Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Professional Studies and Fine Arts

Communication Alumnus Produces Blackjack Documentary

Josh Merrin moved to Las Vegas with a passion for poker and was dealt a new deck

Communication Alumnus Produces Blackjack Documentary

by Sofia Bert

July 25, 2019

You wouldn’t expect a communication major to go into documentary film production, but for Josh Merrin (Comm ‘01) it happened organically.

After working as a VP of Business Development at a digital advertising company in Los Angeles, Merrin moved to Las Vegas with a passion for poker and began competing in tournaments. Playing at Bellagio, he became friends with KC, who happened to be a professional blackjack player.

Merrin invited KC to the premiere of the Sony Pictures movie, 21. That evening, KC shared his vision for a blackjack documentary which piqued Merrin’s interest.

Merrin became the producer for the documentary Inside the Edge: A Professional Blackjack Adventure. The production continued over several years with more than 900 hours of footage. Merrin took on additional roles such as filming, editing educational scenes, working closely with the motion graphics team, and providing music by The 88 for the soundtrack.

“I had no prior film experience but I used my business development experience to help me reach out to the right people,” said Merrin.

The documentary takes an unprecedented glimpse into the world of elite blackjack players and follows the life of KC, who tours the country from casino to casino while changing his disguises to remain anonymous and evade casino surveillance.

Merrin said that he used some of the knowledge he learned in his communication and advertising classes to help him in the role of documentary producer. One class in particular, he said, had him create a product and an entire marketing campaign around that product. Merrin said that the experience helped him a lot when thinking of ways to market the documentary.

Inside The Edge: A Professional Blackjack Adventure is available on Blu-ray and DVD, and VOD through most cable and satellite providers, iTunes and Amazon Prime Video.

Reflecting on his years at SDSU, Merrin said that he learned a lot, made great friends and really cherishes the time and memories.

Merrin recently became an Aztec for Life and is excited to reconnect with the SDSU community and give back to the university.

Merrin is also a realtor but continues to work in the entertainment industry with upcoming projects including a cooking and travel show, produced with his brother Adam Merrin, co-author of the popular blog and new cookbook, Husbands That Cook. Merrin is also looking into a relaunch of the classic game show,Sports Challenge, created in the 1970s by his grandfather.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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