Gainesville’s Connection to Selma, the Movie

Terrance N. Shelton is a Gainesville native who recently worked on the biopic “SELMA” Terrance N. Shelton was born in Gainesville, GA to Nathaniel and Janie Shelton. Terrance initially became interested in music through singing in the Children’s Choir at St. John Baptist Church. In high school he was awarded membership in the Georgia All State Choir, as a male soprano, three consecutive times. Terrance was also a member of a local performing group, “Smooth Edition”, where he began writing lyrics for their songs. After high school graduation Terrance attended Clark Atlanta University (CAU) majoring in Media Management. While matriculating at CAU he presided over the CAU Philharmonic Society and toured with them throughout the country. At CAU, he was introduced to Jermaine Dupri, (SoSo Def Records). Their relationship led to inclusions on many different recordings including rap duo Kris Kross, Silk Tymes Leather, and eventually culminating in a song which he co-wrote for LaFace Artist, TLC’s first album. He’s worked with many musicians, including Dionne Farris (Columbia Records), Van Hunt (Blue Note), Algebra (Motown, Omar (RCA), Trina Brossard (Motown) and more. In 2005, he released a song on the dance compilation, “Amanda Project: Relight”, which has successfully been remixed and added to other compilations in the U.S., Japan, and throughout Europe. His career as a celebrity wardrobe stylist has allowed him to work with many other musicians such as Arrested Development, Andre 3000, CeeLo Green, and legendary Grammy award winning, jazz vocalist, Cassandra Wilson. His works include everything from visual merchandising and advertising to album cover, fashion shows, and wardrobe styling for film and television. His work in the fashion industry eventually garnered the attention of Black Enterprise magazine (March 2006) in which he was featured in a two page pictoral.

Most recently, Terrance has added the title of Assistant Prop master to his list of attributes. He stumbled into the film industry by chance and ended up on the set of history. As Assistant Prop master on “Selma”, Shelton was responsible for purchasing, acquiring and/or manufacturing any props needed for a production. But working on the set also meant he was a part of a feature film whose subject matter, while set in 1965, and couldn’t be timelier in 2014.

He spoke with the Times, Newspaper Chelsey Abercrombie regarding his experience: Question: (Chelsey) how did you get into the film industry? Answer: (Terrance) I was one of the many people (who) found themselves displaced and without a job after the downturn of the economy. So after being a buyer in retail for 16 years, I basically had to reinvent myself. I had been doing wardrobe on short films and small productions for PBS and so forth, because that was what I was familiar with. While I was doing those things, I met a prop master named Bill Butler who just kind of casually asked me if I would be interested in coming to assist him as some point if he got a gig. Question: What are some of the projects you worked on before you got hired on “Selma”? Answer: I stayed in contact with (Bill Butler) and he eventually called me because he was given a BET show called “The Game.” That was their highest grossing show. It was actually on another network and it was canceled. But due to a groundswell of support, BET picked them up, so we were the very first to film in the new Screen Gems facility that took the place of the old Lakewood facility. I’ve done a few television shows, kind of cutting my teeth over at BET and did some made for TV movies. “SELMA” was my first feature film. In this capacity I’ve worked on shows such as BET’s “The Game”, “Let’s Stay Together”, and “Read between the Lines”. I completed the second season of “The Rickey Smiley Show”. Question: What was it like working on a film whose subject matter carries such historical significance? Answer: It was obviously important that this message be told, and I think the thing I keep hearing said about {SELMA) is it’s so timely. How something that took place in 1965 still has relevance, particularly right now with all of the events in Ferguson and so forth. It’s a message that still needs to be told. It’s funny though – I think we’ve seen this depiction before. We’ve seen the atrocities of the Civil Rights era. But this story really focused more on the dialogue between Dr. King and LBJ, behind the scenes and essentially all of the things that led up to kind of forcing LBJ’s hand to enact legislation for (The Voter Right Act of 1965). It’s a very important story still to be told in this day and time. Question: What are your plans for the future? Answer: I just finished working on a show called Complication, which will air on USA Network in the spring or summer. Complications is another show by a gentleman named Matt Nix. Nix is the creator of a show called, Burn Notice? This is his interpretation of a medical drama. We finished filming that right before the holidays. Now it’s just onward and upward. I’m hoping to go back onto a show that I worked on last year called The Rickey Smiley Show, which airs on TV One. You just never know what’s around the corner.


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