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Cinematopia - Road To Redemption

By Author: Kenneth Hall

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I grew up in a single parent home and my father was actually a performer but he mostly was in the musical side. As a little boy I always looked up to him and wanted to just that, ever since I was a kid. While my siblings ran around the house I would be off in the corner setting up stages and scenarios by myself, and at that time no-one recognised I had this desire to perform or be in the performing arts community.
I knew I was a creative, but most of the contests were to pay to get in which in those days we couldn't afford to do.
In grade school we had to do performances, and there was one presentation, a small skit on good and evil with a biblical overtone to it. Whenever there was a potential for violence there would be a freeze frame, and the angel would come down and touch the freeze frame. This live action role-play inspired me from a young age to think of different scenarios with the end result of the heroine saves the day, with boy meeting girl and living happily ever after.
I guess I was attracted to that because as a kid I was very introverted, most of my voice was in writing and drawings and things of that nature. And things were difficult, with not that much support, so I wished for a heroine. I even had a complex about my own looks; I never thought I was appealing enough to follow what my dad did in music. My dad became my vessel to the voice and the world without seeing who I really was.
I mostly went to the cinema on my own, while other kids played. I would spend hours at the movie theatre memorising lines, characteristics in the movies, identifying what the writer was trying to achieve with his story, what was his inner hidden voice. Cinemas would become my sanctuary, my escape from the unarticulated hardships of my life at that time.
Around 12 or 13 years of age, a group of friends and I got together with a video camera one of them received for Christmas that year - and using my idea, we shoot a movie on an abandoned lot in my neighbourhood. Back in the 70's martial art movies were the big attractions on the big screen, so we did a karate movie and at 13 in some back yard, I experienced my first test at directing a film.
It was fun, we did it all on this one camera, I remember when we took the film down to a local processing lab; obviously it was all chopped up, but they when we looked at it. I then we learned how to splice these types of frames together, with no dialogue, it was still pretty cool at that time.
It was there, at that exact moment, the seed was planted and I wanted nothing more then to make my own stories into screenplays. Imagine if those opportunities had evaded me as a young kid. I would not have found my road to redemption through my writings. I had some walks on the wrong side in my early days, but without cinema to hold on to, there would be no dream for me to realize.

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