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Daily Inspiration: Meet PJ Schenkel

Today we’d like to introduce you to PJ Schenkel. 

PJ, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I wasn’t originally sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I knew I always loved to create. I started photoshopping pictures for Geocities (super early websites in the ’90s) and making silly videos with my friends between the ages of 12 and 14. I caught the bug for creative collaborations and it took me all through primary school and college in a variety of small film festivals and projects. 

My first official gig in the entertainment industry, after a healthy slew of freelancing, was with an artist development company in Nashville (2009) where I quickly worked my way up to creative director and networked with a huge variety of power players. There I learned the ins and outs of the music industry. After about 2 years with that company, it was clear that I was on the path to be an artist, and I left to open my own company, Three Hat Media. Since 2011 I have been all around the country sporting my “three hats,” producing professional projects in film, photography, and graphic design. I’ve since directed, crewed, and shot tv shows, commercials, corporate projects, music videos, countless photoshoots, and nearly everything in-between. 

Along the way, I also picked up painting and music (must have been my friend group and proximity to Music City), and I actively pursue personal projects whenever I catch a break from Three Hat Media gigs. I have future plans to write and direct full-length movies and tour with my music. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Every road seems to have its bumps and strange turns, and my path was no different. I reckon I started out as “green” as you could possibly be, and I figured everyone was honest and trustworthy, with my best interests in mind, lol. 

After about 13 “professional years” of experience later, I’ve learned people sometimes change based off of specific feelings, expectations, and desires juxtaposed with their physical reality. The projects are always personal to somebody. I have experienced heartbreak, dissolving of professional partnerships, and roadblocks with the rest of human existence, but I wouldn’t trade a single lick of experience or lesson learned. It always makes you stronger, because you have to become stronger to survive. True creativity comes out in its full awesomeness in the face of adversity. 

I’ve never had a plan B other than the “hustle,” and I’m grateful for every attempt to swindle, stamp out, intimidate, or control my destiny. Your life is, and will always be yours to live. I am an artist and I’m here to make the world a better place, one project at a time. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I like to think what sets me apart from other folks is how much I care about my work and the people I meet while creating. One of my favorite feelings ever is connecting with people, and then their reactions to our completed projects!! I think the reason I care so much about every project is because they are all also a part of me. It’s always so inspiring, and quite addictive, to find that special zone with your clients (or audience!!) and bring that abstract idea into fruition. In a world that seems so cruel and judgemental, I like to create a space for us to truly be ourselves and come up with the best ideas for their needs and the world. We are on this planet to connect with each other. I am here to be a conduit to positivity, and I’d like to leave the world a better place than when I found it.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Adaptation is imperative for survival in every facet of life. Your brain is your most important “muscle,” and there’s always a different angle to approach a problem. Never lose sight of your purpose or end goal. 

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1 Comment

  1. Bill Flowers

    November 19, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    So great to see people who work for passion’s sake!

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