Dean Blake wants to create. As a teen, he taught himself how to play guitar and as an adult, he enjoys exploring the world of video-game construction. His girlfriend inspires him to experiment with cooking.
After working jobs he hated, and travelling the world with his girlfriend, he applied to the University of Wollongong for a Bachelor of Journalism. Now he’s finding, between study and commuting to the University from Kirrawee three days a week, there is little time to indulge in his creative hobbies. “[Attending University] has really eaten in to my ability to do anything else,” says Dean.
In high school, he “fell into playing guitar”. His parents told him they would not buy him a guitar unless he could show that he could learn. The same rule was given to his older brothers but, Dean says, “I was the only one who put the effort in”. His friends played instruments and he worked really hard at picking up the basics. As a result, his parents bought him a guitar. He practiced regularly and became very good. He also picked up piano along the way, and familiarised himself with drums. He started out playing metal, which proved to be quite difficult, so he moved to rock and blues. Along the way, he has even learned a few music writing tricks from his brother, who is a DJ.
He was never too concerned with being in a band, claiming “I write music for myself…and send it to friends,” and adds “I probably would have been in a band if anyone had asked me”.
A few years after getting involved with music, he discovered a passion for video-gaming. “I’ve always played video games,” Dean says, “I have older brothers who played and I used to play with them”. Being at university, however, has changed his gaming habits. Where once he would have spent $100+ on a game and just as many hours, if not more, playing it, now he prefers to play games such as Arkham Asylum, where, he says, “you can spend as much time as you want on them or getting through them really quickly.” He adds “I’m really starting to like shorter games…it’s a time management thing”.
Whilst Blake envisions his future in video game journalism, food journalism, or nature documentaries such as those by David Attenborough, he admits that “in an ideal world, I think I could [create video games] as a job”. Blake also points out that Australia’s video gaming industry is not as strong as those overseas and that pursuing a job in that field would most likely mean living abroad. He says, however that he is “happy treating [game productions] as a side project, like my music”.
He is uncertain where his journalism degree will take him but he has plenty of time to think about it on the two hour train commute he undertakes, three days a week. One thing is also very certain: he has a strong desire to create. Whether its games, music, or investigative writing, he is ready to create and that it is what he is determined to do.