Hisham Ata is the 2016 Toronto Film School, Video Game Design and Development program Valedictorian. Born in Quetta, Pakistan, but now living in Mississauga, Hisham came into the program knowing he wanted to start his own business, and now he is. Read more about Hisham and his Toronto Film School Journey in the Q&A
TFS: What brought you to Toronto Film School?
HA: Prior to coming to Toronto Film School, I was a successful Information Technology professional with a bachelors degree from Ryerson University. However, after a few years in the workforce, I realized I wanted to be more of a freelancer and possibly build a business in an industry that I love.
TFS: Why did you choose your program?
HA: With my prior knowledge of computers and my love for Video Games, it only made sense to take a video game development program. I searched through similar programs at other colleges, however, I chose TFS due to the fact that the accelerated course load meant I could start my business idea earlier. The fact that you own all the work done at the school also made it the best choice as well, seeing as anything developed for school assignments could then be refined into a sellable product.
TFS: Why do you think you were chosen as the Valedictorian for your program?
HA: I showed constant dedication while studying at TFS, and I also had a healthy amount of extra curricular stuff that I participated in. I was part of the campus council and as vice-chair, I helped run successful extra curricular activities
TFS: If you offered one piece of advice to an incoming student, what would that be?
HA: Just because you enjoy playing video games them doesn’t mean you will enjoy making them. If you feel like you have an actual passion for this, then you will definitely find success even if it means making and releasing your own games. It is much harder to make decent money in video games, but if you are willing to put in the time to learn the craft, anybody can be successful.
TFS: What is one of the most important things you have learned/experienced at TFS?
HA: That the independent game development community in Toronto is actually really big. I didn’t know how many events until I started to get more involved in the extra curricular activities at school.
TFS: What kept you motivated?
HA: With my wedding coming up soon, I was and still am motivated to provide a decent standard of life for my eventual family.
TFS: What are your plans after graduation?
HA: To start my own game studio. Currently, these plans have culminated in Cat Splat Studios. You can check us out atwww.catsplatstudios.com.
TFS: What makes Toronto Film School and your experience here special?
HA: The intimacy between teachers and students isn’t something that I’ve ever experienced before in post-secondary education. All the teachers are here to help and will help you to the best of their ability, even after leaving the school, if you are willing to put in the work.
If someone asked you to describe Toronto Film School to them, what would you say?
HA: It is a college that specializes in showing the practical production side of the video game industry and if you are willing to come up with projects that can be produced and sold, the faculty will do everything in their power to help you out.