Friday, November 30, 2012
It's been a while since team talent updated us, so here is Tom
Knight to talk us through where in the world he's been and what
he's been up to in the latter part of 2012…
First up, adding to the French invasion in Soho, we have Michael
Balthazart currently working for us who studied at ARTFX in
Montpellier. Michael's graduation film Voile Noir is
well worth a watch, he's definitely a rising star.
Two of our ex-runners, Marta Carbonell Amela and Ryan Smith,
were given the chance to complete the Maya Core program at Escape
Studios earlier this year. It was a fantastic opportunity for the
guys and now they are working within our 3D commercials department.
During the course they created a project each, a still from 'Boats'
and 'The Pool Table' below. Both projects apparently involved a lot
of long nights and massive amounts of hair pulling.
I caught up with them recently to get their feedback on the
"If it wasn't for The Mill and Escape Studios I wouldn't of
reached my dream of becoming a 3D artist, thank you to everyone for
their support." - Ryan Smith
"From the start my ambition was to work in the commercials 3D
team. The last two years have been a journey for me going from
being a runner, to escape studios to being promoted into the 3D
commercials department. I've learned so much and now my new
ambition is to develop into an experienced and skilled 3d
artist." - Marta Carbonell Amela
Here they are, basking in their success:
In other news, the BBC have commissioned an educational series
aimed at introducing computer programming to 8-11 year olds. The
Mill offered to show how we use programming every day in our VFX
work and to inspire children about the possibilities of technology.
A pair of local Soho school children came in and met three of our
VFX artists, Tom Raynor, Cat Harris and Rosemary Chester, to form
part of the programme. Their definite highlight of the day was when
they were composited into the Dalek coliseum from the first episode
of the new series of Dr Who!
Finishing on a completely different note, life drawing is
storming back on the scene! Our London employees enjoyed the
previous classes so much that they demanded a return. Our first
class is starting on January 10th so I'll update you in the new
year with a link to the latest and greatest sketches.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Some good news to brighten up a particularly dreary London
today! Awards season continued last night as The Mill were thrilled
to be awarded the following Gold and Silvers at the 2012 British
Arrows Craft Awards.
Firstly in the CGI category The Mill was awarded both the
Gold and Silver arrows, the Gold arrow for Land Rover Range Rover
Sport 'Accelerator' made by Hungry Man/Tag for RKCR Y&R, and
Silver arrow for Audi A6
Avant 'Hummingbird' made by Knucklehead for BBH.
Three colourists were shortlisted, an outstanding achievement in
itself, and a thrilled Seamus O'Kane was awarded a Silver arrow for
'Spark' made by Stink for Wieden + Kennedy in the Colourist category.
Finally, the big award of the evening for the Best Crafted Commercial of 2012 went to Guardian's 'Three
Little Pigs'. It was also great to see Ringan Ledwidge receive
the Silver arrow for Guardian's 'Three Little Pigs' in the Best Direction category.
Huge congratulations to all those involved in the above
projects. Whether you are tending a sore post-party head or not,
take another look at the winning work and the full details of the
rest of last night's winners.
Monday, November 26, 2012
This weekend we bid a fond farewell to our beloved terrariums
and welcomed every element of Christmas to Great Marlborough
Street. There's snow, oversized gifts, festive garlands and a very
shiny new toy...
The first major addition to reception is that Mill Touch is
here! Mill Touch was entirely developed by The Mill and is an
interactive, living portfolio, illustrating the ever-expanding body
of work. Delve behind the scenes, perform text searches
within the portfolio, explore content by manipulating a
multi-million particle fluid simulation or use the virtual 'lens'
apparatus to see before and after footage in real-time!
For the festive window installation The Mill Christmas elves
teamed up with INT Works and the national charity for homeless
people, Crisis, to produce a Christmas wish machine.
Tweet your wish to @themillwishes and your wish will be added as a
flake to the snowstorm. For every wish received 10p is
donated to Crisis, so get wishing and get tweeting. If you can, pay
us a visit… it will be snowing here every day so it saves you using
up a precious wish on wanting a white Christmas.
To learn more about the inspiration for the window, Alex Bec
(Director of INT Works and It's Nice That) reveals all…
For those who might not have heard of you (do these
people exist!) tell me about INT Works.
We're a creative agency in London, who come up with great ideas
for brands and collaborate with the right experts to make them
happen. So our projects are supremely varied, from re-invigorating parks to designing book jackets, to making snowstorms in windows!
Our sister company is the publishing platform It's Nice That so
we're always surrounded by amazing reference and brilliant
Who and what inspires you?
All of the brilliant creative minds we come into contact with
every single day and make our ambitious ideas tangible, living
things. Nothing is more inspiring than seeing an idea come to
How did you approach The Mill window?
We looked at the brief as a chance to try and do something really
ambitious and act as a bit of a spectacle. The surrounding area
will be so full of Christmas decorations we were desperate to try
and do something in-keeping with the look and feel of the season,
but also would make someone stop and look twice. The fact that
people can also get involved in the window just by tweeting is
exciting for us too.
