here on earth is to put out positive words through what is said in film and television.
Chris “CEO” Kelsey is a new generation film and television producer based in Atlanta. The Chattanooga native who once interned at Tyler Perry Studios also worked with Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and BET before making independent films like ‘Dirty South House Arrest,’ which stars LaTavia Roberson (original Destiny Child’s member), comedian Rodney Perry and many other talents. Chris previously received an invite-only VIP experience for notable Film and Television influencers from Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston. He was the youngest person in attendance where many noted his impressive work. He recently spoke with Beautifully Said about his independent project and the advice he gives to young men wanting a career in filmmaking.
Tell us about your independent film ‘Dirty South House Arrest’ and what you want the audience to take away from the movie?
Dirty South House Arrest is the story about a guy who goes about impressing a girl in the wrong way and meets some challenges. What I would like the audience to take away from the movie is a slight suggestion on how to do things differently because we as young people in college get in situations where you have to make a decision and you don’t know you’re making a life decision until you’re already facing the consequences. What we want to do with this movie is draw everyone in and entertain them but also hit them with subliminal messages on how to do things differently.
A highpoint for you was your internship at Tyler Perry Studios. What lessons did you learn about film and television production?
Yes. It has been a highpoint in my career. When I initially got the call it was around noon on this day and I was given a short window of time to get there. I worked until 10 pm that night. The lesson I learned from it was to be available and ready. This opportunity opened so many more doors for me where I went from unpaid to paid internships and I’ve been working ever since. And here I am 11 years later.
What is your advice for young men who want to get into film and producing?
Relationships! I would say keep all of your relationships intact and build from them. Also stay humble…it’s so important to stay humble in the process. We graduate from college and think we know it all because we have a degree…but it’s a process. Stay humble! Go get the coffee, the mail and the rest will eventually come. But do that to the best of your ability because everyone is watching to see if you can be trusted with the next level of responsibility.
As a producer what were you expecting from the actors on set?
From a producer’s standpoint, I wanted to make sure the actor’s quality was up to par, that they were entertaining and the messages in the film were subliminal. You can’t hit audiences over the head with the information you have to subliminally put it in there so they will say, “Hmm, I get it!” When it’s overdone it get’s rejected.
Switching gears a bit, will the new administration in office affect the way you tell stories and produce films?
I believe my purpose here on earth is to put out positive words through what is said in film and television. So with the transition of the current administration and everything that is going on, I keep everything positive. I think doing this will affect my career and what I produce by highlighting what we can do that’s positive to help situations. It’s so many things I can talk about that’s negative but let’s entertain people first because that’s my goal—to entertain and tell a story which draws the positives out of it!
Why should people watch Dirty South House Arrest?
It’s a great movie! A relief from everything that’s going on in the world. It will keep you entertained and laughing for an hour and thirty minutes.
Thank you for interviewing with Beautifully Said Magazine
The Atlanta-based film features LaTavia Roberson (Original Destiny’s Child Member and R&B Diva), comedians DC Young Fly, Rodney Perry, Emmanuel Hudson, Diva Tyler and Comic Pierre. “The characters of Dirty South House Arrest live a life that many face today,” says Director Pittman-Hayes, “We make silly, snap decisions that can change our entire life.” This original film tackles real life issues in such a humorous way that will leave you wanting more. Dirty South House Arrest will also be the feature film debut of Producer Chris Kelsey, known for his work on MTV’s Teen Wolf and Madea’s Big Happy Family.
For more about the film and Chris Kelsey follow @CEO_Kelsey on Instagram