Crafthaus’ Jeff Boulton hopes to reinvent Hamilton through makers and creators web series

Re:Make Hamilton, a series of 10-15 minute documentary videos focused on Hamilton’s makers and creators, is Jeff Boulton’s ‘love-letter’ to the city that reignited his spark.

remake hamilton

The 42-year-old media producer, writer and director hit a career low two years ago. He was burned out by the way media production companies operated in Toronto.

“They turned creative talent into commodities,” Boulton explained to Hamilton Media Guild. “You can’t do that.”

So Boulton took the advice of his partner, Tammi Orescanin, and came to Hamilton to reconnect with his passion.

Boulton launched Crafthaus, a media production company.

The “media-junkie” canvassed through Hamilton for a year to figure out how he could fit in and what he could do that was different.

“I got to know everyone in Hamilton’s media industry and I didn’t want to compete against them and take their jobs away,” said the York University graduate of the Film and Television program.

Crafthaus is a re-launch of a brand that now focuses on telling engaging stories about Hamilton with emphasis on the storyteller.

“I am not changing the industry but changing how we behave as a company,” Boulton said.

He says the company’s core philosophy is its belief in people.

The production company focuses on the talent of its creative team and tells stories that matter to them.

Re:Make Hamilton is rooted in Boulton’s belief in a strong local economy. According to Craftthaus, there are more than 12,000 makers and creators in Hamilton with a  $63 million yearly economic impact.

Boulton’s goal is to be a local company supporting other local companies. He aims to release 52 videos in a year once he secures funding.

Re:Make Hamilton consists of 10 documentaries with one released on April 14 that profiled local mural painter, Lester Coloma. The Philippine-born artist grew up in poverty and is well known for his Rabbit and Turtle mural on James Street North.

Other maker and creator documentaries to be released include, Christopher Reid Flock (ceramist), Scott Martin (sign writer and glass embosser), Mark Korczynski (artist blacksmith), Jacqui Oakley (illustrator and fine artist), Jamie Lawson (graphic designer and fine artist), Jason Hofing (craft coffee roaster), Josie Rudderham and Nicole Miller (craft bakers and cake decorators), and Mary Simon (singer-songwriter).

Boulton’s tips to emerging media professionals


(Photo by: Sherry Mousavi/Hamilton Media Guild)

  1. Don’t be afraid to fake it until you become it.

Don’t lie to people but be fearless enough to admit to yourself when you don’t know something and learn how to acquire those skills. Be open to learning; be open to continually educating yourself, especially in an industry where technology rules and distribution opportunities are always changing. Stay on top of it.

  1. If you are being hired for a job that you want and you don’t feel you are right for that job then convince yourself that you are right for that job.

First convince yourself then do the things you need to do to make yourself right for that job. It’s important that you are willing to do the work.

  1. Don’t be afraid to work on yourself. You can be almost anything you want to be.

If you can project that sense of ‘I can be anything I want to be’ then you will convince people that you can be what they need you to be.

Before Hamilton

Boulton has more than 20 years of media experience that began with five years at CBC Toronto as the resource coordinator for the training department. It was his “eagerness” to learn that landed him the job while he was still pursuing his post-secondary education at York University.

Boulton has been executive producer on more than 300 productions since starting his own company in 1998, including music videos for the Lowest of the Low, Juno-winner Sonia Collymore, Brass Tacks and the Cash Brothers; commercials for Sleep Country Canada, Mattress Discounters, AutoSavers’s ArcFlex Wiper Blades, the BarMATE and ListenUP!; and the dance shorts Sun Moon WavesSpriteEthereal Suits and Urban Soles for Bravo!FACT.

In 1998, Boulton began developing interactive media strategies for companies in the entertainment field. He consulted for companies like Sullivan Entertainment, Red Apple Entertainment, Back Alley Films, Glory Productions and Wordshop Productions. His creative and production teams were responsible for the Gemini-nominated website forAnne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story, as well as the Wind At My Back website and interactive online game.

From 2001 until the end of 2007, Boulton specialized in producing music videos and commercials for DMG. He guided a roster of directors, editors and visual effects artists in developing the creative treatment and visual approach to his clients’ media needs. They created branded visuals that were leveraged across media platforms from television to the Internet to mobile content.

In September 2004, Global Television began airing Unzipped, a magazine-style sex and romance show. Unzipped was Boulton’s first television series, and he led the team as producer and head writer. The next year, he began shooting the six-part documentary,Naked Circus, which follows 24 competitors in an exotic dance competition.

What now?

Boulton hopes to host a Re:Make conference. He is also looking for a commercial property where he can live and work.

Sherry Mousavi

Sherry Mousavi is a business and media professional who lives, works and plays in the city of Hamilton. The McMaster Commerce graduate has been a professional writer for Torstar, a financial analyst at Hamilton Health Sciences and spearheaded the launch of a real estate brokerage. Sherry is very involved in the community as the co-founder and chair of Hamilton Media Guild, board member of Hamilton HIVE, member of YEP, committee member of Hamilton Media Advisory Council, correspondent on a new arts and entertainment show for Cable 14, as well as a volunteer for the Art Gallery of Hamilton and Empowerment Squared.

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