Talk me through how "The Mill Christmas Wish Machine"
The storm is achieved by creating a separate space within the
window, backed by a 2m x 3m clear perspex panel on hinges, and
powered by two fans that have been stripped back with bespoke
stands. All of this to create just the right air vortex, to turn
the perfectly sized tissue paper pieces into a snow storm. There
were multiple testing stages to get the storm factor just right,
including creating a full scale mock up of The Mill's window in a
What wish will the INT Works team be tweeting to @TheMillWishes?
Alex: Obviously world peace, but failing that I'll be happy with a
nice big dinner with my family.
James Dougan: Turkey, beer, more turkey.
What's your favourite part of Christmas?
I love the fact everyone in our industry takes a break at the same
time, and it's the only time in the whole year that really happens,
so I try and make the most of the email silence!
What do you have planned for your Christmas
Some games, a few internal awards and a hearty feed-up with
everyone who's worked so hard with us this year.
Friday, November 23, 2012
What a night! At the fantastic Shots party in London's Mayfair
we were awarded 'Best Post-Production Company' whilst over at the
BIMA's, Red Gate's 'DBA in Space' won the
Grand Prix and the B2B category with Mill Touch commended in the
self-promotion category. So much fantastic work, so much fun and so
many hangovers. Congratulations to all of our clients and
collaborators who partied and won on the night!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The Mill New York team, alongside huge sections of the East
coast, has suffered some very tough times both during and after the
recent storm. In an effort to lift spirits, ration boxes bursting
with gifts were dispatched this week from the London and LA
offices, to spread some love over the ocean and continent.
Boxes contained a typically weird and wonderful selection of
British treats; Marmite, Cadburys and Colman's mustard, along side
a mountain of LA candy… assisting the office to 'keep calm &
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
The spirit of Halloween inspired The Mill NY Design
team's second iteration of the "Drawing Under the Influence"
series. This month, Senior VFX
Supervisor Jeffrey Dates and Creative Director Tim
Haldeen joined forces to create a mashup of Mexican día de los
muertos style and ghoulish monsters that resulted in an intricate
display on the fourth floor chalk board. A time-lapse reveals the
2+ hours it took to complete the mural and also offers some insight
into what didn't make the cut for the final piece.
"It was an interesting collaborated effort, as
neither of us really had planned a layout or figured out what we
were really going to do - we just attacked the chalkboard wildly
and eventually stepped back to see what had happened," said Dates.
"A few beers, a few shots, and a few more beers later the piece
started to take shape. Collaborating is my preferred method of
creative, so this was a fun project, especially doing it with Tim.
However, I soon realized chalk and ladders are not my preferred
See more of the series in our first inaugural
Friday, November 16, 2012
Ciclope pride themselves on being the only
international festival fully dedicated to the craft skills in the
advertising production industry: honoring the execution of films,
animation and interactive projects alike in both their awards and
speaker offering. The festival takes place in Buenos Aires,
Argentina. This creative, exciting city provides the perfect
backdrop for the best of the industry to gather and share thoughts,
plans and insight into the creative year past and the year
Having attended previously, The Mill was keen to enhance the
experience this year even further and did so in numerous ways.
Alistair Thompson, MD NY, took to the stage on the opening day to
talk through an exclusive look at the journey of The Mill in a Then
/ Now seminar. Alistair also sat on the jury panel (who you can
meet here) for this year's awards, facing some tough
decisions on the high quality caliber of entries.
Finally our pop-up gallery of pivotal projects, key moments and
showreels in the main auditorium of Camaras y Luces provided icy
beers and a break from the hot hot heat of Buenos Aires and heady
pace of the packed itinerary. Making of how it came to life here.
NY producer Camila De Biaggi was joined by London
marketing manager Victoria Poole, who I caught up with to compile
the ultimate run down of the highs, lows and quantity of steak on
1. Top Talk: It's hard to pick just one talk, as
the four day itinerary really did feature the crème of the industry
and some really big personalities. However there were two talks
that just edged ahead for the way they engaged the audience.
The first was given by the hugely charismatic founding partner
(one of six) of Traktor Richard Ulfvengren. He stood centre
stage and told the charming story of how the group of post college
filmmakers came together in Sweden, making the unprecedented move
to LA just a short while later where they still remain today. The
core collective work on commercials, music videos and branded
content. We were shown some of their irreverent and quirky early
films such as Miller Lite 'Evil Beaver', MTV 'Jukka Bros', and Fedex 'Stick', through to more recent iconic
campaigns for Virgin 'Love at First Flight' and Schweppes 'Pet' all of which push the
boundaries and feature a distinctive Traktor look and feel.
