After climbing the ranks as an executive in Hollywood, Kelly Edwards left it behind to return to her passion of writing. Now she has a producing deal with HBO and decades of hard won wisdom guiding her creative pursuits. During this conversation, Kelly opened up about the highs and lows of her journey as a creative and a woman reinventing herself. Her reflections and strategies are an inspiration no matter your industry or ambitions.
Behind Her Brilliance: Listening
Say hi to Kelly on Twitter: @kellyedwards
KELLY EDWARDS | Writer
Kelly Edwards recently transitioned from inside the network ranks into a writing and producing deal with HBO under her Edwardian Pictures banner.
In her former executive role, she oversaw all of the emerging artists programs for HBO, HBOMax, and Turner. The pilots she produced through the HBOAccess Writing and Directing fellowships have screened at major film festivals including Tribeca and SXSW, and garnered multiple awards.
Prior to HBO, Edwards was a key corporate diversity executive at Comcast/NBCUniversal for over five years where she oversaw over 20 divisions, launched employee resource groups, and introduced diverse creative talent to NBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and Telemundo.
Edwards’ career spans both television and film. Early in her career, she worked as a creative executive in features at both Disney and Sony under such talents as Garry Marshall and Laura Ziskin. After moving to television, she served as a senior executive at FOX where she developed LIVING SINGLE, CLUELESS, and THE WILD THORNBERRYS. While heading up UPN’s Comedy division as the SVP of Comedy Development she developed GIRLFRIENDS, THE PARKERS, and MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE.
Edwards also produced the movie of the week A CHRISTMAS DETOUR for Hallmark and the one-hour drama series SEX, LOVE, AND SECRETS.
In 2000, Edwards co-founded the non-profit organization Colour Entertainment, a networking group for diverse creative executives in TV, Film, Digital, as well as assistants, all designed to connect current and future industry executives with one another.
Edwards graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater and an MFA in Writing for Film and TV at Emerson College. She served on the Annenberg Inclusion Board and is a 2019 Sundance Episodic Lab fellow.
Kelly’s early days in LA
Kelly’s perspective on building professional relationships as an introvert
Kelly’s path into entertainment
How Kelly found hope when every door was slammed in her face
Kelly’s perspective on diversity in corporate ranks
How Kelly found herself traveling the world, meeting the Dalai Lama and rediscovering her passion
The 360 review that led to Kelly’s level up
Kelly’s approach to writing
The difference between passion and craft
Why Kelly writes every day
Kelly’s perspective on writers block
Kelly’s advice to writers starting out
Why categorizing yourself can be the secret to expanding
And much more!
STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
The Executive Chair (Kelly’s book)
So You Want to be a Producer by Lawrence Turman
J Michael Straczynski on Behind the Brilliance, episode 198
Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
Lisa Gardner books (Kelly’s book pick)
3 Secrets to the Happy & Healthy Relationship You’ve Always Fucking Wanted by Wendy Miller (Kelly’s book pick)
Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend by Ben Philippe