Breaking In spends a few moments with one of Bungie's digital demolition men this week, checking in with effects artist Chad Foxglove. If you've ever dreamed about making destruction more realistic (or transmogrifying yourself into a rompin', stompin' dinosaur) then it's time to get your read on. Chad has some insight into what it takes to tackle a special effects role at Bungie.
Q. Who are you and what do you do?
A. My name is Chad Foxglove and I am a special effects artist here at Bungie. I get to spend my days destroying cities, lighting things on fire, and generally wreaking havoc in the Halo universe.
Q. What do you do to keep yourself occupied when you're in our own universe?
A. I have too many hobbies to keep up with! I like to play and write music, draw and paint, skateboard, snowboard, and play soccer. But music and art are the big ones for me.
Q. Have those two big inspirations influenced you your entire life or did you once have other youthful aspirations?
A. I wanted to be a dinosaur for the longest time as a kid... and then an astronaut... and then once those dreams were crushed by the cruel fist of reality, I thought it might be kind of alright to be a microbiologist. That lasted maybe half a semester. Eventually I was told that I either needed to pick a major in college or drop out, so I chose Computer Science and started learning the ins and outs of graphics programming, which led me into the games industry. But, I’m not giving up on the dinosaur dream quite yet!
Q. Never give up on your dreams! After your advisors told you to pick out a major or pack up your things, did they offer up any career path advice to help soften the ultimatum?
A. They didn’t really push me in a particular direction that I can remember. I do remember at one point my college advisor actually advised me against going into computer science, but I didn’t listen. :P
The moral of the story is NEVER LISTEN TO YOUR ADVISORS. They are wrong.
Q. Did you end up showing them who's boss and earning that C.S. degree then?
A. Yep. Bachelors in Computer Science from the University of Illinois.
Q. Very nice. And how did you initiate first contact with Bungie?
A. I had a few friends already working at Bungie when I applied. I came out here to visit them, wound up having a little informal chat with Steve Scott about my effects work, and then sent my resume and reel in soon thereafter.
Q. So they already had your resume and reel on file, did you cart anything else along with you to the loop to help close the deal?
A. I didn’t really bring anything but myself…oh, and clothes. (Pro Tip: always wear clothes to an interview.)
Q. Excellent advice. Is there one, fully-clothed moment in the interview that comes to mind when you think back over the process.
A. My first interview of the day was with Dave Dunn. We were sitting in a conference room with a nice view of Seattle, and he walks over to the window, opens the blinds and says something like, “Look at this bustling city that stands before you. I want you to tell me how you would go about creating a special effect of an alien ship obliterating the city into a plane of glass.” It was at that point that I realized that whether or not I got the job, this was going to be a fun interview.
Q. In one effects-laden sentence, describe what it’s like to work at Bungie.
A. It’s a bit like having your brain smashed out by a slice of lemon wrapped round a large gold brick.
Q. Any advice for aspiring applicants looking to get themselves zestfully lobotomized, 24-karat style?
A. Have fun with your work. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.
Thanks to Chad for not lighting this space on fire or wreaking any havoc on our front page (and for not smashing our brains out with fruit and treasure). If you've just read through this interview and decided you want to start having fun with all the skill and experience and talent you have at your disposal, you should strap on a pair of pants and check out our Jobs Page
. We're hiring.