Saturday, September 14, 2013

Interview with John Richards - director of "Beer Hunter: The Movie"

John Richards is the writer and director of the Kickstarter-backed documentary "Beer Hunter: The Movie" chronicling the last years of Michael Jackson, the famed British beer historian. He was kind enough to grant me an extensive interview in which he told me about his experience in film, the logistics of making the movie and what the real Michael Jackson was like.

Be sure to check out "Beer Hunter: The Movie" online at:

Since it was such a long interview, I split it into five parts.

In part one I asked him these questions:
0:30 You're originally from Niskayuna?
0:57 Do you still have family here? How often (if ever) do you visit the Capital District?
1:22 Where did you go to college?
1:35 How did you get started in video production?
2:30 How did you get into craft beer and homebrewing?
4:11 What is the Rare Beer Club? How did the Rare Beer Club videos get started? Were they something available only to members online or were they sold through a catalog? Where did the funds come from at the time?
8:45 Are those videos available online anywhere?
9:32 At what point did you realize you had enough footage to make a documentary?

In part two I asked him these questions:
0:01 What was the shooting schedule like? How often did you either fly to meet Michael somewhere or travel along with him?
0:57 How was Michael's camera presence - a natural or did he require a lot of directing/coaxing?
1:32 How long did it take to compile and edit all the footage into the final cut?
2:08 When and how did the Kickstarter campaign happen?
3:36 There aren't a lot of documentaries about beer except maybe Beer Wars - did that movie influence your movie? What else influenced it?
6:02 Why was most of the movie shot in 4x3 instead of 16x9? What kind of cameras and equipment did you use?
7:43 Will it be ever be available on Amazon? Netflix?
9:25 Any plans for a BluRay/high def release?

In part three I asked him these questions:
0:01 Can you explain how the licensing works for screenings?
1:14 Have you done any presentations/Q&As with audiences?
2:39 When Michael made that video with Samuel Smith's, was that something meant for TV?
5:24 How did his show "The Beer Hunter" come to be made?
6:35 Will "The Beer Hunter" ever be release on DVD?
7:57 How did Michael enjoy doing the TV show?
8:50 Why don't the major TV and cable networks have any interest in making beer-centric shows?

In part four I asked him these questions:
0:01 Why did Michael always have big curly hair, and beard and brightly colored glasses and novelty ties?
1:08 Was the part where he gives the cab driver free beer the epitome of his character?
2:59 Did you have to get everyone that appeared in the move to sign a release?
3:39 How far did he get on his book "I'm not drunk"? Is there any way to see the unfinished work?
5:14 How was Michael able to drink all the beer he drank and still have all the energy to do all the events that he did?
7:18 He seemed to be a fan of American IPAs. Was he ahead of the trend?

In part five I asked him these questions:
0:01 Was Michael mocked for liking hoppy beers in England?
2:45 Was Michael excited about drinking in America?
3:12 Do you think he had a lot to do with the IPA becoming as big as it is?
4:15 What would he think about all the experimentation being done with beer today, especially in America?
5:47 Did ever do any actual brewing with breweries or homebrew?
7:14 Was there anything he disliked?
8:32 Did he have a conversion plan for the lager drinker?
9:22 He didn't try to argue taste as being objective?