KUSA - Every Saturday morning during the winter, my dad would take my brother and me to the free matinee in the neighboring town.

During the cold Decembers in Minnesota, we would crash on the couch watching the "15 Days of 007," on TBS. He knew I loved Field of Dreams and Top Gun, so on vacations to Iowa and California, he took me to the actual movie sites. Film has always been a huge part of my life. Looking back, I have my father to thank for that.

Papa was always there with me, watching movies, explaining different parts I didn't understand, repeating funny dialogue, or scaring me when a frightening scene was coming up. It was one of the things we really bonded over when I was a kid.

As I grew older, I not only watched movies, my friends I started to make them. We would take an old camcorder, think of a concept, and put together our work. We conquered dungeons, filmed talk shows, and put on comedic sketches.

My band of friends and I were the producer, director, cinematographer, editor, screenwriter and set designer. We did it all. We had a blast. And even though Ididn'tsee it then, my father was always supportive of what we did. He encouraged us to think of these original ideas, put them on tape, and go wild. Ididn'tknow it at the time, but this helped ignite my passion for film.

Through my journeys in life, I've realized that I don't care much about money, cars, houses, etc. To me, there is no truer form of currency than creativity.

It's what drives me - and this is what film allows me to do. Granted, I'm not a filmmaker, but I work for an industry that thrives on the same principles.

People who make films have an opportunity to let their imaginations run wild. They get that chance to take people to other parts of the world, to see different cultures, open them up to parts of history, or tell stories you've never heard of.

Movies inspire us, make us laugh or cry, and get us thinking about important social issues. They give us a great first date option in high school. Most importantly - they are an escape. While most people may see me as a guy who spends hours in front of the TV or at the theater - I'm not. And it's the films I watch that remind me to get out there and take pleasure in life.

All of us lead chaotic lives. We work - a lot, we put in time with our families, we run errands, do chores, try to fit in travel - it's overwhelming. However, after that long weekend of traveling or doing loads laundry, is there nothing better than snuggling up on the couch with someone you care about, popping in that old classic you love, and falling asleep to it. I think not.

Last weekend, I watched Field of Dreams again. Seeing that baseball field reminded me of visiting there with dad - how we pretended to be the "baseball ghosts." And then Kevin Costner asks his dad to "have a catch." No matter who you are, it's hard not to get emotional during that scene. And

I thought of my dad and I and our cinematic experiences, and I have this final thought to say:

Thanks dad, for introducing me to a medium I will always be passionate about. Thanks for letting me destroy the basement with my movie sets. Thanks for taking me to all those Saturday matinees. Thanks for taking me to Mirimar, CA to see the Top Gun Fighter Jets. But most importantly, thanks for always encouraging me to stay creative, and to pursue my dreams of making my own feature films. If I ever win an Academy Award, you'll be the first one I thank.

So parents, I say this: Give your kids that old camcorder. Let them go create something unique. You never know - you may see a different side of your child that you didn't know existed, and they could become the next Steven Spielberg.

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