We have a kinship with those who let passion for their work guide their lives. The Spotlight Series is a collection of personal vignettes that feature craftsmen, artists, and entrepreneurs. Each is a peak behind the scenes and into what it means to do what you love. Making a living through craft isn't all glory. It's grit, resolve, fear, and a unique satisfaction.

This series is a passion project for all of us at Once. Our entire team gets involved to each piece, each with unique challenges. It reminds us why we got into filmmaking in the first place.



Jeremy Allen Stanton has never been one to shy away from hard work. With his Barrel Beard & Tattoo oil, bold scents are born out of meticulous care and his passion for helping others. Each drop made by hand, Jeremy pours his heart and soul into every bottle.


Through the use of colors and symbols adopted from old Americana and places all over the world, Alicia LaChance manipulates paints and textures to create works of beauty. Her passion is electric, and her contemporary paintings give a glimpse into what it means to be human.


For watchmaker Semyon Ilyashov, the more complicated the watch, the greater the challenge. Hard work and a passion for learning all there is to know about watches has lead Semyon to become a master of his craft. In a day and age where true watchmakers are few and far between, we were honored and inspired to have spent time with him behind the counter. 


Using recycled materials whenever possible, local welder and entrepreneur Ellie Shepley handcrafts art and custom-made pieces out of metal for both residential and commercial clients. Located in South City in St. Louis, MO, she is truly an artist dedicated to her passion. 


St. Louis furniture builder Jermain Todd crafts beautiful industrial pieces in his studio at a converted brewery space. 


St. Louis stone carver Abraham Mohler does amazing work in his Soulard studio. Chips fly and dust hangs in the air as chunks of rock are brought to life. 


After years of studying a range of tattoo styles, Sean Baltzell opened up his own shop and has been inking classic images at Tower Tattoo. His shop is a menagerie of taxidermy and nostalgic designs and his clients are walking canvases. Sean loves what he does, and it's intoxicating. A lot of people come back for more tattoos; we can't help but return with our cameras.


Tucked behind a local coffee shop, Mike restores and builds vintage Harley Davidson choppers. One of the friendliest and most straightforward guys you'll ever meet, Mike is honest. He will tell you he's not trying to make art, he's just trying to keep these machines going as long as possible.


Come ride along with St. Louis local Phil Jarvis in the second film in our Spotlight Series. Sure he is a classically trained painter, but he is in high demand doing hand-lettered sign work for businesses that want that one-off artisan look and feel. Cafes, tattoo shops, tailors, the list is long. Fascinating to watch, Phil is one interesting dude! 


If the Spotlight Series is a celebration of St. Louis small businesses that exude authentic character and a passion for their craft, no one exemplified that more than Bob and the Carondelet Bakery. He had been baking bread in St. Louis for over 47 years, starting when he was only 13 years-old. Bob passed away in 2016, and we're grateful for the time he and his family gave us.