New Direction and Beginnings: Meet Rick Pearce and Mark Grentell
Spectre Studios (Spectre) Co-Founders and newly minted Virtually Human Studio (VHS) team members Rick Pearce and Mark Grentell have spent their entire lives constantly evolving to stay ahead of the creative curve with emerging technology, bringing stories to life.
How they reached the top of the mountain in their profession is a climb that started at a young age, where their fire to breathe the arts was ignited and still burns stronger than ever to this day.
“I realised my passion for creative work when I was 11yrs old and received laughs whilst reenacting a Banjo Patterson play at school in front of an audience,” says Mark. “Since then, I have had a passion for comedy, theatre and film, and always love the chance to collaborate and work with groups of talented people. So Spectre Studios was an easy transition to a similar, albeit digital world.”
Around the same age, Rick found his passion by discovering comic books, spending countless hours flipping through pages and exploring stories he still enjoys as an adult.
“My mum gave in to my relentless pestering about wanting a comic book and bought me The Phantom which blew my 9yr old mind,” Rick says. “I have loved comic books since then, and how they blend great writing with amazing art and have the ability to transport the reading into another world.”
As they grew, Rick and Mark honed in on their love for the arts, both perfecting their craft in a variety of settings. They always kept a keen eye on emerging technology, looking for that edge and exploring new ways to expand capabilities in virtual production.
For Mark, his creative journey took him from being an assistant director for touring musicals in Australia to co-writing and directing feature films and television commercials.
In Rick’s case, he cut his teeth working for a multitude of production companies like Walt Disney, where he helped produce some of Disney’s most recognisable films, including The Lion King, Jungle Book and Lilo & Stitch.
After a rapid rise together founding Spectre Studios, the pair say they are elated to join the team at VHS and take the next steps in their pursuit of pushing the boundaries of entertainment.
“The potential of what will be created together moving forward is almost too exciting to contain!” Rick says. “There is already a natural and effortless alignment between us; VHS has such strong creative and business leadership in the NFT world and have great minds that seem perfect fit.”
“VHS has already built such incredible capability, and I think with Spectre’s design talent and production experience, we can combine to level up across a range of fields,” Mark says. “We want to push the boundaries of what NFTs and NFT gaming can be and explore new ways to reimagine digital storytelling and digital ownership.”
When Rick and Mark aren’t grinding out the virtual productions Spectre Studios has become so well known for, they’re spending time with their families. Both have boys that are now shaping their interests, just as they did years ago.
“I love spending time with my boys. I look at them and study how they think and I’m fascinated with how they see the world,” Rick says.
In addition to spending his spare time with his own boys, Mark also leads as a regular Youth Worker.
“Helping mentor young people through their life choices and skills, listening and supporting them with whatever they need to give them a better chance at success is something I am immensely passionate about,” Mark says.
Taking a tour of where they have been, where they envision going, and what they’re all about, it’s not hard to see Spectre Studios was a perfect fit to join the VHS team.
Looking forward, Mark says it’s all about building and storytelling together through ZED RUN, Human Park, and future VHS initiatives. It is about setting the foundations for the future of gaming in the metaverse and pushing the boundaries of storytelling to places no one else is venturing to go.
“VHS is innovating in the NFT blockchain gaming space, and our team and talents line up perfectly. Now we’re on an exciting journey together to build the future of entertainment.”