- Presented by AV Squad

AV Squad's Peter Stark on Great Print Work in a Changing World of Entertainment

How the industry is getting more nimble, with more creative outlets than ever

Peter Stark is VP/head of print at AV Squad, where he's been since 2019. He previously worked at agencies including Bond, BLT and Art Machine. Peter is a graduate of Drake University and later studied art at SUNY Binghamton.

We spoke with Peter for our Backstory series, where we chat with folks in the entertainment industry about their creative inspirations and more.

Peter, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Grew up in Minnesota, then moved to the Dominican Republic, upstate New York,  NYC, Vermont and finally settled on a hill in Laurel Canyon with my wife Miriam and Poppy the Dog.

Your first job in the industry. 

Working as a junior designer at a boutique shop in NYC called Bau-Da Design, where I cut my teeth in the entertainment industry doing primarily music stuff with my first true mentor, P.R. Brown.

A breakthrough moment in your career. 

First big breakthrough moment was when I followed my heart and moved to L.A. sight unseen, with no connections/job/money—but with the belief that I could somehow make it. The next big breakthrough was seeing my SAW severed hand poster spoofed on a Simpsons episode … I mean, where do you go from there??

Three movies you couldn't do without.

Parasite, Spirited Away, The Big Lebowski. They all left a mark.

Your favorite movie quote.

"The dude abides…" Not sure there's a truer statement in the history of filmmaking.

Your favorite movie poster.

Favorite? Nah, but I've got a few …  Metropolis (def a fave), Cool Hand Luke (maybe the coolest), Little Miss Sunshine (still makes me happy), A Clockwork Orange (so good), Jaws (I mean, come on), Chinatown (what an illustration), Rosemary's Baby (the mother of all horror posters), The Dark Knight Rises (one of many that I wished I had done), Fargo (as clever as they come), all of the Where the Wild Things Are posters, and the Star Wars Episode I poster with Darth's shadow on the rock. So many others, though…

A classic TV show and a recent TV show that you loved.

Every episode of M.A.S.H. had humor and heart, but The Simpsons might still be the most enlightened series ever. Currently, I'm super down with Succession.

A recent project you're proud of.

Well, a few actually. Winning the Everything Everywhere All at Once campaign, and getting to collaborate with James Jean … all with the great Graham Retzik at A24. Finishing several pieces for the inaugural season of House of the Dragon with our old friends at HBO. And getting to see a handful of our pieces come to life for the genius film Tár, with the legendary Blair Green at Focus. 

But beyond specific projects, I'm most stoked about the AV Print team we've built at AV Squad in the past few (super weird) years. It's an extraordinary group of people who have come together to do the work we love with the most amazing clients—and I'm honored and proud to be a part of it! And the whole team is grateful to Chad and the rad folk at AV Squad for taking a shot and giving us so much love and support along the way!

Someone else's project that you admired recently.

I recently loved the campaigns for Don't Worry Darling and Pearl. Both super fresh! 

One thing about how entertainment marketing is evolving that you're excited about. 

I'm really excited about how our industry is redefining itself every day, with every type of work situation imaginable! I love how nimble we've all become as we deal with the cray. Streaming (and the massive amount of content being created to support it) has created opportunities everywhere, all at once. And now with theatrical coming back (albeit in unique new ways), the business seems more vibrant and exciting than ever!

What would you be doing if you weren't in entertainment marketing.

If I weren't a movie marketing wonk, I'd probably be stomping grapes somewhere in Portugal. 

Backstory is a weekly Muse series, publishing on Fridays, where we chat with folks in entertainment marketing about their creative inspirations, favorite movies, video games, trailers, posters and more. To learn more about Backstory or our Clio Entertainment program, please get in touch.

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