People often ask about the name Certifiable Media. Does it have some special meaning?
Why yes, it does.
Moving to Saskatoon from Los Angeles and starting a film business in the Canadian Prairies instead of continuing a 30 year career in high tech - who would do that? Seems a little, I don't know, crazy.
Saskatoon is Wonderful
I love Saskatoon. It's a beautiful city with wonderful qualities. The air is fresh and clean - a serious challenge for bigger cities. The landscape is beautiful, with sunny skies throughout the year (an average 2,381 hours of sunshine every year). The province is filled with lakes and amazing parks and views.
The prices of homes are very reasonable (compared with the bigger cities we've lived in like L.A., Seattle, and Toronto). The dream of home ownership is more achievable in Saskatoon. It is quite common for young families or adults in their 20s to purchase a home in Saskatoon and grow their own equity vs. spend their income on rent. In L.A., it was very rare for the younger adults I worked with to even consider home ownership. I have to imagine Toronto and Seattle are similar these days with skyrocketing real estate costs.
Just about any destination in Saskatoon is within a "two song commute" as our mayor Charlie Clark would say. My commutes in Toronto and L.A were 40-60 minutes each way, and I worked with people commuting 90-120 minutes each way so they could afford to live in areas with great schools. Spending that much time on the road is a huge family commitment, and public transit while helpful comes with trade-offs.
There's quality theater, music, comedy, sports, and cultural events - easily accessed with a quick drive and plenty of reasonably priced parking. In Toronto and L.A., travel time and planning where to park are crucial considerations when attending events. This convenience has a huge impact on how many cultural events we've enjoyed here. From racing to Spamalot to Husky football or An Evening with Michelle Obama -- there is always something thrilling to do in Saskatoon.
The restaurants here are surprisingly good, with many exciting foods to try - several influenced by greek and ukrainian cultures. For example, there is a perogy drive-thru here. Personally, I have fallen in love with the dry ribs from Kisavos - do not miss out on these. The deli and sausage selections in our grocery stores are the best I've seen of any place I've lived.
All of this plus tons of family right here in town has made moving to Saskatoon a wonderful choice for us.
It's a Dry Cold
I never understood this statement before moving to Saskatoon. Living in Toronto for the winter was usually a slushy wet mess. Wet gloves and boots plus cold = a miserable time. Sure Toronto is a bit warmer, but it is often grey and slushy in the winter.
Saskatoon winters bring different challenges. -30C degree weather, for a few days at least. Nights and days that alternate between freezing and thawing, creating one big ice rink, the size of a city. Tire ruts on snowy roads become permanent fixtures near impossible to turn from. My wife laughs at me for purposefully driving outside tire lanes in the snow to prevent tire ruts on our favorite roads.
Snow tire decisions plus storing your summer tires. Blowing out sprinkler systems. Winterizing a summer cottage. These are all issues we did not have to deal with living in Washington or California. Once, I turned on the outside water to fill up our hot tub, forgetting the sprinklers were open and flooding the street. The flood froze, creating addition icy chaos for our neighbours. I was quite popular.
At the same time, winter in Saskatoon brings a special beauty, and special events. Frozen lakes end up occupied by a variety of vehicles, sleds, and RVs hosting ice fishing. Crokicurl, invented in Winnipeg, appeared in Saskatoon this past winter. Snowball fights of epic proportions. Families visiting over coffee and hot chocolate around cozy fireplaces.
And when we're really lucky, between thawing rain and freezing weather, the trees look like gigantic snowflakes.
Moving to Saskatoon and starting a film business may sound crazy, but for us it's been the best decision.
In future posts I'll explain the types of film we plan to make, share tips, give project updates, and share information about industry events and films happening in the Canadian prairies.
If you want to follow along, visit Certifiable Media on Facebook.
Are you a fellow filmmaker in the prairies? Visit our Contact page and say hi! We're very interested in meeting talented people in the industry and collaborating on projects.