In the Employee Spotlight series, we are highlighting the diverse and exceptional talent here at Jam City.
Meet Matt Chavis, Principal Animator on the Cookie Jam and Cookie Jam Blast franchises. As an avid lover of art and gaming, Matt combined his passions to pursue a career in game animation and now offers valuable advice for young artists looking to enter the industry.
What drew you to Jam City?
I’ve been working on PC and console games for the majority of my career and Jam City sounded like the perfect opportunity to take the plunge into the mobile industry for a refreshing change. The immediate warmth of the team reassured me that I had made the right decision.
Describe your role on the team.
I handle a lot of the Spine related animations for both Cookie Jam and Cookie Jam Blast. After the animations are complete, there is a lot of back and forth with Designers and Engineers to ensure the animations function and are tuned according to spec so that the players get the best experience possible. Making things wiggle and jump is some serious business!
Did you know you always wanted to make art for games?
In my youth I enjoyed playing and replaying all of the classics like Mario, Donkey Kong Country, Megaman, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear, Sonic, and Golden Eye. Games that inspired me to do what I do today. I’ve always been passionate about art, passionate about ideas, and passionate about games. Joining the three was a no brainer and naturally led me to the decision to go to school for it. I have to credit Mario and Nintendo for giving me this passion for making games. They gave me so much joy as a child and that pushed me to follow this path into gaming so that maybe I can provide the same joy to the future generation of gamers.
What guidance can you offer young artists about breaking ground in the gaming industry?
Construct a solid portfolio that showcases what style you thrive in; the gaming industry admires passion. Establish an online presence and connect yourself to the industry and its professionals by utilizing social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Vevo, Twitter, etc. It’s important to shop your portfolio around and get as much feedback as possible.
What advice would you give other employees about how to succeed in their role?
Take time to reflect and remind yourself why you’re doing all of this in the first place. I think it’s also important to embrace evolution. This is a fast moving industry that requires you to keep your skills up to date.