Incredible doesn’t even begin to describe Kelly Bonbright’s journey from Dominican to Hollywood.
Kelly is nearing her 18th year at Pixar Animation Studios, the last six as Script Supervisor, where she's worked on Pixar's most celebrated feature films Turning Red, Luca, Incredibles 2, and the animated short film Ciao Alberto. She just completed her work on the upcoming Disney+ series Cars on the Road set to release later this year, and joined another feature film slated to release in 2024.
Kelly took a year off from Pixar in 2019 to work as Assistant to the Director of Post Production - Animation - Features and Series at Netflix in Hollywood. While with Netflix, she purchased and remodeled a condo in Belmont Shore, Long Beach. Her favorite neighborhood is 4th Street / Retro Row, a kitschy strip of coffee shops, thrift, and vintage stores.
“I wanted to experience working in the heart of the entertainment industry and living the L.A. energy for a bit,” Kelly says. “I learned the fast-paced Netflix culture and the burgeoning streaming business.”
In June 2018, the 2005 graduate, who earned her BFA in Graphic Art and Design in the Department of Art, Design and Visual Studies along with a BA in Communications in the Department of Communication and Media Studies, walked the red carpet at the world premiere of Disney Pixar’s Incredibles 2. It was her first feature film as Script Supervisor. The movie shattered box office expectations at $183.2M – the largest opening weekend in animated film history at the time.
With her strong training in the School of Liberal Arts and Education in studio and digital art, Kelly began an internship with Pixar in Consumer Products in 2004. She assisted in the production of toys, books, and video games, just as production on The Incredibles was wrapping up.
“My desk was within earshot of The Incredibles production pod. I would admire and observe director Brad Bird and his crew in action,” Kelly recalls. “The pod operated like a close-knit family, with a lively and efficient workflow. Brad was laser-focused on film goals and his attentive crew would execute with humor and ease. Little did I know my career would come full circle, landing a job as Brad Bird’s Script Supervisor on Incredibles 2.”
Prior to becoming Script Supervisor, Kelly spent 10 years in Publishing at Pixar managing art and editorial content for children’s books, magazines, and digital apps, starting with the 2006 feature film Cars and finishing with 2015’s feature film The Good Dinosaur.
After a well-rounded experience in Publishing, Kelly was eager to join film production. “Managing and editing publishing titles, ensuring their film accuracy, and collaborating with filmmakers in creative reviews set me up for success in the Script Supe role,” she says.
According to Kelly, being a Script Supervisor is notoriously one of the most difficult jobs at Pixar.
“It requires constant attention to detail, to the most important document to the film. There is little to no room for error,” she says. “Each day you’re in charge of archiving changes made to the script, communicating those changes to lead filmmakers, and tracking and prioritizing dialogue lines for voice recording.”
Kelly managed over 200 voice recording sessions (for both temporary “scratch” and production dialogue) for Incredibles 2, traveling to Los Angeles and New York City. She worked closely with actors, such as Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, and Samuel L. Jackson.
“Craig, Holly, and Sam were a gas to work with. We laughed a lot,” Kelly says. “What’s funny about voice acting is that it’s not as easy as it seems. Actors are expected to emote purely by standing in front of a mic. Director Brad Bird is super interactive with voice actors in order to guide them through a dramatic or action-heavy scene.”
In late 2018 Kelly completed a four-month sabbatical from Pixar. She moved to New York City to attend the Parsons School of Design's Summer Intensive program in Mixed Media Illustration.
“My assignments allowed me to experiment with fun mediums like gouache painting, needle-felting, paper-craft, graphic design, 2D animation, and flipbook-making,” Kelly says.
During her time in NYC, Kelly was selected to appear as a guest on The Rachael Ray Show, alongside fashion expert Clinton Kelly and Rachael Ray.
“I adore lifestyle talk shows, and this amazing TV opportunity presented itself. The production team at Rachael enjoyed my funny fashion stories and invited me to appear on a fashion segment featuring helpful outfit styling tricks.” Kelly says.
A strong passion for the arts brought Kelly to Dominican in fall of 2001 as a transfer student from Santa Rosa Junior College by way of Sonoma Valley High School.
“For me, Dominican had an appealing educational experience: breathtaking landscape, small class size, liberal arts curriculum, nurturing art department, growing communications department, student government — even a prom,” Kelly says. “I was super active on campus, joining ASDU as programming director planning the Boat Dance and Penguin Ball. I was also senior class representative assisting with graduation and presenting the class shield.”
Kelly never imagined being super active at Dominican would one day lead to a career complete with superheroes. It practically took a superhuman effort to complete Incredibles 2, as the crew had only three years to produce the film.
“The leadership wasn’t afraid to push the envelope and do things unconventionally for the betterment of the film. We had to work fast and sometimes messy, without suffering quality,” Kelly says. “I learned quickly how to appreciate efficiency and embrace imperfections during a creative process.”
In other words, she was incredible, too.