John Kinzel is an alum of the MAGD program with a B.A. in Media Arts and Game Development with an emphasis in Visual Media Design. Graduating in 2015, John now is an Associate Environment Artist at Raven Software.
What made you want to pursue this field?
“Video games were an important part of my life and I wanted to see if making them was something I'd enjoy and could pursue.”
What was your favorite part about going to UW-Whitewater?
“Being around like-minded people who were all interested in making games, having professional software available to learn the tools, and the various game jams and events.”
How did your UW-Whitewater experience prepare you for your career or transform your life?
“It lit a fire underneath me and made me realize that video game development was the only thing I could imagine myself doing. I became addicted to the process, the technology, the tools, everything. It made me realize how much fun it was to collaborate and make games with other people, and that has served me well in my career.”
Who do you draw inspiration from?
“My coworkers definitely inspire me.”
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
“I’m proud of being able to make it through a rigorous mentorship program that a couple senior artists at Raven put on. It took the good part of a year, and it was hard but I ended up catching the attention of an art lead which was how I was able to transition to the Art department.”
What advice would you give your former self?
“Stop playing video games and start making them.“
What advice would you give your future self?
“Stay humble, stay passionate.”
What advice would you give to a potential UW-Whitewater MAGD student?
"Make games outside of class. Do not rely on the classes to get you a job after school. They teach you the tools, but it is up to you to take the tools and produce results. Take part in game jams, small projects. Portfolio matters more than resume. Portfolio needs to favor quality, not quantity. Dedicate yourself to spending your own time pursuing your craft. Do not stop working towards it. Do not become satisfied with your work.
As for getting a job, make a well-crafted application targeting a specific studio. Research that studio, find the position you think you can do, and tailor your resume and cover letter for it. Use UW-Whitewater resources to learn how to construct a resume and cover letter.
After applying, DO NOT sit and wait. Find the recruiter or manager's email on LinkedIn and follow up on it. Wait one and a half weeks for a response then send another follow up. If you receive a response that isn't a denial, wait two and a half weeks before following up again. Do not badger them, but do not fade into the background. Be courteous, friendly, and show your passion. Remember that you are applying for that job and that job only. If you say you're only using that job as a steppingstone, they will skip you and hire the person who is targeting that job specifically. Be humble but confident."
Learn more about the MAGD Program