Joe Shoopack

Joe Shoopack2

The most important thing I can impart is helping students to learn to critically evaluate their own work and understand what they need to improve. Joe Shoopack , Adjunct Faculty , The Art Institute of California—San Diego, a campus of Argosy University
What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

For as long as I can remember I was interested in drawing and creating art. I also loved all kinds of games. When I played my first games on the Sega Genesis that was the inspiration that I could build a career doing both of the things I loved!

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

I’ve been a game developer for over 25 years, 16 of those as Director of Artistic Development for Sony Online. I teach classes where teams create games and I bring the same studio processes and standards to the class that I developed at Sony. I also bring in guest reviewers from the game industry to provide students with both a setting and feedback that emulates a professional development team.

Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

In Team Project Planning and Team Production I and II we break down how to create a game from inception to completion. Setting and achieving a series of milestones gives students confidence that they can reach their final goal, but achieving one milestone goal at a time.

What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

Collaboration is key to success in game development. Because students experience both the challenges and rewards of working with diverse team members. it prepares them with the collaboration skills essential to excel in a team setting professionally.

In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

The most important thing I can impart is helping students to learn to critically evaluate their own work and understand what they need to improve. If a person can critically self-evaluate they have the key to a pattern of lifetime learning progress and professional success.

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

Before I came to The Art Institute, I pioneered a Professional Mentoring and intern program with Ai California—San Diego. I’ve had the opportunity to work on games from the Atari 7800 up through Playstation 4 and have worked on over 65 released games and game expansions.

One of my hobbies is taking pictures of unusual roadside America sites and objects (especially dinosaur sculptures) that I post to my Instagram.