Meet the Midwest Team | 60 seconds with Executive Producer Blake Nickle

Community May 22, 2023

Tell us about your role as an Executive Producer and your journey at The Mill that has led you to this position. 

I joined The Mill as an Executive Producer five years ago, this summer. I am a bit of a Swiss army knife here and like to work across all of our disciplines, engaging in projects that include VFX, Live Action, Design, and Experience. Having this broad approach has allowed me to really focus much of my energy working directly with brands to help develop, grow and produce amazing creative.

What are some of your favorite projects you’ve been a part of in Chicago?

When you work at The Mill it quickly becomes hard to name your favorite project, given how amazing The Mill team is and how far we are able to push projects creatively. If I had to pick a couple, I’d start with the work we did for Art On The Mart, which is the largest permanent project mapping canvas in the world. We worked hand in hand with the AOTM team to bring to life their pieces for Pride Month and Fourth of July. We also partnered with The Joffrey Ballet to help bring the Nutcracker to life for the AOTM winter program.

Another favorite project I was lucky to work on was putting Tony the Tiger on the Late Show using real-time rendering tools. As many people have heard, character animation is my jam and being able to leverage technology to allow for something like having Tony sit for an “in-person” interview was awesome. Sitting in the crowd and seeing the audiences audible excitement about seeing Tony in that chair on the monitors was the chef’s kiss.

How do you want to shape the next generation of production at The Mill?

For me it is pretty straightforward, you need to love working in the craft we do at The Mill to be successful. What we do, I call a craft, and a very unique one at that. We blur the line between creative and technology. It’s a mighty challenge, but one that I find very rewarding. I try to implore on the next generation that the only way you’ll find success is if you truly want to throw yourself at it. This means that you never stop being a student of our craft. You need to constantly be learning, updating concepts, changing methodologies, etc. We are all creative and everyone loves to be creative, but it is the person who challenges themself to chase different and new approaches in ways to bring creative to life, that finds the most success.

What do you love most about working at The Mill?

I love being part of a team of artists, technologists, producers, etc. that are constantly recognized for being the best in the world for what we do. I also just happen to be lucky enough to call many of them friends. The artists and projects I’m surrounded by are inspiring and push me to be better at my craft. I find it nice to see things others are doing within The Mill and still be awed and ask ‘how’d they do that’?

What is your favorite thing about the city of Chicago?

Being surrounded by friends and family, while still being able to grow within the industry I love. My wife and I are both from the Midwest, so having the opportunity to continue push the best creative, while still being around the people I love the most and letting my 3 kids see both grandparents regularly, is awesome. Also, I will be cliche, but it is so true, Chicago is the city that Summer loves most. Summertime in Chicago is 2nd to none.

Let’s collaborate! Get in touch with our Midwest team here.