Kelly Nygaard

Ad Council’s “What’s In Your Bag?” (web short)

Kelly Nygaard


1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 
In fall of 2015, I directed an online campaign for Red Vines. It went perfectly if you don’t count me eating an inappropriate amount of the product, falling in the ocean and flashing the crew (accidentally).

2) How did you get into directing?
Movies were a huge part of my childhood and how my family spent time together so as soon as I knew I could work in entertainment as a career, I went after directing. I went to USC’s film school in 2008 and have been trying to recoup my mother’s investment ever since.

3) What is your most recent project? 
Getting through my mid-twenties—but also a comedy spot for FIAT.

4) What is the best part of being a director? 
I love the collaboration. But honestly I’m a control freak.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 
Missing my Alaskan Malamute Kodak while I’m working on set.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 
I love commercials because they are micro stories and that’s a fantastic challenge for a storyteller. I would love to continue directing commercials and branded content while I work towards expanding my attention to TV and film projects. I’m currently pitching a dramedy pilot for television.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? 
Tough question! But Clint Eastwood. Such a great example of someone who has made bold choices and persisted throughout his career. Did you know he’s composed the music for several of his movies? I signed up to be an extra in J. Edgar so I could see him in action.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 
Forget it Jake, it’s Chinatown. But also The Departed, Howard’s End, Unforgiven, Jurassic Park, and Pride & Prejudice (2005).

10) Tell us about your background (i.e. where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, raised by a strong single mother after my dad passed away (cancer sucks). I moved to Los Angeles in 2008 to go to film school. Right after graduation I received the incredible opportunity to work as Terrence Malick’s assistant on the set of Knight of Cups. I spent the next few years shadowing directors in the commercial world and I hope to continue to learn as I further my own career as a director.


Kelly Nygaard
Contact via email