Justin Norman is a Des Moines-based award-winning writer, director, videographer, editor, producer, animator, actor, visual effects artist, and music composer with a decade of film experience creating advertisements, narrative short films, television pilots, and documentaries. As an editor, he has won seven Best Editing awards in competitions across four states in three different genres: comedy, drama, and documentary. As a director and producer, he has helmed over 60 short films, a feature documentary, and a comedy TV pilot. In 2020, he won a $50,000 Greenlight Grant from the Iowa Arts Council for his TV pilot TubeLords, which premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles as part of the 25th annual Dances With Films festival. won the 2021 Best Director award from the Great Canadian Comedy Film Festival, and won the 2018 Best Director award from the 48 Hour Film Project, Des Moines. His 2019 short film NaziMaker received over 600,000 views within 24 hours of publication. In 2021, he began directing the film-based video game, In Lukewarm Blood – a project that involves an amount of edited footage longer than the average feature film.
As a videographer, he has shot footage for more than 70 productions, including advertisements, documentaries, narratives, and television series, including the 2020 PBS series American Portrait, the award-winning 2019 documentary The Happiness Machine, and the 2021 Frontmen series which aired in the UK.
As a music composer and sound designer, he works with both classical and electronic instrumentation under the name Make-Believe Machines. He has composed five full-length albums under that name, and has over 50 films’ worth of experience in scoring. In 2020, he wrote an hour’s of music for an upcoming virtual reality video game for Numinous, and in 2021 he designed the sound and select pieces of score for Cyan Ventures’ Area Man Lives for Oculus Rift, which was featured at Cannes in 2022.
He has written more than 60 produced short films and co-written five feature screenplays and two television pilots. His 2020 dramedy, Roy of Sealand, was ranked in the top 4.8% of all scripts on The Black List, and was featured as one of the top 10 scripts of the week. His 2020 dark comedy, Have a Nice Night, received a 95 out of 100 score from Screenplay Readers, placing it in the top 4% of their submissions. He writes for advertisements, documentaries, and narratives.
As a visual effects artist, he works primarily in repairing flaws in production footage. This includes reproducing dropped frames, removing cables and crew from footage, and creating special effects. He performed these duties for the 2020 feature film Shedding and the 2022 feature film Praying the Hours, as well as a series of commercials.
As an actor, he has appeared in more than 40 films and television series, including the award-winning TBS comedy, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and the popular TikTok web series, Scumbag Dad. He played the lead role in the 2022 comedy pilot, TubeLords, and is currently playing the co-lead in 2022’s sprawling interactive film-based video game, In Lukewarm Blood. Before working in film, he played a wide range of characters on stage over four years in the sketch comedy series, Dog & Pony Show.
As an animator, he created the 2018 short film, The Eye, which screened internationally at Snowdance, and won Runner Up Best Film at the Salute Your Shorts Festival in Los Angeles.
Support provided by Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, through the federal CARES Act.