A freshly-graduated Collingwood resident has pushed his way into entrepreneurship to create employment for himself and a friend.
Upon graduating from university, Mac Thomson and Benjamin Hargreaves faced a job shortage caused by COVID-19-related hiring freezes, which accelerated their plans to one day start their own production company.
"One day" became "right now" and the two friends turned their plotting into a production company called NO SALT Productions.
“We had been talking about it for a while, combining our previous work and skills to make a company that can provide more technical and storytelling skills, using everything we learned both in university and in our own experiences,” said Thomson. “We were both out of jobs at the time, so we decided to make our own jobs.”
Thomson, a Collingwood resident, met Hargreaves, from Peterborough, on his first day of first year while attending Ryerson University for media production. Hargreaves was studying journalism and both fell in love with production techniques and the concept of visual storytelling.
Their company name was inspired by the saltless shores of its co-founders' hometowns. Thomson grew up in Collingwood, by the not-so-salty waters of Georgian Bay, while Hargreaves lives in Peterborough, home of the freshwater river, the Otonabee.
“No Salt is an ode to the freshwater lakes and rivers and the people who live by them,” said Thomson.
Thomson and Hargreaves started filming content last fall, and launched NO SALT on social media at the end of January.
Operations are currently split between Collingwood and Peterborough.
“We collaborate on anything that we need more help with, but right now that’s limited to throwing ideas around and getting each other’s input,” said Thomson.
“In an ideal world, we would have no barriers to our work,” added Hargreaves. “Mac and I would be able to move freely between Collingwood and Peterborough to explore the areas in between us and build our clientele, together.”
While Thomson’s passion lies in marketing and creating commercial content, Hargreaves leans toward documentary filmmaking and visual storytelling. So far, NO SALT has produced two documentaries — one of which has already made it into several film festivals.
“Nothing really compares to meeting people and helping script and share their story,” said Hargreaves. “Those are the things that always stick with me when I have finished a production, and the things I look forward to most when I am starting a new production.”
Their goal is to grow NO SALT in both directions.
“Taking a route where we can explore both of those sides within this company is sort of a dream, and something we have already started taking on,” said Thomson.
Both Thomson and Hargreaves agreed that any advice they have received about not starting a business with a best friend is a myth.
“If you already have that connection it really works well and it has helped us strive and do a lot of really great things together,” said Thomson.
“We just mesh so well,” added Hargreaves. “We have the same sense of humour and personality and are just easy going. So we just get by difficult moments together and have some fun along the way.”
Locally, NO SALT has produced videos for Hello Pottery Co., Gibson and Company, and an epic snowshoe adventure for Duntroon Highlands, among others.
The pair has also produced awareness building videos for non-profits, such as the Georgian Triangle Humane Society the Lake Ontario Salmon Restoration Program.
“A lot of people don't want to spend money on marketing right now, but I think businesses should be doubling down. People have been locked up, scrolling social media and looking for local businesses to support,” said Thomson. “So if you can produce content that is shareable, likeable and memorable, I think there is potential for your business, even during a pandemic.”For more information on No Salt Productions or their services, visit their website or Instagram.