Kelly is a hard working entrepreneur in the entertainment industry who creates cinematically inspiring spaces for others to realize their vision. He’s always searching for new ways to increase value for his clients. He spends his time searching Craigslist for cool finds, listening to vinyl, hiking in the mountains and thinking of new things to build.
It sounds like you’re a jack of all trades; what did you do prior to the film industry and how did you get started in this crazy business?
I’ve modelled for Benneton, acted in a Star Wars commercial, photographed for Rolling Stone, built sets that Lil Wayne performed in, and rented studio time to Vogue. I started at the age of 4, acting and modelling, and became a professional skater at the age of 12. Eventually I landed as a photographer for about a decade. I built my own sets out of salvaged items found throughout my community. After a while, I realized I had more fun building sets and running a business than I did shooting, hence WarehouseLA.
What made you believe in Downtown Los Angeles before it was ‘cool’?
I moved to DTLA in 2002 & rented a large live/work loft for super cheap just a block away from Skid Row (shout out to Joe!). At that time, downtown was an isolated wasteland I thrived in that environment. But I could see what it would morph into. Downtown has so much character and history, it was due a revival and restoration. And logistically, LA needed to become centralized. I just hope it remembers its roots and stays a little dangerous. Adversity is a gift.
How did you come up with the name CineSpaces and Warehouse LA?
I’m pretty awful at naming things, often favoring inside jokes and double entendres that aren’t perfectly clear. I noticed my clients struggling to interpret my nonsense, so in an effort to simplify, I came up with WarehouseLA. Cause, ya know, it’s a warehouse in LA. As for CineSpaces, it encapsulates what we do, provide cinematic spaces for the entertainment industry.
What inspires some of the spaces you create here? Do you go by people’s demand, your personal favorite type of genres, or by gut instinct?
It’s been an evolutionary process, starting the business by pleasing myself, building what I like and now I find a lot of joy in pleasing others and providing them with what they need. It’s often a lot less complicated, clients are happier, everyone wins.
What’s the craziest production or photo shoot you’ve hosted?
I’ll give you the diplomatic answer, they’re all a little crazy in their own way. We’re often tasked in this industry with executing highly complex plans that change by the minute and often have little rationale or tether to reality. There are so many variables, it’s hard to comprehend. And yet somehow, it always pulls together. I find that level of teamwork and persistence to be inspiring and the small role I play, to be fulfilling. We take our role very seriously at CineSpaces. It’s a lot of responsibility and we’re dedicated to making the booking process as smooth as possible.
What’s next for your company?
We’re going to keep building cinematic spaces! This year we’ve soft opened our second studio, FilmStudioLA. Our current sets include a giant Green Screen Cyclorama & an Office Standing Set that I’m proud to book through Wrapal. When we’re done, a full Police Station, Hospital, CourtRoom, Bar, Home & Warehouse will be available in one space. There are over 50 parking spaces, tons of power, gear rentals, wifi, makeup rooms, production offices, bathrooms, etc. It will be a mini campus and a filmmaker’s paradise. Once completed, I’ll take a year or so to regroup and then start on another studio concept that will be unlike anything previously built. Stay tuned!
What are some of the benefits of listing and booking with Wrapal?
Wrapal has taken location scouting and combined it with the best technology that allows filmmakers to find the perfect location in seconds. For the filmmaker, it’s like shopping at Walmart, they have everything. For a long time, studios were not using the web to market their services. It was all about who you know. Wrapal levels the playing field. Everything is up front, convenient, and safe. What works for my cllients, works for me as well. I want them spending less time searching and more time shooting. Listing with Wrapal is a win-win.
What do you do for fun when you’re not busy photographing, filming, or hosting shoots at the warehouse?
Ya know, not a whole lot. I’m just the sort that wanders from one intense challenge to the next. I turn every hobby into a business. I really enjoy what I do, whatever it is that I’m doing … so work is fun. I look forward to it. That said, I really really enjoy cooking.
Speaking of fun – Out of all the arcade games in the warehouse, which is your favorite and why?
Marvel vs Capcom is by far my favorite. I’m absolutely awful at video games, but if I just keep pressing a bunch of buttons in that game, I have a decent chance at not being beaten right away.
I hear you’re a big fan of Stanley Kubrick. Which of his is your favorite film and why?
All of his films are living, breathing works of art. Every time I watch his films I see something new. I grew up super naive & sheltered, spending most of my time in an alternative Disney-fied universe. When I was introduced to Clockwork Orange for the first time, it showed me a world I had no idea existed. Being reasonably tuned in and self aware, the idea that something vastly different from my human experience was out there living changed me forever. I’ve spent my life pursuing the unknown within myself and within the boundaries of this world. Clockwork Orange opened that door.
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