Wednesday, May 21, 2014

From Homeless to Hollywood: Following an Unlikely Dream

Jack Kennedy was so committed to giving his dream one last chance that he ended up homeless before he made it in Hollywood. This is his story, in a guest post by actor and film producer Jack Kennedy himself. Jack is currently on the road in Texas with just his dog and his Jeep. Find out why...

SOMEWHERE ON THE ROAD IN TEXAS—Whenever somebody asks me how I’m doing, I answer, “Livin’ the dream.” But I’m an actor so that dream is often a nightmare. I’ve been at it eleven years now, had my successes, my failures, and times when I force my heart, nerve, and sinew to hang on when there’s nothing left except the will which says, “Hang on.” Yes, I stole that from Rudyard Kipling, that brilliant bastard! A year and a half ago, I decided it was time to either finally succeed completely or fail completely, no more in-between. So I quit my job and vowed to do NOTHING but act for a living. After two months, the money ran out and I moved into my Jeep with my dog; when it comes to dreams, failure is not an option. So I kept dreaming and something magical happened: I was homeless for nine months, but had my best year ever! I filmed a scene with Ben Kingsley in Iron Man III, booked a commercial, filmed two episodes of the TV show Castle and an episode of the NBC sitcom, Community, among other things.   
Jack Kennedy (center) with Martin Short and Jason Alexander

And now, heartened by a string of success, I am continuing to dream and doing what Hollywood says cannot be done: I wrote and am producing a film that doesn’t have Transformers, aliens, zombies, bloodshed, sex, or a scene with Channing Tatum’s abs! Who wants to see a heartwarming tale about an alcoholically wet and creatively dry writer who finds himself living in a semi-functional ’68 Winnebago while a dying mechanic becomes his unlikely muse? I do. And I am gambling that others do too!

I am now pouring my heart, soul, and the remnants of my bank account into making You Are Here. I am laying it all on the line, playing David before all the Goliaths, asking friends and strangers alike to contribute to my production as well, knowing that if I fail, my Rolodex will be forever tarnished, as useful as a life vest in a hurricane, my reputation like a gazelle in a lion’s den. But it is a risk I must take, because I must respect The Dream. And if you respect The Dream, go to, type in You Are Here, see what I’ve staked my existence on, and give the film a little love, cuddling, and contribution. Or…

Go pursue your own dream! Dreams are not to be trifled with; they are the pioneers of our path. If we ignore them, we ignore our destiny. And these suckers do not die; they just bide their time until we are sixty then return to haunt us all over again. But when we pay attention to them, our lives become extraordinary…maybe not in the way we imagined, but by taking that first step toward our dreams, we will discover thoughts, experiences and joy never imagined. This I know, because I am livin’ the dream!

"LIVE from Mongolia" is the true story of what happened when one woman followed her wildest dream out of a corporate career and into the news anchor chair in Mongolia. The book is available on Amazon (hardcover and Kindle), Barnes & Noble, and in bookstores. Published October, 2013 by Beaufort Books in New York.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

LIVE from the #BringBackOurGirls Wellington Rally

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND—This afternoon, I joined Yemi, a Nigerian friend, and hundreds of New Zealanders, several NGO spokespeople and diplomats, and 276 local schoolgirls to rally for the #BringBackOurGirls movement.

Change-a-Life Nigeria for #BringBackOurGirls
In the rain and cold, we met in Civic Square in downtown Wellington and marched to Parliament, where we were met by a senior cadre of politicians. As we made our way through the capital, we were led in a chant:

"What do you want?"

"Bring back our girls!"

"When do you want it?"


"Real men?"

"Real men don't buy girls!"

I found it awfully difficult in these circumstances, amongst so many people so passionately banded together, the New Zealanders, the foreigners, the Nigerians, the politicians, the diplomats, and the handful of kids in strollers, to chant. Every time I raised my voice, it cracked. Eventually, I thought of anything but those 276 abducted schoolgirls, just so I could join in the shouting.

"276 Stolen Dreams" 
At Parliament, a South African man took the mike, and said two things that astonished me. First, he reminded us how long it took the international community to condemn the violence in Rwanda in 1994. As the speaker pointed out, it wasn't until 10,000 or so dead bodies floated down the Kagera River into Lake Victoria that the international community took action. And then he also alerted us to a new type of violence: in Nigeria, in the north, Boko Haram have begun killing children while they sleep. It is with breathless astonishment and fury that I then (and still, in this moment, as I type) tried to imagine how one might go about murdering a sleeping child, how one might lean on religion to make this act right in the eyes of their god.

The crowd, after hearing this from the South African speaker, was silent. My friend Yemi murmured that it was true, that yes children are being killed while they sleep. Shoulder to shoulder, I stood with a Sri Lankan man and a Chinese woman. The Sri Lankan held a sign that read "276 Stolen Dreams - Bring Back Our Girls."

And it is with this in mind that I contemplate, once again, the nature of following dreams. For some of us, me included, following a dream was a decadence, a choice. I walked out of one terrific job to pursue a path to something more terrific. Alas, it was freedom that allowed me to do so, and education that provided the building blocks. So what of these children, of these girls? What of their hopes and dreams, their simple right to make choices?
276 schoolgirls arrive from Wellington Girls' College

And what can the world do? What actual action can we take? Nobody seems to want American military involvement. That much was clear from what was said by one of the politicians, and how the crowd reacted in agreement.

Off in the distance, shattering the solemn silence, 276 schoolgirls from Wellington Girls' College arrived. They wrapped around Parliament, jubilantly chanting, "Bring back our girls! Bring back our sisters!" They stomped their feet, and rallied a hopeful cry that brought tears to everyone's eyes.


"LIVE from Mongolia" is the true story of one woman's journey to pursue her passion, at all costs. It's a #1 bestseller on Amazon. Available in hardcover, Kindle, and on Barnes & Noble. Happy dreaming…to those of us who can. (Published by Beaufort Books, 2013)

Thursday, May 08, 2014

LIVE from the Boardwalk: A Doctor's Dream to Skate

PACIFIC BEACH, CA — He was a doctor. He drove a BMW. He had a lot of money and an IRA. He was also, so he says himself, an asshole. One day, long before he did anything about it, he met an old man in a cafeteria. The old man gave him a piece of advice, one which he's never forgotten: "Do what you want to." It took him many more years, but one day he quit, and started skating. Yes, skating. In the short film Slomo by Josh Izenberg, we meet the man who left behind a neurology career (and a BMV, Ferrari, mansion, and exotic pets) to skate the boardwalk of San Diego's Pacific Beach.

Click below to see Slomo himself in action, and to hear what he thinks about IRAs, assholes, and the spirituality he found in skating.

"Everybody thought I was crazy, because I was too happy." -Slomo

(Thanks to reader Nathan Horne for sharing this incredible story!)

"LIVE from Mongolia" is the true story of one woman's journey to pursue her passion. The book is at #1 on Amazon's charts in the Mongolia category, and Top 10 in two other categories. Author Patricia Sexton left a Wall Street career to anchor the Mongolian news. She now features dream-followers on her blog and previously on the TV show, WE Talk. "LIVE from Mongolia" is on sale on Amazon for just $2 for the next 2 days, until May 11th. Happy reading, and happy dreaming! (Published by Beaufort Books, Oct. 2013)