SAE Industry Insight: Cinematic Director at Panache Digital Games, Jean-François Morin

05 Dec 2019

Jean-François Morin is the Cinematic Director at Panache Digital Games, the studio behind the third person open world survival game, Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. 

In his career he has worked on a number of games, including four Assassin's Creed titles (Unity, Syndicate, Origins and Odyssey), as well as Watch_Dogs, Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Far Cry 3, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game, Lost: Via Domus - The Video Game and Prince of Persia

What does a Cinematic Director do? 

Jean-François is responsible for turning conceptual ideas into game ideas and animated movies, doing research, collecting ideas and references. He enjoys the overall creative process behind his role, which requires creative thinking and problem solving. 

He studied Cinema as a Film Director at university, and has developed a high level of knowledge about video game design throughout the years. Jean-François said: “Putting them together made me able to bridge the two mediums and develop a unique vision and set of skills for game/narrative design.” 

He is very proud of the fact that he has worked on more than 6 AAA games to date, and one day he would like to develop his own games as a Creative Director.

What challenges has he faced in his career? 

Jean-François said that he has faced pressure when it came to gaining the trust of his leads to obtain certain mandates (especially as Director). He has also been under pressure to deliver a high quality product under pressure with few resources. 

If he could go back in time and give himself advice, he would say to keep being yourself, follow your intuition/passion and stop doubting your abilities or what people think of you. He said: “Most of your fears are not justified and only exist in your head. However, learn to be patient and disciplined. Patience, discipline and professionalism are essential. People will always prefer good attitude over skills, and make sure you keep feeding your creativity and skills. You never know when they are going to be solicited, so better be prepared and ready for when your chance comes.” 

How can you follow in Jean-François’ footsteps?

He said that in order to be industry-ready by the time you graduate, it is important that you explore other mediums and enlarge your general understanding of culture. He said: “Creativity is the expression of life, so the more you know about life (Art, Science, History, Music, Cinema etc.) the better you'll be able to express it through video game conception. Nothing you do won’t already be somehow expressed out-there, so keep your mind open and gather as much as you can. Game Design is mostly a matter of thinking process. To me, video game culture is not as important as life culture.”

Find out more about Panache Digital Games here.

Note: SAE Industry Insight is an interview feature where we talk to people working within the creative industries about their roles and how they got there, with the intention of providing SAE students with career advice. The people we interview are not necessarily affiliated with SAE in any way.