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Columbia College Chicago

Moving Air Through Sound

Eric Justen (BA '98) grew up in Woodstock, Illinois, initially believing he wanted to be an actor until the late director/writer Harold Ramis invited him to sit next to him on the other side of the camera during the filming of Groundhog Day.

Justen's next move was to enroll at Columbia College Chicago where he discovered sound engineering. Hard work and determination caught the attention of CA+S staff and adjunct faculty member Diego Trejo, Jr., who mentored Justen. 

After graduation, Justen moved to Los Angeles. “The job is feast or famine and you just have to rise up.” said Justen of Hollywood.  Taking his own words to heart, Justen worked hard and amassed 25 credits in sound departments before finding his first big break as sound recordist on The Fast and the Furious.  From there he continued to work as a re-recording mixer on several films including Act of Valor. He started working in television on Grey’s Anatomy, Psych, Numb3rs, and The Good Wife.  He now works on staff as a re-recording mixer with Warner Bros., partnering with Oscar winner Jeffrey Perkins for the last five years.

Justen has been nominated for three Cinema Audio Society awards, most recently for his recording work on Breaking Bad. He was nominated for an Emmy twice and was a part of the team that won a Golden Reel Award in 2008 for Breaking Bad.

“It’s fun, it’s creative,” said Justen, “sound makes half the picture.  It makes you feel like you’re there. If it’s done right, it’s moving air.”