Paying it Forward – It’s Amazing

I got the best email yesterday. It was from a young man who had attended a seminar I had given at Yale for ASMP on “Should I Be Thinking of Video”. I remember that evening well. I had recently returned from a 3-month journey circling the globe with my daughter creating a documentary on people making a positive difference in the world.
I was still very much in the same head-set that I had been for the past few months – one full of peace and belief in myself. I had just come off an intensive period where I was “walkin’ the walk” and I was practicing what I preached.

The young man, Brian, wrote, that he had attended my seminar with his father, who was a photographer and that he, himself had grown up wanting to make movies. So, my seminar was a perfect combination for them. Then Brian wrote “That night you inspired me.” My heart jumped when I read it. He went on to remind me of things that I had said that evening – about overcoming fears in order to realize your dreams – in my case traveling the world to make a movie. Leaving the known behind – for the unknown. Telling yourself “yes” instead of giving yourself reasons not to.

Brian said that he had recently landed his first job of his career as a structural engineer. He loved it, but he also had a great desire to travel. That night he went home and furiously “googled” anything about traveling the world and beyond. He came across the website of “Engineers Without Borders” and as serendipity would have it, they were having their monthly meeting that week.

To make a long, but interesting story, short, Brian went to that meeting that week, and talked with some people during a break who were organizing a trip to a village in India.

©Brian Skelcher

Then they invited him to go with them in February. He was astounded. And then he did the same thing many of us do in similar situations – he started giving himself every rational reason why he shouldn’t/couldn’t possibly do something like this. In Brian’s case – how could he ask his new boss for 3 weeks of time off?

That night when Brian heard me speak, was about a year and a half ago. In the email he sent to me yesterday, he talked about spending the last year editing his 15 hours of footage, down to a 40 minute piece. He told me that it hadn’t been easy and that he frequently read my blog posts where I had written about my similar experiences with post-production – magnified. What I had shared had helped him through it – angst and all.

My favorite line in his email read:

“So, I’m finally done with my movie, although there’s things I wish I had done differently, I did my best and I’m glad it’s finished! The final product is one thing, but the journey to get there is another, and the past 18 months have been such an amazing experience for me! I owe it all to you! Sorry for the long email but I’ve been waiting 18 months to tell you my story!!”

Brian just launched a Kickstarter campaign to send another engineer to Nepal for a similar project. You can find out more about it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/videotaping/welcome-to-abheypur-the-movie

I think back on that evening and the year and a half in between. I’ve gone through two tough winters, doing the kind of work that needs to be done, but nevertheless takes its toll on my heart and my soul. That evening, my spirit was alive and well. Brian and others felt it and it moved them to a place they wanted to be. And now, after a tough winter, that same “energy” has come back around to me through Brian’s email. It has reminded me to stay the course and stay on purpose. Thanks Brian.

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One thought on “Paying it Forward – It’s Amazing

  1. cynthia roderick March 4, 2012 / 9:29 am

    We all need so much help and support to chart a daring course….. words of inspiration are invaluable along the way…. the speaker may never come to realize just how important… so glad for Brian’s email…. and for its heartening effect on you and your journey….

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