Mill Thought | Executive Producer Zu Al Kadiri on Longform Content at The Mill

We caught up with Executive Producer Zu Al Kadiri on Longform Content at The Mill.
Thought June 29, 2020

EP Zu Al Kadiri

The market in which The Mill operates is rapidly evolving. The interruption, linear, model of advertising is changing. With the rise of commercial-free streaming platforms, consumers aren’t watching ads like they used to. To stay relevant and impactful in this new media landscape, brands must produce work that consumers want to both see and interact with.


It’s because of this shift, in part, that we are seeing a rise of brands using emerging technologies to interact with their consumers. AR/VR/MR have all seen their rise in popularity as brands search for democratized emerging technology platforms (such as Facebook’s AR studio) to offer up heightened ways to connect with their audiences.


With millions of eyes on the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, there is also an opportunity, particularly as the industry revives itself post-Covid-19, to explore longform content opportunities.  We have the ability to support brands to tell more involved stories, and would be remiss not to explore opportunities within those spaces.


Branded longform content has been a part of the advertising industry since the advent of the soap opera, however the rise of streaming platforms offers an opportunity to rethink how we engage within this space. We’re already working with the likes of IBM, EA and others on developing longform content that goes beyond the sale of goods and services, and touches on relevant community matters in an attempt to form a deeper connection with their particular audiences.


Over the recent years, The Mill’s end-to-end capabilities have evolved beyond post-production to include the strategic development and execution of projects across linear film, immersive and interactive content (You can read more about this evolution in Stephen Venning’s article ‘The Evolution of Mill Direction’). What this means is we are now able to offer our brand partners a range of content, including longer form as components of multi touch campaigns across linear, digital and experiential mediums. We are excited to ideate and develop ideas alongside our partners from strategic concept to execution – always striving to create the extraordinary.


We not only have a responsibility to our brand partners, we also want to support our internal talent to hone their skills in these spaces.  Whilst many of them developed their craft creating short-form linear content for TVC’s and online advertising, we are increasingly supporting  a number of Mill directors and creatives as they develop ideas and IP leveraging emerging, longer format and interactive platforms.  With the Mill’s support a number of them have developed inspiring short films and such as ARXIV, Product Recall and Yellow. Will McGregor, a long standing Mill director, just completed his first feature ‘Gwen’ which enjoyed critical success, in addition to his episodic content (His Dark Materials, One of Us and Poldark).


Short-form streaming platforms offer another compelling stepping-stone for both brands and filmmakers. Platforms such as Quibi are capitalizing on our short attention spans and attachment to our smartphones, by developing bitesize content for small screens – a hugely exciting creative arena for our Mill Directorial talent to flex their creative muscles, and for which some are already ideating content.


So while the 2020 thus far has been incredibly unsettling and difficult on a number of levels, we sincerely believe the future looks bright for the Mill’s directorial talent to flourish in this new content landscape. We have all the talent and tools to continue to move people with the moving image as we’ve done for 30 years – in whatever form, on whatever platform.


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