Tuesday, September 25, 2012
When rock legend Debbie Harry approached The Mill to create
content for Blondie's "Whip
it to Shreds" tour with Devo, we were honored and thrilled to
join her and the band on the road!
Mill NY and LA joined forces to create director/artist Rob
Roth's concepts for the LED wall display that set the dramatic
backdrop to their sold-out performances across the country. The
light display included a tribute to the infamous New York nightclub
Mother, a special nod to Debbie's friend Andy Warhol, and a "Death
Disco Mirrorball" for the encore.
Content for the show was a dynamic combination of 2D, live
action and 3D animation created for a variety of songs from the
band's extensive back catalog and featured imagery from Blondie's
music videos as well as personal archival footage from Chris
The Blondie LED wall design project furthers The Mill's growing
live performance and installation work, including the recent broadcast
and stage package for the Country Music Awards and the David Bowie
Life on Mars installation that debuted in Paris at La Gaîté
lyrique last year.
The "Whip it to Shreds" tour wraps up today in Chicago, but
Debbie will be stopping by The Mill to share stories with our team
next week. Check back in to watch our upcoming interview with the
Monday, September 24, 2012
Pepsi "Bad25" is the latest collaboration between Director Marco
Brambilla and Senior Flame artist Westley Sarokin.
Pepsi celebrates the 25th anniversary of the original Bad album
and the release of the newly remixed album. After many tireless
searches through the extensive catalog of MJ music videos,
commercials, movies, and concert footage, we ended up with 11 of
his iconic moves, and up to 59 layers of concert stages, lights,
crowds…more lights, more crowds, some lasers and glitter for good
measure. The result is a kaleidescopic cathedral of classic
The commercial premiered during BET's television special "BAD25
- The Short Films Of Michael Jackson", a two-hour tribute to the
industry-redefining short films from the multi-platnum
Thursday, September 20, 2012
When it comes to shining the spotlight on a good cause, at The
Mill L.A. there is no flicker or fade. To welcome the Fireflies
'West' at the Mill Culver City Studio, over a thousand top industry
members and celebrity guests turned up to greet, share stories and
celebrate, and all - on a school night.
The Fireflies 'West' annual fundraising ride made their way along
the scenic but challenging West coast travelling for 6 days and
over 550 miles on their pedals from San Francisco. To-date the
Fireflies have raised an impressive 2 million dollars to benefit
the Leuka Charity, Hammersmith Hospital and City of Hope Hospital
in search for a cure.
The Mill, fireflies and guests partied into the night amidst
striking video installations of the recent VMA "America Anywhere"
photography and art featuring the unusual but captivating beauty of
some of America's most remote and mystic locales.
A Chest Drum interactive suite allowed partygoers to test their
musical skills by playing no other than Old Spice Terry Crews'
muscles, bringing to life the instant hit campaign with a bang and
For those who were not able to make it, join us in raising a toast
to the brave riders. You can check out our phantom photo booth at
and photos from the event below.
We look forward to seeing you again next year!
To learn more about the Fireflies and their journey, visit: www.fireflieswest.com
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
On Tuesday evening D&AD celebrated its 50th Birthday at the
Battersea Evolution space. In fact lots of 50s were celebrated - 50
years of design and advertising, 50 years of history, 50 years of
awards and all to the dress code of 50 years of glamour. And don't
forget the 1950's vintage red car that became a bar for the
The evening kicked off with the 2012 D&AD awards presentation,
in which amongst others AMV and Independent Films' Doritos 'Dip
Desperado' project which we worked on, scooped a pencil for Best TV
and Cinema Advertising (watch Esteban in action here). As did Barnardos' 'Life Story',
where we collaborated with BBH and Rattling Stick, take another
There were also some very special award categories created for the
big event (Most Awarded Ad Agency / Design Studio / Production
Company / Brand / Art Director / Copywriter / Designer / Director)
recognising the companies or individuals that had won the most
pencils in D&AD history. Champagne glasses were raised to CDP,
the Most Awarded Ad Agency, Gorgeous received the laurel for Most
Awarded Production Company; whilst industry legends Frank Budgen
and Tony Kaye, who we have worked with for so many years, were the
well deserving joint winners of the Best Director pencil.
