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© 2020 by SPACESUIT

Peter S. McKinney, Jr.

All rights reserved

How Do You Sell EVERYTHING?

In the ad business we spend most of our working lives selling
everyone else's stuff, why is it so hard sometimes to sell ourselves?
In response to the often asked, "What do you do?", my knee-jerk
reaction has always been, "What do you need?"
 
That's not arrogance, its just confidence, derived from a lifetime of
creative problem solving. That... and I don't like to be pigeon-holed.
Of course I can't do everything, but that 'do-everything' mind-set has certainly served me well in everything I have done.

Home is where

I learned to learn.

I was raised in Boston, where Dad was a Harvard chemistry professor & administrator. From him I got organization; attention to detail; the ability to look at all sides of a problem, and an endless curiosity about science, technology, and how stuff works.
 
From my Mom, art scholar, mezzo-soprano, and ‘at-home’ chef, I got my aesthetic sensibility, an eye for art, design, color and composition, a love of cooking (yes, I have a chef’s coat with my name on it!), and an appreciation for great food and wine, and
sometimes there must also be Scotch!

The benefits of a classical education.

Sarah Lawrence College, NY
BFA – Theater Arts
Major in Theatrical Set & Lighting Design.
Minor in Literature and Creative Writing.
During my last 2 years as a student I concurrently held a faculty position as resident set & lighting designer and technical director for SLC's main stage.

NYC is where

I learned to work.

My first job in the ad business was as a photo assistant to photographer, Steve Steigman. He'd only let you work on his set if you could load a Hasselblad film
back in under 30 seconds. Yes, you had to pass a test.
I actually did do everything  for him – props, sets,
fx rigging, lighting, whatever.
 
Regularly working 90 hours a week for slave wages, I learned more with Steve in a year than I would 
have anywhere else in five.

Production in NYC is where I really learned to work.

I joined IATSE – Local 52, first as a prop assistant – and worked my way up through the ranks – prop master, food stylist & product specialist, mechanical rigging and effects supervisor, set dresser, set decorator, and finally art director. 
Projects, directors, and brands too numerous to mention, but the stories are the best part. 
Like the time we 'stole' the
Brooklyn Bridge!

Go west young man.

Of course, changing coasts is the perfect time to change titles. I left NYC as an Art Director, and by the time I finished the cross-country drive, presto, I was a Production Designer.
I did projects with a few notable directors: Caleb Deschanel, David Steinberg, Paul Hunter,
Ericson Core, among others – working with scores
of agencies, production companies, and brands.

If you build it

they will come

To support my production design projects and director relationships, I founded, 360 Designworks, a boutique set & prop design, specialty fabrication, and art production studio.
 
360 was known for delivering creative solutions to 'impossible' problems.
After 10 years in business I closed shop –  right after meeting my wife – a long story best
saved for another day.

Doing my own thing

After closing 360, I did my own thing in LA, various freelance and contract roles, with agencies and brands, large and small, on a wide range of project types traditional and non-traditional content, film, digital, print and OOH.
 
As well as contributing to new business dev and pitch efforts – for the likes of CBRE, Doner, D&G, Deutsch, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA/Chiat/Day, Tiny Rebellion, True Car, BYD, JWT,  Marketing Arm, and 72andSunny.

Leaving Los Angeles

Finally, in the summer of 2018 we decided that LA had had enough of us and we made our 'Lexit'
 
While we didn't exactly throw a dart at the map, it wasn't that much more complicated. 
Raleigh was a perfect choice for so many reasons. We hit the road in October, and did the Route 66 song in reverse.
 
Loving it here in the Triangle – everything is  for the first time.

Q. – "OK SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?"

A. – "WHAT DO YOU NEED?"

To anyone who has read this far, my special thanks. Possessing rare and invaluable personal qualities; commitment, character, and perseverance, you are my kind of people and I definitely want to work with you. I appreciate your time and hope we can continue the conversation sometime very soon.