1. Start a family
My wife and I had planned on starting a family in 2014 but the harsh reality of our personal and financial circumstances made it very clear that bringing a child into our world at that particular time would be unfair to the baby and therefore we put these plans on hold. As things are starting to look up for us in 2015, we will once again attempt to add a new (and un-fluffy) member to our household.
2. Go back to being a vegan
Somebody call the vegan police, I fell off the wagon in 2014! This is rather ironic considering one of the reasons why I moved to Toronto was because it was supposed to be easier to be a vegan given the vegan-friendly nature of the city. But for reasons that I still cannot fathom, I went back to consuming dairy and the odd meat dish. Perhaps it was no coincidence that when I went back to consuming food produced by a cruel industry, my energy levels and psychological makeup dropped to suicidal levels. In 2015, I plan on getting back on the wagon and really disciplining myself in this regard.
3. See a psychologist
On the subject of psychology, 2015 will be the year that I finally decide to seek some psychological help. In 2014, I made numerous references to the fact that I was suicidal only to receive “support” in the form of “likes.” Personally if a friend made numerous references to the fact that he was thinking of taking his life, I’d actually make the effort of contacting that person and talking to him. Evidently this is a practice that doesn’t seem to exist in the age of Facebook and so I find myself in a situation where if I am going to be of any use to my wife as a partner, to any future children I may have as a father and especially to myself as a human being worthy of love and consideration, I will have to do something I’ve been quite reticent to do and seek some help.
4. Find a job in my field
I was very fortunate that my first real job in Toronto was in my field, albeit peripherally. I was employed as a copywriter and photographer. Unfortunately it was for a company living out their own version of As the World Turns and in the process of getting caught up in their soap opera, I found myself unemployed and forced to take a job at a company that is the equivalent of Florida. In other words, it’s a place people go to when they’ve lost the will to live and simply want to die as quickly as possible. In 2015, I plan on dedicating myself to finding something in my field – particularly that of writing as I find myself rediscovering the joys of sitting down and letting my thoughts flow out on paper, or to be more “21st century” digitally on a laptop.
5. Write my first feature-length screenplay and my first book
I keep referring to myself as a writer and filmmaker and yet in 2014, I produced nothing to back such a proclamation up. 2015 I plan on rectifying that by not only writing my first feature-length screenplay but my first book to boot! Anyone who knows me, knows that I’ve been talking about writing and directing a film based on one of my favorite true crime stories. We’re talking about 8 years now. Before this turns into another Chinese Democracy, I plan to finally sit down and write this thing out. I suppose the reason why I’ve been so hesitant to do so is that I hate investing myself in a project where there’s no foreseeable “payoff.” By “payoff,” I’m referring to a green light as far as if I’m done writing by such and such a date, we will then be jumping into production not too long after. While I don’t have any prospects at the moment in actually getting this screenplay into any immediate production, perhaps it’s time I abandon a philosophy that’s been holding me back and start embracing one where I write for the sake of writing itself. The act can be very therapeutic and given the approach I plan on taking with this material, will likely be very cathartic as well. In regards to my book, this I can be a little more open on the subject. I’ve always wanted to teach a course that I would call The Philosophy of Filmmaking. It’s not so much that a would-be filmmaker understand the “hows” of making a film, but rather the “why” we do it. Having made films for 10 years now, I don’t delude myself into thinking I’m a “master filmmaker,” but I do think I’ve learned a thing or two and as such, I think I’d like to put down in words my own philosophies of writing, directing, acting and directing actors, editing, the promotion of one’s film once post-production is done, etc. This book, may even be somewhat autobiographical in that I may write about my own experiences becoming a filmmaker and making the films I’ve made. Given how easy it is to self-publish a book, there’s really no excuse for me not to.
6. Meet people in the Toronto film scene and build a network
Setting in a new city took a lot longer than I anticipated and as such, I didn’t really have any time to pursue building a new network for myself in the Toronto indie film scene. Now that I have established a base for myself financially, I can finally move on to introducing myself to the Toronto scene and hopefully meet new people who I can build a network around and start working on projects together. I’ve debated what would be the best way to do this. Should I book a cinema and hold a retrospective for myself where I screen my films so they can meet Matthew Saliba the filmmaker? Perhaps. But that could be a little costly, if not self-indulgent. Then I thought one of the best ways I can integrate myself in the Toronto filmmaking community would be the way I did it back in Montreal – acting! In my 10 years making movies, I found that the best way to meet potential casts and crews for your own projects was through acting in indie films and plays. You gain greater insight into how actors work and you see firsthand who are the ones that are genuinely enthusiastic about the process and who are the egos you want to avoid. In 2015, I plan on starting to audition for films and plays and hopefully meet new people who I can begin a longstanding professional relationship with.
7. Finish reading The Wheel of Time
Okay, my final resolution is rather less significant and a tad anticlimactic in relation to the previous six, but it’s still a mountain I intend to climb in 2015. I’ve given Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy saga which clocks in at 14 books (15 if you include New Spring, the prequel) multiple chances over the years but usually around Book #5 (The Fires of Heaven) is where my interest starts to drop. The furthest I’ve ever gotten was Book #7 (A Crown of Swords). I’m currently 3/4 of the way through The Fires of Heaven, and I intend on sticking it out until the bitter end. At its best, it is a masterpiece of fantasy literature that for my money, eclipses The Lord of the Rings. At its worst, it’s first-year creative writing student bad with its endless padding, inclusion of uninteresting side-characters and plots and misogynistic portrayal of female characters. Either way, I dropped more than a pretty penny buying the entire run of books and I intend on getting my money’s worth.