I taught myself to read when I turned 4 because my parents refused to teach me until nursery school started the next fall. When I was 9 my parents purchased an additional set of Encyclopedia because I had finished the first one.
When I was 10, I helped my sister with her college calculus homework.
When I was 11, I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and translated the Egyptian Hieroglyphics off the wall.
I got my first job at 12, illegally doing work in the stockroom of a local stationary store. I would wake up at 5am every sunday morning, walk a mile, spend 3-5 hours putting together the Sunday Times, then spend the rest of the day in the dark stockroom doing inventory and moving heavy boxes twice my size. I would do the same work after school 3 days a week. The job was illegal because I was underage. My boss was an asshole. I continued until I had enough money to buy my first video camera and then I quit.
When I was 15 I began skipping high school to sneak onto movie sets in the city.
Eventually the crews would tell me where they’re shooting the next day. Eventually they gave me their schedule to know where to show up. Eventually they got me a badge to be an official guest on set, introduced me to the producers, and I would spend a few days with the sound team, a few days with the cast, a few days with the camera operators, etc. “This is Ronen. He’s interested in what we’re doing.” When I’d go back to school, people would ask if I was feeling better- because I had to lie and say I was sick in order to not get arrested by truancy officers.
By age 16 (circa 1999) I was regularly making short videos from life and encoding them for the web. My attempts to make a website where I could regularly share videos from life, videos of my adventures with my friends (with pages for each of us) were met with sheer futility. The design worked, but the web simply couldn’t handle videos at that time, and I didn’t know how to make it do so. I made the videos for myself, and designed a couple popular non-video websites for others.
At 20 I dropped out of college and moved to the Old City of Jerusalem to study to be a rabbi in the Yeshiva of the head rabbi of Jerusalem. I studied 2,000 year old legal documents with multiple generations of interconnected commentary in four languages.
At 21 I moved back to new york city and began a project called cinemalog, a site where my friends could post things in any media- notably video- and see a stream of posts by different users. The best posts would be filtered from the general ‘noise’ of conversation, and each user would have a stream representing their work. I used it mainly for a weekly videoblog, interviews I conducted with filmmakers/authors/etc, and posting random shit. It is to my knowledge the first website to have ‘click to play video’ that could therefore display a stream of multiple videos on the same page. (Before then, each web video autoloaded and so required its own window to view).
The first challenge was convincing people there was any value to making videos and putting them on the internet, or generally to sharing one’s life in such a fashion. The second challenge was getting posts to be independant replies to other posts - to be replies, rather than comments (I was hacking the site out of wordpress) which would be essential if I wanted to achieve my eventual goal of using the site to create the world’s first open-source movie.
Eventually I stopped maintaining the project.
Feeling stymied by the world, I plummeted into a months-long depression.
One day, I awoke from the haze of inaction and took Action to change my life and Manifest MySelf in the world.
The next few years you know about, because I’ve been sharing them pretty publicly. They’ve involved International Adventure, Neuroscience, Self-Creation, becoming a prolific and productive creator, Atheism, letting go of false beliefs, living in 1800 sq ft. Lofts and on cold train station floors, creating a Narrative out of life, meeting amazing
characters people, Iconism, making images, making Luck, Public Accountability of Character, Integrity, and helping awesome people be awesome, kick ass, and manifest themselves as creators.
(And pictures of the coolest pretty girls in the world).
Every month of the last 3.5 years has been, without question, better than the month that preceded it.
And the future ?
This is the best part.
Buckle your seatbelts, put on your 3-d glasses, and hold on tight.