Kennedy on set with Jennifer Garner.
International award winning director, Kennedy’s extensive body of work features all genres of commercials, music videos, print, web, and feature films. His career has taken him all around the world, shooting in more than 20 countries. Notable recording artist clients include Snoop Dogg, Paul McCartney, Lauryn Hill, Notorious B.I.G., and Fall Out Boy. Kennedy has also photographed notable celebrities such as Jennifer Garner, Maria Sharapova, Kevin Hart, Christy Turlington and Victoria’s Secret Angel, Adrianna Lima. His clients include Pantene, Levi’s, Macy’s, Nestle, Coca Cola, and Maybelline New York. Kennedy is one of the pioneers of the “Branded Content” movement, paving the way for a new wave of commercial content living beyond traditional broadcast outlets.
“I started from the ground up and made the move to NYC the day after graduating from Syracuse University. I began working as a Production Assistant. After a year of observing all positions on set, I knew directing was what I wanted to do.
One day, while shoveling manure on a farm for a car commercial, I had an epiphany: Find a band, shoot their music video, and fulfill my dream of becoming a director. Up to this point, I had only observed directors but, as my father always said, ‘Anything the mind can conceive and believe it will achieve.’ The problem was finding a band willing to let me shoot them. My search went nowhere; I was rejected by the worst bands in the scrappiest dive bars in NYC’s East Village. I encountered a reoccurring theme: No reel, no experience, no dice!
To circumvent this, I invented a fictitious white male rapper: Justin Time (played by yours truly). I was a terrible rapper, but somehow got a real music producer to do the track. Yo! Spring Break was recorded and it was catchy, if I do say so myself. And just like that, my “posse” and I were bound for Miami with 16mm short ends I had gathered from the backs of production cube trucks. There were many lucky things that took place and the video ended up on MTV.
When advertising agencies started looking to music video directors for commercial work, I was at my peak and the timing was perfect. Many of my videos featured female artists and had a focus on beauty. This led me to my first award winning spot with Saatchi for Lycra. It was featured in Women’s Wear Daily magazine and launched my commercial directing career. Fashion and Beauty became my niche, shooting pieces for TRESemme, Maybelline New York, Pantene, and Garnier, amongst others. To date my work has expanded into lifestyle and kids, earning national spots for major brands like Levis, Wii, McDonalds, Nestle, and Neutrogena.
Other mediums I work in include LongForm format directing, which I have consistently done with features, docu/reality shows and webisode series.
I always imagined shooting for an iconic magazine like Rolling Stone so when they called me in 2011 to capture eight bands for a five-page layout, it was a dream come true. Of course, my photography has become as busy and in demand as the live action work I do. It now contains an intriguing blend of fashion, music, and children. I love the intimacy and personalized experience that comes with this medium and now frequently shoot both live action and print on my projects.
I feel lucky and blessed to have this career, and hope to see you on set soon!” – Kennedy