A Day in the Life of One of Australia’s Top Female Game Developers, Clara Reeves

Clara Reeves, CEO of independent game studio Hipster Whale
Clara Reeves

For most video game lovers, gaming is just a hobby. It’s something you do in your free time to relax, connect with friends, or unleash your competitive edge.

Clara Reeves, CEO of Hipster Whale, has been mesmerised by the world of gaming since she was young and has turned this passion into her full-time career.

Reeves’ initial plan out of university was to work in animation as she was drawn to the artistic and technical side of animated film.

“As I was finishing university, I changed tracks and decided that games were the medium I wanted to work in,” she recalls. “I had no idea how to start on that career path, I’d never even met a game developer, so I studied programming and began looking for entry level jobs.”

Reeves got her start in QA (game testing) at Atari, before moving into a production role at Krome Studios and then working as Manager of Games, Digital Content and Animation at Film Victoria. She is now CEO of indie game developer and publisher Hipster Whale, and hopes to inspire more women to pursue a career in the industry.

Let’s look at a day in the life of this talented CEO:

6:30 AM

“I have a 5-month-old baby, so right now our household wakes up pretty early, about 6:30am,” Reeves says. “Coffee is required immediately and then I do a very quick scan over the work channels while I eat breakfast to see if anything urgent has come in overnight that I might need to focus on.”

9:00 AM

The workday for Clara properly begins at 9am. She loves that no two days are the same with some being quite admin heavy and others being completely creative design focused.

“My day fills up very quickly and if I have creative tasks to complete, I need to block out time for them so I don’t get too interrupted,” she explains. “It’s never dull and my job is never “done” so I have to create my own priorities and limits for how much I work.”

“Today I did a build review of one of our games, going over the design and feedback with the team. Then I participated in an industry panel, completed some legal paperwork, and went over some hiring plans for one of our upcoming projects.”

Short breaks help get Reeves through the more tedious tasks, and she admits that this involves multiple trips to the snack pantry or kettle to make hot beverages (some of which she forgets to drink but enjoys the ritual of making them).

5:00 PM

“Signing off” at 5:00 pm is a priority for Clara, as it ensures she can spend time with her kids before they go to bed. Her sons are at an age where she can play multiplayer games like Fortnite with them and they are always first in line to trial any new games that are in the works at Hipster Whale.

8:00 PM

Reeves ends her evening by finishing off emails and general admin so that she is prepared for the new day. When she does get a free moment, she invests her energy into encouraging more women to consider gaming as a profession.

A decade ago, gender representation in games was barely spoken about. Reeves believes diverse perspectives from women and men are crucial to developing games that better represent, empower, and support the whole population.

“At the start of my career, I was probably just trying to prove that I belonged and not draw attention to the fact that I was different because I wasn’t ‘one of the guys’,” she reflects. “Then as I grew my skills and confidence, I started to put effort into proactively encouraging other women to join the industry too; to fix the imbalance we have.”

Clara offers some final words of encouragement to any women interested in pursuing a career in gaming.

“We need you! Games are the most pervasive medium of our times, shaping the way we tell stories and interact with each other. There’s such a broad spectrum of work that goes into making games. If you’re creatively or technically curious (or both!), you can find a very rewarding career in games with great transferrable skills.”

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