We are thrilled to be especially recognised for the unique role
we have played in advertising over the last 22 years, by being
featured as the only post-production house in the Most Awarded
Production Company category.
Our contribution to the evening also saw our animated graphics
bring the night to life across 4 massive screens, complete with
surround sound. Collaborating with D&AD, our team delivered the
branded intro and outro sequences and all idents introducing the
categories, nominees and winners, as well as commissioning the
sound design for the graphic animated content with Pitch &
Sync and David Ayers.
Here's the behind the scenes of how we did it.
We would say roll on next year, but in this case roll on the
next half century!
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
The touching P&G spot "Best Job" which aired during the 2012
Olympics shone the spotlight on no other but champion moms.
Directed by Anonymous Content's Alejandro González Iñárritu for
Wieden + Kennedy the spots feature VFX and telecine by The Mill
It's the little things that can make the difference between
ordinary and extraordinary."Best Job" pays tribute to tireless moms
around the world raising the next generation of world
"Director Alejandro González Iñárritu created a unique movie-like
narrative for the spots which is quite moving," shares The Mill LA
3D Lead Artist Nick Lines. "Even in rough cut I remember they had
an unusually strong impact on the entire team."
The "Best Job" spots feature real life children athletes cheered
on by CGI stadium crowds of thousands. It reminds us of all the
hard work and determination that goes into every victory, no matter
how big or small.
The Mill L.A. offers our warmest congratulations to our partners
at W+K, Anonymous Content and P&G for the well earned award.
For many more!
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Country stars Luke Bryan and The Band Perry's Kimberly Perry
hosted the 2012 CMA Music Festival on ABC accompanied by
high-impact design by The Mill L.A. The event, which began in 1972,
started airing on prime time in 2004 and has a tradition of
showcasing the hottest country performers and rising stars.
Working with One Music Circle South, The Mill design team
delivered an entire broadcast and stage package, complete with new
logo and hero screens. Themed "Country's Night to Rock" the
festival took place in Nashville, Tenn.
The three-hour ABC TV special highlights the biggest
performances and behind-the-scenes moments of CMA Fest. "Our goal
with this project was to bring the glamour and excitement of the
live CMA Fest to screens and homes across the country," shares The
Mill Producer Jessica Ambrose.
Amazing performances, backstage peeks and a crowd buzzing with
enjoyment drew in primetime TV viewers across America. Performers
include The Band Perry, Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Faith Hill, Alan
Jackson, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina
McBride, Scotty McCreery, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Blake
Shelton, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban.
Rock on country!
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The Mill's four Fireflies West participants have been on quite
the journey as they cycle toward the final 550th mile of the
charity ride down the classic northern California coastline from SF
to LA to benefit Leukaemia research.
The kick-off was breakfast on day one courtesy of Goodby
Silverstein and along the way they've encountered tastings at
strawberry farms, a great lunch in Carmel and the rolling hills of
Big Sur where they stopped to take in all the grandeur of the
scenic route. From rain to misty clouds to sunny breezes, check out
some of the gorgeous images from their journey below!
Photos from the arrival party in L.A. as the ride concludes are
just around the corner…
Monday, September 17, 2012
The sporting Olympics may be over in London, but there's no time
to be glum as serious style hits the streets for London Fashion
Week. Earlier in the year the British Fashion Council launched a
nationwide search for emerging film-making talent, to participate
in their mentoring programme. The winner of this scheme was Abbie
Stephens, who as a result has created a film for leading
British designer Emilio de la Morena's spring/summer 2013
Lodge, in conjunction with Emilio and the BFC, created a film
brief and treatment guide which was then disseminated through
social networks, schools and universities to invite submissions.
From a long list the Fash/On Film panel, including film maker and
curator Kathryn Ferguson and Vogue UK Creative Director Jaime
Perlman, selected Abbie to shoot the film. To provide a real
career-changing opportunity, the entrant criteria stated that
applying directors could not be a signed or represented and they
had to have less than two years paid commercial experience.
