An Interview with Screenbreak
Joe Allen is one of newest residents at our Cotton Court studios. Joe is the founder of Screenbreak, a motion graphics design and animation studio with over 15 years experience working in the motion design and broadcast industry. We had a chat about his business and any advice he has to offer to those interested in the field.
Tell us a bit about yourself and about Screenbreak.
My name is Joe Allen and I’m the founder and CEO of Screenbreak Motion Graphic Design and Animation. We specialise in producing dynamic motion graphics and animation for online, business and broadcast. Having 18 years experience working as creative motion designer in broadcast television we pride ourselves in producing broadcast standard work. I’m originally from Armagh City but have been living in Belfast on and off since I was 18. I have recently returned home to Belfast after 5 years in London working as a Senior Motion Designer for major broadcasters such as the BBC, ITN, SKY, ITV, CNN, Reuters to name a few. One of those years was setting up from scratch the graphics department for Russia Today in London, that’s another story! My time in London was amazing experience and have given me the skills and experience working at an international standard that I wouldn’t have been able to gain here in NI. Before London I was a Motion Designer for BBC Northern Ireland for 12 years, this again was another valuable experience designing 2D and 3D motion graphics for a wide range of work for BBC News to BBC Sport and everything in between.
What have been some challenges and highlights for you?
My biggest challenge to date has been setting up my new company Screenbreak. When I returned from London last August I had to start from scratch in terms of networking and finding new clients. I enjoy a good challenge and thankfully the hard work, sweat and sleepless nights have paid dividends as Screenbreak now has secured major clients based mainly in London and Dublin but also as far away New York, Chicago, Estonia and South Africa.
Do you have any advice for those interested in the industry?
Hmmm… I don’t think there is any ‘right’ way of getting there but I would recommend getting your degree and if you can go travelling before jumping into employment. It is a cliche, but travel really does broaden your mind and you never know what opportunities you find on your adventure. In terms of actual career, I would say specialise in area you have a passion for and pivot. The motion design industry and studios are craving specialists whether it be 2D, 3D, compositing, texturing, rigging or whatever and become a master in your area. The world really is your oyster. Working in a major city like London will also challenge you at higher level and give you a more variety of work which will be great for your portfolio and CV. If a wee fella like me from Armagh can do it anyone can!
Do you have any projects you’re currently working on that you’d like to share?
We are working on a few projects right now. I would love to share the current project i’m working for, but I’m curently under an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) I can tell you it is for an ‘international’ client which is the largest company in its field globally. It’s a really exciting project which could run and run. Hopefully someday I will be able to share it.