You can tell from the interview below that Joel Maguet, Head of Studio at Maverick Media, is a huge fan of stories and moving people with them.
Joel has always been passionate about film and production, so when the time was right, choosing Film Production as his uni course was just the right thing to do. Having grown up with video games, entering the realm of video game marketing was the obvious choice for him – and there he is now, heading the studio at Maverick Media, working at the intersection between marketing and video games to create amazing stories for the industry.
Today we are Getting to Know an incredibly inspiring and motivated leader, with big dreams for better diversity, inclusion and balance in the industry's workforce.
Tell us a bit about your role! What is one typical day like?
There’s no real typical day at Maverick – I think that’s why working here is so exciting. We work with some famous clients like The Pokémon Company, Bandai Namco and EA, whose games are wildly different, so variety is a big part of the job no matter what your role.
As MD, my main responsibilities are the quality of the work we deliver, the commercial performance of the company, looking after our staff and planning for the future. I’m involved in most of these aspects on a daily basis but at the moment, planning for the future is the one I’m really focusing on. So myself and the team are regularly interviewing and hiring great people, planning how to develop our existing team and plotting the course for the expansion of our services.
What was the biggest challenge in getting to your current position?
I think the last six months have been the most challenging. We’ve had so much opportunity coming our way that scaling up and evolving to meet the demand has been a considerable task, but we’re doing it and I’m really proud of what we have achieved so far. We’ve tripled our workforce, opened offices in the US and Canada, as well as expanded our services to include things like campaign strategy and management.
What is your personal background and what role did it play in your career?
I grew up in East Yorkshire in fairly humble surroundings. My father was a doctor and my mother a teacher. Both of those jobs require such dedication and hard work, so I’m sure I learned my work ethic from them. I’m also a middle child so I think the brick-sized chip on my shoulder has definitely helped motivate me and helped push me forward.
I’ve always been passionate about film and video, ever since the weekly ritual of the Friday cinema trip started when I was 11 years old. So it was a no-brainer to choose Film Production as my university course and pursue a career in it. Video games were also a big part of my teenage years in particular, with a slew of originals leaving a lasting impression on me like Halo, Hitman, SimCity and Half-Life. So Maverick is the perfect place for both of those interests to be explored every day!
What’s your secret to remain inspired and motivated?
At the moment, it’s seeing the fantastic work the Maverick team produces once it’s finished. The thought, hard work and expertise that goes into what we do is really inspiring. We’re not just making fluff, we’re really proud of what we do and I think the reputation we’ve built over the last 26 years is a result of that.
Which individuals and/or agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Our sister companies in Keywords Studios do some great work – they used to be our rivals but now we call them family! The likes of gnet, Fire Without Smoke, The TrailerFarm, ICHI, Sunny Side Up and more. We all work in the same video game marketing space, so naturally there’s a lot of cross-over and interest in each other’s good work (and friendly rivalry).
Maverick’s previous CEO & Founder Will Jeffery is an individual who has had a huge influence on video game marketing over the last two and a half decades. Will is really where it all started - he’s never stopped pushing the level of quality and innovation in the work we have produced, and his contribution to people’s personal development and careers can’t be understated. He’s really left a lasting impression on me.
How has COVID-19 affected you?
It’s definitely changed the way we work. We’re a remote workforce now and we’ve had to adopt all sorts of software and platforms that allow us to collaborate and work together. We’ve also made sure to prioritise the wellness of our staff – physically and mentally. Looking at the silver lining, it’s given us a good kick into the future which has been really valuable.
What is your biggest hope for 2021?
I really hope the COVID-19 vaccination program allows the world to slowly return to normal. Of course, I include Maverick in that – nothing beats being the office when you’re a creative agency!
What is your one piece of advice to aspiring creative professionals?
Don’t slow yourself down to match other people’s pace or expectations of you. Find the meaning and reason for what you’re doing and then race ahead.
How do you recharge away from the office?
Like most others, at the moment the office is my home which makes it hard to recharge. I think we’re all struggling with the blurred lines that the lockdown has created, and it’s important we talk about it. In more normal times, I love watching films (at home or in the cinema), eating out, playing on my Oculus Rift and occasionally playing the guitar/singing.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I think I’d be in the film industry doing something similar – producing stories for people to enjoy.
What’s your one big dream for the future of the industry?
Maverick straddles two industries – marketing and video games. I think both could do more to inspire better diversity and balance in the workforce. And I don’t mean box-ticking corporate quotas which are designed to be self-serving and look good on a website. I mean genuine on-the-ground, socio-economic change that gives people from all walks of life with motivation and talent the opportunity to explore the creative industries. We need to see significant progress on that sooner rather than later.
Do you have any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
To be honest, most people reading this (some younger than me, maybe some older) will probably know the useful corners of the internet better than I do. Beyond that, I would recommend that anyone in our industry consumes voraciously across all mediums. The more experiences, information, stories and good work we are exposed to, the more mature and well-rounded creatives we become.