Kings of the Craft is a documentary series that explores the booming craft beer industry in San Diego and the community behind it. With more than one hundred establishments in the county craft-beer tourism has taken off, positioning San Diego as the industry's beer Mecca.
NATAS PSW Emmy - Cinematography
NATAS PSW Emmy Nom. - Editing
NATAS PSW Emmy Nom. - Directing
Kickstarter Staff Pick - March 2015
KPBS Explore - Winner (2014)
Pitch & Funding
In late 2014 I got wind of KPBS Explore - a pitch competition where the winner would be provided funding to create original programming that would then air on KPBS. One major stipulation was that the idea be focussed on something local (KPBS is located in San Diego). At the time San Diego was seeing an unprecedented boom in craft breweries and so I and three friends pitched a show that would explore what was happening. We entered and were lucky enough to win against about 100 other candidates.
Image: Our first official meeting with KPBS
We then ran a Kickstarter campaign in March where we partnered with online vendors and local retailers to provide some unique rewards for our backers. We were successfully funded at the very last minute; a truly nail-biting experience but one that also further validated the project in our community and online - the campaign was chosen by Kickstarter as a Staff Pick that month.
Images: Kings of the Craft Kickstarter rewards - T-shirts and the bullet-bottle opener
We were short on time so while we were running the Kickstarter campaign we were also handling production. The funds we had on hand were used on a pair of cameras, RAIDs, and other necessities. In the span of a couple months our team interviewed nearly 20 people key to San Diego's craft brewing industry - backing up, syncing, and cutting selects along the way.
A number of other then recent grads and students from SDSU's film program stepped up to help us on location when necessary - three people on location just isn't enough a lot of the time.
Images: Crew meeting (Ben Moxley, Raeanne DuPont, Eduardo Castro Fonseca) and BTS stills with me, Ben, and Tyler Fairbank
Artwork & Web Presence
While I put together a logotype our associate producer had an idea for a logomark - California's emblematic bear but made of glass and filled with beer (the "Beer Bear" as we referred to it). Our friend and local artist Jorge Contreras took on the job of materializing the idea and a week later the show's logo was born.
Images: CA flag (inspiration for the "beer bear", logomark, logomark + logotype
With the crux of our visual identity locked Eduardo, our associate producer, took it upon himself to also manage the show's social media presence. I worked closely with him to produce several bits of content weekly. BTS images, clips from interviews, and beer-themed photos from family, friends and fans were all posted in the months leading up to the premiere as a part of our effort to build a following for the show.
I also put together a website for us. As most sites are, it was designed as a sort of hub for the show. Visitors had a place to subscribe and be notified about the premiere, explore published articles about our team and the project, find local craft-beer events, and download wallpapers produced from stills of the show and my own photography.
Images: The show's website, promo image
I was 24 when pre-production began for the show and as you can imagine it was my first time cutting this much material. The shear amount of it though didn't cross my mind as much as I'd have guessed and I think that's because I felt I had something to prove. We were given this incredible unique opportunity, I wasn't going to allow myself to be scared into a corner about the volume of work.
As with any project the key to everything was planning and organization. After a lot of reading and testing I put together standard procedures for offload and assembled a workflow that would carry us to delivery. All footage was duplicated upon offload to one of two 16TB RAIDs (both in software RAID-5), transcoded to ProRes, synced, imported, and organized in Final Cut. From here Ben and I would pull selects based off themes which would act as building blocks for each episode.
Image: Poor man's edit suite (my bedroom) with our producer Raeanne DuPont joining for notes.
While cutting I was also splitting my time with good friend and San Diego-based audio engineer, Sebastian Rizo. Sebastian and I slaved away in his studio for a couple weeks putting together original music for the show. By this point I had already created the show's theme/intro song on my own but the rest of the show needed music and there was absolutely no chance I could do it on my own. The two of us composed and recorded demos for over 30 tracks (filtered down to about 20) in the first week and began to flesh out the ideas in the second week.
As the edit started coming together I would bring snippets and rough cuts to the studio so that he could further refine the mood of the tracks to fit the content of the episodes. In an ideal situation I would've liked to have picture-lock then take my episode to Sebastian for music but we simply didn't have the time - filming, editing, and scoring were at times, happening concurrently.
There were puzzles to resolve at every turn and many zzz's lost but in the end everything thankfully worked out.
Image: The Kings of the Craft team minus Eduardo at the 2016 PSW Emmy reception (two nominations and a win!)
Community, in more than way, was so critical to our success. The craft brewing community was just incredible - they were so accommodating and so ready to invite us in, share their stories, and treat us like family. It made parts of our job frictionless and we're so thankful for that.
They were kind enough to allow us to set up shop at many of the local craft-beer festivals to help get the word out about the show and further network with the industry's movers and shakers. So many of these people would also invite us and give us a heads up to special events worth capturing on camera (tastings/pairings, meetings for women in brewing, rare beer exchanges, etc.).
Image: The full team at a premiere Party hosted by KPBS at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens at Liberty Station
And then of course both KPBS and the many friends, families, and supporters that helped us to raise enough money to produce the show via fundraising events and crowd-funding.
Our project could never have happened had hundreds of people not come together to support us. Such a humbling experience, something I'll never forget.
Video: Friends, family, & supporters at our Kickstarter launch party hosted by Blind Lady Ale House