Freshman year of high school I found myself sitting in front of Jake Hulse. It was his first year of teaching which made me feel a little bit at ease- we both were new kids on the block. To think that eight years later we were able to reconnect- that I would have him as a guest on my podcast- is just another example of how you never know how someone may impact your life in the future.
When the tragic events of September 11, 2001 unfolded, Jake was a senior in high school. As most seniors began thinking about college, 9/11 changed his mindset & just a few short days later he & a friend decided to stop by a United States Marine Corps recruiting office to learn about their options. At that time, Jake wasn’t of age to actually enlist, and nine months later he was enrolled at Northeastern University, in one of the top criminal justice programs in the country with dreams of becoming an F.B.I. agent.
As you’ll learn in the podcast, that's not exactly how things panned out. After working in Boston post-graduation, he eventually decided to become a teacher, which allowed him to work and balance his true passion, film making. Through Heroes Don’t Come Home, Jake was able to paint a picture of those moments after 9/11 in which the country found itself fearful, angry, and confused about what to do next. The film depicts two best friends who were torn apart when one enlisted to serve this country, and portrays the long term effects war can have on not only those who enlist to serve, but those closest to them.
Shortly after the recording of this podcast, I had sometime to reflect. Jake is someone who really put it all on the line. He gave up his life savings, countless weekends, the list goes on and on- just to follow his passion without even knowing what might come of the film. He had faith in in the project and in himself and took the leap of faith without any regret.
These are the types of stories I want people to hear. The people who found their purpose and are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.
One of the many takeaways from Jake’s story is this: If you want to leave a legacy in this world, you need to be willing to make sacrifices. The road is never going to be easy or directly laid out in front of you. But if you’re truly passionate about whatever it is you’re doing… you will get through it.
Who is Jake Hulse today?
“You gotta find something you love doing & then trick someone into paying you to do it”
Childhood was spent growing up in Albany, NY
Father was in Med School with three children
Senior year in high school when September 11, 2001 occurred
Went to Marine recruiter's office with interest in joining
Decided to pursue criminal justice degree with intent to join F.B.I.
3 Major takeaways from Northeastern University
Looking at history from the perspective not of growing up “here” but what does the rest of the world think of us
Began to love/enjoy screenwriting
Center for Race & Justice - Went out with police departments to understand who they were pulling over & why
Graduated college and began working as a white water rafter guide
Began teaching at Chicopee High School as a history teacher
Improving little lives along the way is the best part of the job
World premiere: June 8, 2016 at Dances with Films Festival
Process from getting a script on paper to the actual product
Movie was shot in 23 days
All the minor details in creating the movie (clothing, locations, objects in shot, etc)
Biggest takeaways from following through with this dream
What do people need more of in this world?
People need to challenge their thinking more and understand the “other side” of the coin
Picture frame on the wall of Jake in 10 years, what/who do we see?
Happy family with genuine smiles
On set with people Jake has enjoyed working with
Ask Bobbbaaaay a question
What’re you afraid of that you know you have to push through?
Where can people find Jake & the movie on social media?
What 2-3 pieces of advice to someone who is trying to find their passion/purpose?
Find people that will make that short term sacrifice for that long term legacy
Doors will be slammed on your face, you must be relentless
Better believe in what you’re trying to do