Ali - a troubled yet imaginative boy - has one dream in life: to become a screenwriter. Abused at home by Sherman, a washed-up base guitarist; targeted in his neighborhood by Steel, a 20-year-old gang member; he longs for a safe space to write screenplays and explore the world of his imagination. As he sits in the park writing, Steel and two other gang members confront Ali. Steel knocks his screenplay out his hands. Angered by the disrespect, Ali throws the first two punches – striking Steel and one of the other men. They immediately attack him, viciously beating him to the ground.
When Ali arrives home, he laments to his mom, Khadijah (a practicing Muslim), that he needs a quiet place to write his screenplays and to be transferred to a safer high school. Disinterested in Ali’s problems, she brushes him off and tells him that if he wants quiet, he should go into the basement - Ali declines. The basement is where Sherman often goes play his guitar. Khadijah informs him, however, that Sherman has gone to Los Angeles. Reluctantly, Ali goes to the rancid and dark basement. Here, he discovers a secret portal that takes him to a magical cave.
Ali is awestruck by the beauty of the cave. Everything in the cave radiates in a deep yet vibrant blue color. Ali walks throughout the cave. He sits by a pool of water and begins to write. He discovers that, in the cave, his stories come to life. This inspires him to write and draw prolifically. The next morning, he awakens to the sound of his stepfather’s base guitar. Ali rushes to the basement and finds that Sherman has returned. Even worse, he has trashed the scripts and storyboards that Ali created in the cave.
Ali storms out of the house and sits on the front steps. He begins to create a new storyboard. As he draws a red beast like figure, a car pulls up. Inside of the car are Steel and the two men from the park. Steel aims and fires a gun at Ali. Ali runs away, taking cover on his front porch. Moments later, the car burns rubber as it speeds away. Fed up with the violence, Ali decides that it is time to take a stand and fight for his dream - by any means!