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March 1, 2016

Q&A: Justin Bowen, Halfbrick’s Media Director

Hello and welcome to another Halfbrick Q&A! Today we’re speaking with Halfbrick’s coffee-loving, light-eschewing, and TV-obsessed media director, Justin “Biebs” Bowen.

From baker’s assistant, to factory worker, to his current position at one of the world’s leading gaming studios, Justin has come a long way indeed. But it didn’t happen overnight.

Let’s ask him a few questions and see what makes our friend tick!

1. Hi, Biebs! Wait a minute, why are you called Biebs?

My first name is Justin, and my last name begins with the letter B. I would probably stop now, but you guys won’t fully understand why people call me Biebs. So, here goes!

Being the smart and creative bunch that we are here at Halfbrick, the obvious nickname that people chose for me when I first got to Halfbrick was Bieber.

However, at Halfbrick, if we decide that we don’t like the nickname that was given to us, we are allowed to veto it. The only problem is that we get just one veto. I vetoed the nickname Bieber, but I was unable to stop the same smart and creative bunch from proposing Biebs.

Over time, I have just learned to accept it. People even introduce me to visitors and partners as Biebs now! On the few rare and random occurrences that I hear my real name inside of Halfbrick, it… feels strange.

2. What do you do at Halfbrick?

I do anything and everything that revolves around video at Halfbrick, from concept to completion!

Apart from filming and editing, I also take on the role of a compositor, artist, motion graphic designer, VFX artist, and animator. I also do a lot of sound design for projects before handing it over to our audio team for them to work their magic.

As Halfbrick is a YouTube partner, I help to manage our YouTube channels by uploading official videos and setting up all the relevant items.

I also work with partners and people outside of Halfbrick to give feedback and approve videos that use our brands and characters.

More importantly, I also make a lot of lame jokes and drink a lot of coffee.

3. Tell us about how you landed your position as Media Director at Halfbrick!

I studied animation at Griffith University with minors in scriptwriting and post production. I landed this job at Halfbrick by working hard and creating a great portfolio and reel. It also helped that a lecturer of mine gave Halfbrick my name when he turned down the position, which at the time was just “Video Editor.”

I am also quite passionate about my work and games in general, and I believe that was noticeable when meeting the people here at Halfbrick for the first time.

4. Where did you work before Halfbrick?

I had quite a few jobs before working at Halfbrick!I worked as a baker’s assistant before and during my studies. I also worked in a factory for a few years where I reconditioned oil drums and grease bins. Fun stuff! I think working in those jobs helped me appreciate why I was studying. It also gave me more drive and to become more passionate about what I wanted to do!

5. Best moment of your career so far?

Being the subject of a developer interview for the Halfbrick Blog.Nah, probably getting some of the videos I created broadcasted at Times Square on the Jumbotron.

Talking to and interacting with our fans in-person at conventions like PAX Prime and PAX Aus comes next!

6. What projects have you been involved with at Halfbrick, and which are your favourites?

I think my favourite project while working at Halfbrick would be creating the Colossatron Debut Trailer. That whole project was fun, from working with the game team, to the concept artists Bob and Rod, to the audio lead, Cedar. Everyone enjoyed the project from day one, and I think we were all super proud of it. Also, probably any video or animation for Jetpack Joyride that I have created!

7. What is your favourite game of all time, and why?

Bloodborne, because it is the best game of all time.

8. Have you always known that you would end up working for a games company?

I always thought that I would be working in or running a small animation studio or post-production house; or maybe even still working in the factory and working on my animations and projects outside of work hours.

9. What programs do you use when animating trailers?

I use the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. After Effects, Premiere, Flash and Photoshop are the programs I use most. I also use Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Maya to work with 3D models and to animate.

10. What sort of gear do you use for dev diaries or live-action trailers?

I use a range of video equipment but mostly a video camera or a DSLR, lighting kits, and either a shotgun mic or a lapel mic.

11. Where do you source your inspiration?

I watch a lot of game trailers and games-related media. Who’d have thought? I also watch a lot of YouTube, TV shows, movies, and play a lot of games. I think a lot of inspiration comes from all of these things. I check out what people seem to be responding positively to and what people don’t like, and work with these things in mind.

12. What is your favourite film/TV series of all time?

This is a hard question to answer as I enjoy a lot of movies and TV shows. I am a bit of a TV addict, as you can probably tell by the tattoo of a TV on my left calf. If you can name a popular TV show, I’ve probably seen it.

13. What does it feel like knowing that the stuff you make has been seen by millions of people all over the world?

It is pretty rad!

14. What would you say is the coolest thing about your job?

Probably the fact that we work next to a pub now! (Just kidding.)I guess the people here at Halfbrick and getting paid to do things I love is pretty cool too!

15. Do you have any advice for people attempting to follow in your footsteps?

Hurry up, I want more people on my team! But in all seriousness, just keep working on your craft. Be your own critic and continually push to improve on your previous work, even if it is not for work or study. It is always good to have personal work in your demo reels and portfolio. It shows that you have the passion for your craft, and the drive to create.

16. What is your favourite mobile game right now?

I feel like I have the responsibility to say “Halfbrick’s new, secret project” but I’ll go with Into the Dim by Happymagenta!

17. Final question: are you a Belieber?

[redacted] no.

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