This past weekend my friends and I attended my second favorite annual event, Toronto’s Fan Expo. Second only to TIFF, this four day festival is a celebration of all things nerd. From horror to anime, comic books and beyond, this once a year extravaganza is a certified eyegasm! Typically I attend to purchase new artwork and see what tomorrow has in store. The only difference this year was one persistent thought, my parents.

Truth be told my love for film was inspired by my parents. In the early 80’s my Dad worked at “The Video Movie House.” Blessed with this asset he baptized me in celluloid. On Saturday I saw individual cells from Winnie The Pooh, reminding me of his adoration for the cartoon character. That said, it was his love for Shakespeare that truly inspired me. In 1989 British actor Kenneth Branagh released his version of Henry V. To this day my Dad cannot get enough of that movie. Impressed by his affection I spent years tackling the film’s strange dialog and dramatic storyline. This led me to additional works and a persistent appreciation for Shakespeare.

I continue to thank him for introducing me to the master at such an early age. I also must thank him for teaching me to enjoy the theatrical experience. Though I’ve been to several memorable films with my father, none was more unforgettable than The Shadow. In the summer of ‘94 he took me to the best theater in town and told me about the importance of a quality projector and sound equipment. As the movie played I began to understand why. To this day I still do.

My mother’s influence, though equal, was entirely different. She turned me into the Sci-Fi nut everyone knows me for. She loved Star Trek, but her affection for Battlestar Galactica was what made a mark on me. That tale about an intergalactic ark led me into a sea of 70’s spectacles. Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, and Rollerball remain as some of my all time favorite films. Titles sure to bring a smile to her beautiful face.

Then there was Pretty Woman. Ongoing readers know that although I indulge in geek culture I also take time out for romance. In part I have my mother to thank; in part I blame Vivian Ward. As a boy I watched her with my mother and began to realize what it was to see a woman for her worth, (one beyond gold that strikes through to the soul). Since then what was always hopeless has become everything but, but that’s another story. This one’s about my parents, about how they’ve helped inspire me. I hope they can see that my gratitude is excessive, and have enjoyed the way I’ve chosen to express it. Here’s to my father for giving me wisdom, and my mother for giving me heart.