Growing up with a passion for movies – animation in particular – Victoria “Tory” Hoke, ’99, never thought that she would find herself living in Los Angeles and being a part of one of the most popular animated shows on television. Hoke is the chief technology officer (CTO) for South Park Studios.
South Park Studios produces South Park from September through December, delivering 10 episodes a season. With various TV spots, sports promos, and South Park: The Fractured But Whole slated for 2017, Hoke doesn’t have much down time. As CTO, she is involved in all technology-related aspects of creating the episodes and managing a team of technology experts.
“I was lucky enough to stumble blindly onto South Park,” said Hoke. “When I first saw the listing, I thought it was a joke. But it looked like a fit, and that turned out to be true.”
Over the past seven and a half years, she has served in the technology department of South Park Studios, where she started as a senior pipeline engineer before being promoted to her current position. At the time, Hoke didn’t even know what a pipeline engineer was, but between computer science and filmmaking she had what they were looking for and it has worked out great for her.
When she graduated in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, she worked for several companies involved in printing and clinical trials. After a few years, she got the itch to expand her horizons and she still had a passion for movies and animation. So, she attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she graduated with a degree in filmmaking.
“Every step of the way, that Meredith computer science degree opened doors,” said Hoke. “It helped me pick up new technologies. It helped me build new tools I was missing. It helped me get the internship that paid for gas to LA. And it was a requirement for the pipeline engineer job I stumbled on eight years ago.”
Working at South Park is Hoke’s first and only job in the entertainment industry, but she feels that every job she had has prepared her for the next job. Five years from now, Hoke would love to still be doing what she is doing now, but better, smarter, and with more perspective.
“Life at Meredith taught me to keep hunting for solutions,” said Hoke. “If you can’t find what you’re looking for, change your point of view. Professionally, this has given me an attitude of ‘there has to be a way.’”