The History of Had To Be There

Just a small town girl . . .

Well hello there! I suppose I should formally introduce myself. I'm Kelly and you've stumbled upon my little corner of the web. I'm a proud native of Milford, CT - "a small city with a big heart" - and I love my hometown! I'm still friends with my childhood friends, I still work with kids at the elementary school I attended, Milford is forever engrained on my heart and soul. Growing up, I was always an avid performer in dance, colorguard, and theater. From the time I was 12 years old, I taught dance and drama at a local elementary school - something I continue to this day. Aside from performing arts, I've always had a passion for film and cinematography and pursued these interests in college where I earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media Production from Quinnipiac University.

I loved making videos. My younger brother was a student athlete and my father was the football team's official photographer. My dad and I would spend HOURS working on the video for the big end-of-the-season banquet. Our videos quickly became fan favorites and every year, I'd find myself excited to try to top the previous year's video. That was the first time I remember thinking I might like to create movies for a living!

I had dreams of moving to LA after graduation and becoming a screenwriter or a big-shot Hollywood director. I lived for late-night editing sessions as a deadline loomed. As commencement approached however, reality kicked in and I just couldn't bring myself to leave New England. I still needed a job and was so lucky to have found one at one of CT's prestigious boarding schools. I was brought on to build a dance program and was elated at the opportunity. Dance was, and will always be, my first true love. No matter where I've found myself in life, I've always kept that door open and that dream of someday having my own dance studio will always be in the back of my mind. Still, in my spare time, I found myself taking on more video projects outside of my brother's team recaps - I was putting together photo montages for birthdays, anniversaries, and even memorial services. These pieces brought so much joy to people I knew I'd found another passion that I would carry with me.

I've always needed to have a creative outlet. Before the age of Pinterest, I would scour through Grandma's recipes trying my hand at baking. Cooking is a lost cause for me - I find it irrationally stressful. But baking - the precision of it - made me really happy! As I tested out new recipes and flavor combinations, I became addicted to whipping up sweet treats. Which is ironic since I don't have much of a sweet tooth myself! At this point in my life, I really sat down and began to think how I could somehow evolve these unrelated hobbies and transform them into something more.

In the 90s, there was a Meredith Brooks that had one particular lyric that has always resonated with me: "I'm a little bit of everything, all rolled into one!" I've never fit into any one "box" and I when I first considered launching my own business, I knew I wanted it to be as eclectic as I am! I wanted to create more than just products; I wanted to help create memories. I wanted to be a part of someone's story where they would be unable to put into words how incredible that memory was, only to end their effort by saying "I'm telling you - ya just had to be there!" And so Had To Be There Productions was born! At any given moment, there's a thousand and one different things going on in my life. Had To Be There Productions continues to grow with me every day. I consider myself so lucky to have it encompass all the aspects of my life that make me who I am! I long for the day when HTBT will be my main source of income. I just can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!