I was your typical, Long Island, neurotic Jewish college student, about to graduate, and on my way to law school because I didn't know what else to do. I was seeing a shrink twice a week.
It could have been a very predictable and unhappy life.
Instead, fate intervened.
I got a Thomas Watson Foundation Fellowship that allowed me to spend the next three years traveling around the world photographing - all expenses paid.
To say the least, this was a life changing experience.
In the intervening three years, I traveled overland from London to Kathmandu, lived in Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza, became a dig photographer for archaeological excavations in the Middle East, crossed the Sahara Desert, made my way across Central Africa, washed up in the Central African Empire, made my way up the Ubangi River and across to Juba, Sudan and down to Nairobi - photographing all the way.
Some people thing college is the formative experience of a lifetime. Not for me. I left Williams little changed and actually little different from when I had entered it in 1972 at the age of 17. It was the three years that followed that made me who I am today and set the standard for the way I would live the rest of my life.
The experience of traveling the world with a still camera - it gave me an excuse and a license to go anywhere and do anything - was one that became the foundation of the whole VJ concept.
There aren't that many Watson Foundation Fellowships around - I think they still give out 40 every year, but the world is still there and still waiting for you.
While Lisa and I have set up an award to send one young VJ on a similar trip every year, what we are hoping is that the skills you can pick up at TheVJ.com, plus the enormous opportunity to earn money while you travel the world by markeing your videos (we have devoted a great deal of TheVJ.com to how to make a living) will get you on the road.
We are hoping that TheVJ.com can become the same sort of life-changing experience for you that it was for me.
And you CAN change your life.
You CAN do this.
The only one holding you back, is you.
The market for video has never been stronger (unilke when I started out), and after 30 years in this business, we have learned a thing or two about how to make a living doing this - or at least cover your costs!
You only live once.
This is your chance.
As Humphrey Bogart once said, if you don't do this now, you'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.