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Brian J. Kelly is an award-winning television Executive Producer Writer and Director and founder of National Drone Services.  Over his 30-year career, Brian has worked at every level of television and motion picture production including as a senior television network executive, and production company general manager.  Brian has also produced and directed hundreds of television shows, documentary films and commercials in over 50 countries

In this industry we often hear the cliché “he’s done it all” to describe someone who has made an impact.  Brian is one of those rare people who has in fact…done it all.

Back in the mid 2000s, I was on staff at Discovery Communications serving as VP of Production for Discovery’s Emerging networks group.  At that time we were working with an influential, LA-based studio that had been commissioned to produce one of the networks high profile productions. Since the Emerging Networks Group didn’t have the production budgets of the flagship Discovery Channel or TLC, it was my job to make every dollar the network spent count.  From the early stages of production planning we knew that the series required aerial cinematography, which at that time was done almost exclusively by helicopter. 

But — because of the prohibitive cost (relative to our budgets) of insurance, permits and aircraft rentals, we started playing with the idea of mounting cameras to remote controlled helicopters.  Mind you, back then “drones” were purely military equipment. We were working with single prop, collective-pitch, (truly little more than a toy) – RCs.  Needless to say it was an idea, way ahead of its time — and the available technology.  In the end the concept was solid, but the technology was just not where we needed it to be.  But an idea for a new company, doing things a new way was born.

In 2009, with this idea — and a contract to produce a mini-series I left Discovery and launched National Drone Services.  And the rest, well…you know what they say!

Throughout my television career I have had the opportunity to work in some of the most exotic and interesting places on the planet…meeting people from all walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, political and cultural beliefs.  (At last count I think I have worked in 52 countries.)  Throughout this journey, it has been my privilege to take viewers to places they have never been and to bring them images of things they may never see. Whether it is a thirty-second commercial or a global television event, for me the thrill comes from capturing experiences and turning them into stories…stories that have real meaning…and combining those stories with images that last a lifetime.

Television is a very powerful medium.  It allows viewers to travel from the depths of the oceans to outer space — or to circle the globe in an instant.   For those of us who make television, we have the opportunity to touch millions of people with the stories we tell. 

With this opportunity comes great responsibility.  At National Drone Services, we understand and respect the influence of the television medium.  With every project no matter how big or small, we strive to work with the most talented people in the industry – professionals who possess the same dedication, integrity and passion for what we do.

If you asked me what I think National Drone Services does best, I would say simply — putting the right people in the right places in order to create the most powerful experiences with each of our productions.  Sometimes it’s a solution for a client and sometimes it is a giant leap into the unknown.  But I have to say — we always look forward to what’s next.


Brian J. Kelly

Founder, National Drone Services, LLC

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National Drone Services is an FAA certified drone operator based in Washington, DC.