The final product was a true team effort with support from a large
number of organisations making it a reality. Panalux provided
lighting, Arri supplyed a camera package, MAC sent a make up artist
for the day and Toni & Guy provided a hair stylist. (And of
course, the grade was done by Luke Morrison here) All of the crew
involved also provided Abbie with mentoring support both
technically and creatively.
Abbie's Fash/On film premiered at London Fashion Week @ Somerset
House on Friday alongside other curated fashion films from
designers including Mulberry and Louis Vuitton.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Little Red is the debut animated short film from directing duo
Silsoe Mouse of Upstart Films. They joined forces with The
Mill's Henry Foreman and Bob Wolf for the animation, then Aubrey
Woodiwiss for the grade, to create this visually striking
Before Little Red hits the festivals, I caught up with Silsoe
Mouse who revealed the thought, skill and challenges that went into
The full-length film will premier on our Vimeo
Channel on Friday, so be sure to head over and be one of the
first people to view and more importantly, share, this fairytale
Tell us about Little Red…
Little Red is our first full animation project. It is based on the
classic Little Red Riding Hood tale and is not that different from
the original story. Let's just say that nowadays, the wolves are a
little bit more organized than they used to be.
How did the team come together?
We shot the plates of the forest first and added basic silhouettes
in after effects so that we had the frame compositions and mood
ready. We approached The Mill with a rough assembly of the film and
they liked it enough to get involved. The Mill enhanced the
animation and added their own magic and took the overall look to
the next level.
How did you approach the project?
Regarding both the animation and the storytelling, we wanted to be
as efficient and minimal as possible. Classic fairy tales like this
play on the imagination - if you tell the story to a child you tend
to work with the basic framework and embellish the details
yourself. We felt that silhouettes are minimal enough to allow this
space for the audience to get involved and so were the perfect way
of re-telling this classic story.
What inspired the film?
We had shot the back plates for the forest for another project but
they didn't really work for the feel of that piece. We loved the
look so much that we didn't want those shots to go to waste and so
were looking for a story set in a forest which could work with
simple animation. The rest came about very organically from
Talk us through the skills and technology used to create
this visually stunning animation style?
We built the forest using a glue gun and lots of twigs! It wasn't
very big so we used macro lenses to increase the scale and the very
narrow depth of field these lenses can give served to enhance the
characters' movement within the frame. The rest was computer
Fairytale's have been a real trend across cinema (Snow
White and The Huntsman, Mirror Mirror), & television (Grimm,
Once Upon a Time) this year. How difficult is it to bring a unique
slant to such a beloved story?
It's not just fairy tales that present this problem. Genre is so
strong in cinema and there is so much content out there that you
are always trying to 'put a spin' on any story you tell. Because we
were doing this film for ourselves initially we didn't have to
spell out exactly where we were going with it but could trust the
process to bring us to a place that was more interesting.
What are the next steps for the film?
The film has been entered in several film festivals. We are
looking at opportunities to exhibit the film to generate awareness
for Silsoe Mouse and all the production team. We know that most
people will probably see it on a computer screen but hope that we
will get a chance to show it on a cinema screen where the size of
the picture and surround sound make it so much more immersive.
Head over to Vimeo on Friday where the film launches, but for
now here's a first look at the trailer...
Friday, September 14, 2012
Four members of The Mill's team will leave on their annual
charity cycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to support the
The City of Hope Cancer Research Hospital in LA. The Fireflies West
is a companion event to the original Fireflies ride across Europe
from Geneva to Cannes through the French Alps where a group of
advertising professionals cycle to benefit Leukaemia research each
Jeff Robins and Anna Toyama from the New York office and Tara
DeMarco from LA are all riding the 550 mile journey. Ben Hampshire
(co-founder of the ride) is taking a sabbatical from cycling this
year and will be driving one of the crucial support vehicles.
The Mill is proud to sponsor this ride for the 6th year in a row
and will be throwing the arrival party in Los Angles as the ride
concludes. Stay tuned for photos. For those
who suffer, we ride!