SpaceJunk Media Moves Creative HQ Downtown
If you drive into Downtown via Third Street on a regular basis, then you may have recently noticed a bright yellow sign reading “SJ” that has appeared on the side of an newly renovated office building at the corner of Third and Hickory. If you haven’t already figured out the mystery, “SJ” is short for SpaceJunk Media, a creative video and online firm that recently relocated their expanded headquarters into Downtown Columbus. We recently visited their new offices to get a better idea of what they’re all about, and why they choose Downtown as their new home.
Walker Evans: Can you tell us a bit about how Spacejunk got started?
Mike Blosel: I’ve had a video production business since 1992, on a much smaller scale. I was more like a freelancer really, for many years. We launched under the Spacejunk Media name in 2002.
Back in Clintonville, we were still a pretty small shop: 2-3 full timers plus freelancers here and there.
Robb was freelancing with me while working at larger companies in town. The hard part at the beginning was getting ourselves out there, and finding loyal, repeat customers.
In 2004 Robb joined as a partner, bringing a lot of experience and industry contacts to our company. Eventually our reputation grew and we’ve been growing quickly and consistently ever since.
Robb Dierken: Originally our idea for Spacejunk Media was to be primarily a video and web shop. Our focus shifted from web quickly after I began using AfterEffects and learned about motion graphics. And it was a perfect fit for Mike’s talents as a video editor.
Most of the projects we were working on initially were longer format training videos, Mike would shoot and edit and I would create an intro, lower thirds and supporting graphics. That’s how we started.
Over the last 4 years we have grown from 3 people to twelve and relocated our headquarters to Downtown Columbus. The types of projects we work on range from broadcast commercials, corporate training videos, branding videos, tradeshow attract loops, web video, and DVD production.
WE: Well, I have to ask this too… where did the name come from?
RD: I heard the word “Spacejunk” in a U2 song called “Mofo” back in 1997 and liked how cool and ambiguous it sounded. I think I purchased the url that same year not knowing exactly what it would become.
WE: What was your impetus for relocating Downtown?
RD: We needed more space! We had a 20′ x 15′ room that was being used for 2 offices, a conference room and a lunchroom! Not to mention, we also had 9 guys and 2 women sharing one bathroom. But we’re very excited about our new digs; I think our new studio reflects who we are and our quality of work.
MB: We also wanted to be centrally located and felt strongly about supporting the downtown community. The building we ended up in had the character and feel that we were looking for, lots of open space, natural light, original wood floors, and exposed brick.
Robb did an amazing job working with the architects to get everything just the way we wanted it. Not to mention it’s about 3 times the size of our old place. We were starting to get claustrophobic!
WE: What types of clients do you primarily work with?
MB: We’ve established relationships with many ad agencies, both locally and nationally, and they know they’ll always get great results working with us and we’re able to execute their ideas and collaborate with them artistically. But we love it when we are given creative freedom as well.
WE: There’s a growing push from City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and other civic institutions for new small tech/creative firms to start up in Columbus. Are there any types of incentives that could make Downtown more attractive to firms like SpaceJunk?
RD: Free parking and less meter men!
But seriously, the more people that invest in downtown, the better it becomes for everyone. Gay St. has a real buzz about it now, a real energy. Things like the Pearl Market are great for downtown residents and workers.
Everything tends to feed off of everything else. All the new downtown housing has made it more practical for restaurants, markets, and shops to open up in this area, and those places in turn make downtown a better place to work as well.
The vibrancy and energy that those initiatives bring to the city core make downtown more attractive to any business, not just creative or tech companies.
WE: When we spoke a few days ago, you mentioned that SpaceJunk has been able to dodge some of the economic impacts of the national recession by focusing more efforts on growing/developing areas such as online content instead of the more traditional tv/video work. Can you talk a bit about that, how this type of media is changing, and what you might even see as being your next step?
Kelly Sells: Spacejunk’s focus with our clients is to always encourage them to think globally about the investment they’re making. They see the value of positioning their clients’ message over a variety of media, and Spacejunk’s understanding of those media & formats, I think, is a real value to them.
There are just so many more avenues to get your brand or your message across now than just the old way of print or broadcast.
With the ubiquity of flash, it’s easier to produce video content for the web, since you’re not as concerned about end users having the proper plug-ins or codecs to view movies. So a lot of our clients are finding that if they can drive their customers, or potential customers, to their websites, they have the ability to create a really unique video experience.
And it’s freed from the constraints of the broadcast world. Your video doesn’t have to be 15, 30, or 60 seconds. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get it out to a mass audience, and it can be leveraged perpetually.
We probably do more video work for the web now, than we do broadcast. And that is something that I think our industry will be seeing more and more of. And as the web becomes more and more mobile, more interactive and responsive, I think those opportunities will only grow wider.
I think our understanding of that relatively new avenue for brand experiences, at least in regards to video, puts us in a good position.
WE: If there are any specific “dream” clients, companies, or products that you could jump into collaborating with/on or working with, who or what would it be?
KS: Our guys would tell you anything with robots, Rambo or explosions. Across the board, a dream job would be a feature film title sequence.
Honestly, and at the risk of sounding corny, our clients are incredibly loyal, provide great referrals and genuinely “get” what we do. I think any of them would tell you Spacejunk genuinely feels like home. Most important, they like the fact they can pick up the phone and talk with any one on their team, including Robb or Mike, and get the same result.
Spacejunk Media is Robb Dierken, Mike Blosel, David Ball, Kelly Sells, Chris Hutton, Mike Beaumont, Chris Schoenman, Nick Couts, Dan Wineland, Wendi Malick, DJ Cosgrove and Chris Guyot. More information can be found online at SpaceJunkMedia.com.