Toronto duo launch new production company

Scott Houghton and Nikki Ormerod are leveraging their relationships to help open doors for young talent with Undivided.

Undivided_RosterUndivided’s talent roster, clockwise from top left: Jessica Wu, Joe Bulawan, Nikki Ormerod, Brianna Roye, Jimmi Francoeur, Minsoo Koh, Danielle Matar, Kobi Ntiri, Jason Gordon and Jeremy Stuart Thompson.

Toronto’s Scott Houghton and Nikki Ormerod are leveraging their experience and relationships to launch a new production company called Undivided.

The idea came about in discussions Houghton and Ormerod, who are married, had following Houghton’s resignation as head of Morrison Films and Studio Monroe in July last year.

Amid the disruption of the pandemic and growing political unrest in the United States and Canada, the couple seized an opportunity to effect the change they want to see in the production industry – namely, to provide greater opportunity to people who they felt deserved those chances, but were being overlooked.

“I felt the industry had missed a mark over the past six or seven years,” explains Houghton, pointing to initiatives such as Free the Bid, which he says “didn’t really take hold the way it should have.”

“We’d spent a lot of time talking about all of the things that needed to happen while we’ve been in isolation, and discussing what we would do if we had our own company,” says Ormerod. “Then we thought, ‘Well, why don’t we just do that?’ Right now is the perfect time.”

The company launches with a diverse roster of talent that spans platforms, including photographers Jason Gordon, Brianna Roye, Danielle Matar and Joe Bulawan, directors Minsoo Koh, Kobi Ntiri and Jessica Wu and director/photographers Jeremy Stuart Thompson, Jimmi Francoeur, and Ormerod.

According to Houghton, that diversity “wasn’t by any specific design.”

“We didn’t go forward thinking, ‘we’re going to have the most diverse roster in the city,’” he says. “These are all artists who we respected and wanted to work with.”

HoughtonOrmerodMany members of the roster have ties to the couple, be they former students of Ormerod’s or acquaintances they’ve made in their time working in the industry. While each member of the roster excels at what they do, according to Ormerod, they just haven’t had the opportunities that they deserve or desire – and that is where she hopes Undivided will help.

“We want to put the people in front of who they need to be in front of,” she says. “Then they can put their money where their mouths are.”

Houghton, who has worked for 22 years in the industry, says the company will provide those opportunities by leveraging relationships he and Ormerod have built over their careers, and he’s confident that every member of the roster will deliver for prospective clients.

“For clients and agencies, it’s a leap of faith. They’re putting their trust in myself and Nikki because of our relationships with them,” he notes. “But we’re not asking people to just give us a job, we’re asking them to let us pitch and blow them away.”