Playlist
April 26th, 2013

The Mill Chicago might not have opened to a warm weather welcome, as snow storms battered the city, but the welcome from clients, agencies and the people of Chicago couldn't have been cosier. I caught up with three of Chicago's founding members to find out how they are settling into the home of deep dish and what they are finding in the windy city to inspire them.



Introducing… Andrew Sommerville, Producer


Andy 689x457 1


Tell me about your role at The Mill?


I'm a producer, which put simply means that I oversee and run projects that we have from start to finish. The day to day role itself varies depending on the complexity of the project and spans all areas of the Mill - 2D, 3D, design and content.

You've recently relocated to be part of the founding team of Mill Chicago, how did that come about?


I knew some of the team here through visiting Mill NY and had always had an ambition to work in the US. We don't open a new studio everyday and it seemed like a no-brainer to be involved in shaping something new. Also, Batman Begins made Chicago look cool.

Can you sum up The Mill Chicago in four words?


Sexy. Sexy. Sexy. Donuts.

What has been your finest Chicago discovery so far?


Cheese curds. More delicious than they sound.

Who and what inspires you?


This initial draft of this started off pretentiously. But then I realized that I was kidding myself, and the answer is probably just Batman again.

Introducing… DJ Miranda, Data Manager

Dj Miranda 690x458 2


Tell me about your role at The Mill?


I am the Data Manager at the Mill. It encompasses running the Data Lab and making sure all things are accessible to everyone who needs them while helping to maintain an organized structure/system. In addition to being the Data Manager I also work as a Telecine Assistant, Dispatch, and a MCR operator.

You've recently relocated to be part of the founding team of Mill Chicago, how did that come about?


Randy McEntee was pretty instrumental in this decision for me. I have worked with him for almost 5 years now and the conversation just came up in passing about us opening a Chicago office. I told Randy that the venture of Chicago would be interesting to me and to try something new and challenge myself is something I would like. He was quite surprised by this as I had spent my whole life in NY and haven't really strayed too far from the pack. I was very flattered by his surprise and excitement regarding me being interested in Chicago. I also decided that I wanted a change in my life and the opportunity to work with like minded people and start another creative arm of the Mill from the ground up was exciting to me. I figured if I was going to make a change what better time than now, with the company I have enjoyed working with since day one.

01 Flame Op 690x690 3


Can you sum up The Mill Chicago in four words?


NO I CAN NOT! Haha. I think if I had to try and provide a realistic answer to this question I would have to say The Mill Chicago is a group of genuine, creative, collaborative, and fun people.

What has been your finest Chicago discovery so far?


The people here are amazing. Simply put. It isn't as much of a discovery as it is an exposure to a culture of different people. The embrace the city has provided to all of us here so far has been wonderful and it has made the transition of moving from home quite easy.

Scooter 690x458 4


Who and what inspires you?


Family, and friends are great inspirations to me. I have a half sleeve of tattoo's dedicated to my family for their supportiveness in everything that I have done in my life.

Introducing… Bowe King, Head of Design

Bowe King 690x692 5


Tell me about your role at The Mill?


I came to The Mill over 3 years ago during the initial days of the Design department in NY. Seeing Design get off the ground in NY gave me an interesting perspective for building Design here in the Chicago studio. With being the Head of Design my main focus is to cultivate an atmosphere that breeds good design, but my day to day role can jump around a bit as do a lot of relevant artists' roles now a days. I think the days of being technically excellent with one thing are rapidly evaporating; now a days you have to be capable of using a range of industry tools while concurrently being able to develop strong creative opinions. Basically in a position like this you need to have an extremely wide view while also being able to jump in on the micro and focus on some of the details. The balance of those two points of view is one of the main things that attracted me about my role here.

You've recently relocated to be part of the founding team of Mill Chicago, how did that come about?


Well, having so much fun with the early development days in NY for Design, the prospect of not only developing a department but also a whole studio was too tantalizing to pass up. I think because of my initial involvement with NY Design, the Mill liked the idea of me be part of the founding team here, while personally I love being involved with the early days with a project like this. Every single person here is here for one reason; to make an ultra competitive studio that's fun to work in. There are no veils, no egos or attitudes, just an air of excitement and eagerness to go the extra mile. The idea of creating fantastic work while cultivating a creative atmosphere is something we all want to be part of. There can be situations when a group grows so large that you inevitably lose a sense of camaraderie and intimacy. I can say that across the board every person here wants to maintain that ultra strong sense of camaraderie that you only can get with the founding days of a studio.

02 Stairs 690x605 6


Can you sum up The Mill Chicago in four words?


Passion, Very Sexy Passion

What has been your finest Chicago discovery so far?


The people -Chicagoans love their city and expect a very high standard of living; other big cities can lose sight of a positive living experience (I can't tell you how many rage fights I've witnessed in the NY subway), but here people seem honestly happy and willing to take their time to do things right (except the drivers)!

The neighborhoods - Something I did not expect was the range of living options in such a close proximity. There are decadent high rise apartments right near 100 year old genuine converted warehouse lofts. There are beautiful brownstones and quiet streets in Old Town and converted firehouses in west loop. Plus brand new inspired architecture all with in a 5 mile radius!

The arts and creative - I'm in love with the amount of competitive art and architecture in this city, it's a totally different flavor from the East coast or West coast, Chicago definitely has its own creative personality.

But by far... the food - LA has some great restaurants, NY has some good chefs, but Chicago has blown me away with the amount of fantastic food available at any given moment. Finding great places to eat is one of my biggest passions; from casual Saturday afternoon finger food to primetime fine dining, so far this City is holding down the fort.

09 Offices 690x332 7


Who and what inspires you?


Passionate, honest and intelligent people. I can't stand laziness or pettiness. This industry demands a certain amount of personal dedication and no one wants to be involved with something that is spawned from fear or pettiness. Fear is definitely the destroyer of creativity so as long as you can surround yourself with honesty, creativity follows. Personally I try to see as much analog work as I can in order to offset the amount of digital work that I produce myself; live music, theatre and art installations are all major influences in the way I see my work. I make myself go to or be involved with at least one of these things a week, it doesn't sound like much but having consistent moments tactile things helps to keep my vision less digitally narrow.

Chicago Gang 690x475 8

Thanks Andy, Bowe and DJ for your fascinating insights. You can take a peek at the first work out of the Chi-suites here with Orbit 'Heights', Kraft 'Transformations' and Orbit 'Polo'.