Bret McNee and Taylor Pelto are two Think Tank alums from the United States. Like students before them, Bret and Taylor came to Vancouver with the same goal: Get a job in the 3D industry. Not only did both accomplish their goals, they left Canada with something much more. We wanted to share with you a little of their story.
Bret and Taylor were the only Americans in TTTC class 13. Taylor is an Alaskan native, and Bret is from Idaho. Neither student knew the other before coming to Think Tank, they met in person a month before classes started. Consequently they were next door neighbors just a few streets away from the school. When they arrived in Canada, they began to explore the city of Vancouver together.
It is safe to say that during this month Bret and Taylor became good friends. People in their class were surprised to find out that neither of them knew each other before coming to Canada. People just assumed they were friends before school. During the first few months of school, their friendship grew and eventually it transitioned naturally into a relationship.
With very long hours of schooling and their future goals on the line both were concerned that the relationship could get in the way of their studies. Both agreed that they would put school above each other at any costs and if the relationship was getting in the way of their goals, they would put it off and just stay friends. The two decided their “dates” would be long night hours at school hanging out and helping each other on their projects. They became a team and instead of letting the relationship hold them back and distract them, they used it as a tool to help push their skill sets by challenging each other to do better and by keeping each other on task.
Taylor was the first student in the class to finish her demo reel. Bret was not far behind, and finished his just a few weeks later. With portfolios in hand, the job hunt began. Taylor moved back to Alaska and Bret back to Idaho. The couple were concerned for their relationships future because the 3D market is spread all over the country and ever one knows: If you get offered a job in this industry, who cares where it is, you take it.
The distance was getting hard for the couple but they stayed vigilant and decided that they would stay together no matter what. If one got a job they other would follow them and make it work. After several art tests from various companies, Taylor landed herself an environment artists position at Vigil Games working on the new Warhammer 40k MMO in Austin, Texas.
In late August the two road tripped to Austin together and settled in a new apartment. While Taylor went to work, Bret worked on his portfolio and contacted local Austin game studios. Another Think Tank alum, Nicholas McBride told Bret of a possible opening at the studio Nicholas animates for. Bret applied, and a few days later was hired. Bret trained in character art at Think Tank, but he is working as a texture artist for Disney Interactive Studios at Junction Point Studios also in Austin, Texas.
Bret and Taylor are an example of how hard work, determination, and a commitment to each other really can pay off. Congratulations on a start to your new careers in the video game industry! Keep us posted!