The second was the Q&A style talk given by Karim Bartoletti
from the Italian production company Filmmaster and Rafa Montilla from the highly
creative advertising agency Agosto, which took place at 11am on the
last day of the festival, yet still packed out the studio
Karim and Rafa took an original approach to their talk in which
they each picked from the best of each other's work to encourage
discussion around the production and creative ideas behind each
2. Best party: Again really tough to just
choose one, as we were treated to a host of great parties
throughout but two definitely stood out. First off, for the best
food I would have to the say the BBQ held by ArgentinaCine at their offices, on the first
night. A non stop stream of bbq'ed delights flowed throughout the
evening, from the most tender pieces of Argentinian steaks,
chorizo, to grilled chunks of cheese and veg; whilst all the jury
members and speakers got to meet one another in the relaxed terrace
The Landia party on the Tuesday evening
was also a highlight, in which we drank a number of different
cocktails blended in front of us, enjoyed all that the DJ had to
offer and got to hang out with some of Buenos Aires' bright young
things in the cool setting of the Landia offices and lush garden
3. Top Food: La
Cabrera, one of BA's oldest and most famous restaurants. It was
all about the silver cow shaped plates, wooden boards piled high
with the most delicious and tender steaks I have ever eaten, jars
of house chimichurri sauce, empanadas and the flat capped waitors
who carried round a selection of mini side dishes to accompany the
4. Highlight: All jury members and speakers
stayed together at the Aspen Square Hotel which meant we really got to
know each other during the week. It was such an intimate festival
that we got to spend a lot of time together, be it at the talks,
whilst on the jury, during evening meals, poolside between talks or
even at the end of the night whilst sharing the contents of our
mini bars (as there was no hotel bar!). Also THE high was obviously
scooping the Grand Prix during the awards and seeing some fantastic
accolades go to deserving agencies and companies. Full winners list
5. Lowlight: Taxi drivers in Buenos Aires
caused a few palpitations and the lack of traffic lights means
roads are a free for all. We racked up several near misses during
the week and one actual crash on the way to the airport!
6. What did Alistair talk about? Alistair's
talk was titled The Mill: Then / Now. He told the insider tale of
how The Mill began and the journey of the brand through to today.
It was then chaptered with the various stages, openings and work
throughout the history of the Mill.
7. How was Alistair's talk received? It was
received really positively. In particular people were excited by
the relevance of some of the iconic 90's work which was shown and
how such work could still hold up so well today.
8. Did any key themes arise throughout Ciclope?
The importance of remaining true to what you are about as a brand
and creatively. Also, ensuring that companies grow organically
looking at emerging market opportunities where it's appropriate for
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Today brings huge news that we are thrilled to finally be able
to share. In addition to our offices in New York, Los Angeles and
London, and studio within BBH Singapore, The Mill will shortly open
an office in Chicago! The new office will be led by Jared Yeater as
Executive Producer and will co-locate with award-winning editorial
company, The Whitehouse. We expect that The Mill Chicago
will open its doors in early 2013.
Robin Shenfield, CEO and co-founder of The Mill said, "Over many
years, the advertising agencies in Chicago have been great
supporters of The Mill in New York, Los Angeles and London, so it
seems the right time to repay that support by establishing a local
presence with all the attributes of a full Mill studio including
VFX, finishing, design and color. We are delighted to announce
Jared's leadership of the new office and are lining up a team that
will include key Mill talent from all our other offices."
The Mill will co-locate with The Whitehouse in the landmark
Courthouse Place building at 54 West Hubbard Street. "We have a
very long history with The Whitehouse," says Robin. "Our two
companies were established a block apart in London more than 20
years ago and their senior editor / partner in Chicago, Matthew
Wood, actually began his career at The Mill in London so we have a
terrific history of working alongside each other."
Alistair Thompson, Managing Director of The Mill New York, has
worked with many of the advertising agencies in Chicago over the
last decade. He said, "Chicago is a thriving center of excellence
for advertising so we're very excited about now being able to be
part of the community there. We will have a really talented team on
the ground and it will be easier than ever for local clients to tap
into the resources of our NY and LA office where it is
We look forward to being able to share more information as we
get closer to launch in 2013 so keep your eyes peeled for photos,
news and more next year.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Recently, New Yorkers have been shown their city as a
grim abstraction of itself. Amidst all these unfortunate and
disorienting views, Philip Stockton of Barbarian Group brings us
visual relief with his meditative love letter to the city 'New York: Day and
Night'. Mill Colorist and native New Yorker Sal Malfitano
was an integral collaborator on the project, "We wanted to
make the darkest points of the day time and night time meet so that
the exposure difference matched the shadow elements of both and the
transition between the two was seamless, highlighting the effect of
The film is a mind bending, two-toned balance between light
and dark. Covering different vantage points of New York, with each
composition interweaving day and night, we are shown the city
unlike we've ever seen it before. Each time-lapse shot was
stationed between four and eight hours to cover the passage of time
of say into night. In post, the architecture, people, even the
birds were rotoscoped by Stockton and selectively combined to
create a striking composite blending day and night into a single
The short film is a technical and timely
Friday, November 09, 2012
If you pass the news-stand today and something pink catches your
eye chances are it's Mill London Head of Print, Ross Urien's,
beautiful work. Her design is wrapping the eagerly anticipated
'Televisual Commercials 30 survey' which is out today.
Congratulations to all of our production company clients in the
Televisual Commercials 30 survey today and a huge thank you to
everyone putting us at the top of the most rated and most used post