Brad Watanabe

Photo by Andrew Tran

Photo by Andrew Tran

Brad Watanabe encompasses the spirit of collaboration and working together.

The owner of Berad Studio, which specializes in video production and postproduction, has started Hawaii Shoots to strengthen the local visual arts industry.

“I noticed freelancers tend to seclude themselves,” says Watanabe, who worked as a freelancer after moving back home from L.A. in December 2006. “It’s the

idea that you have to keep the clients that are yours and not really share as much. I was trying to freelance around town, and (I realized) the video production community was fractured.”

The frustration Watanabe felt led him to start the Hawaii Shoots blog, which started as a look into what he was doing in the production industry and later grew into something much greater.

“It turned into these meet-ups and workshops where people who have been in the industry for years talked about what’s going on in the production industry,” Watanabe says.

The workshops have featured professionals coming in to teach workshops and tutorials, as well as students and those looking for employment or looking to learn more about the profession.

Watanabe has seen kids coming out of college who are looking for an internship get connected with possible employers, and crews looking for additional staff find the perfect fit at the meet-ups.

“It’s really just trying to get people who are experienced in the same realm in the same room with people with less experience,” he adds. “We want to try to increase the quality of the productions that are going on around town.”

Watanabe offers the example of Hawaii Five-0 shoots that take place around the Island, which make use of large production teams with people who specialize in specific areas.

“And then if you look at local shoots, it’s a fraction of that,” says Watanabe, who has worked with companies such as Hawaiian Airlines, Outrigger and Pearlridge Center. “On smaller shoots, we try to do too many things. I think when you try to do too many things adequately you only do a few things excellently, and you start to lose that specialty.”

He wants Hawaii Shoots to serve as a community-building arena where professionals can come together and talk story about their struggles, successes and everything in between.

This leads into another ambition Watanabe has on his mind: to increase the production quality of the work that’s coming out of Hawaii as a whole.

“I always want to highlight people in the industry on the blog and what they’re doing,” he explains.

For more information on Hawaii Shoots, visit or check out Watanabe’s portfolio at