The Mill Berlin | Justin Stiebel | The Story So Far

Since we opened our doors in Berlin back in November 2019, we have been focused on building the profile of the studio in the local market. We caught up with Justin Stiebel (Executive Producer, The Mill Berlin) to get an update on how things are going.
Thought May 18, 2020

Tell us about your role in opening The Mill Berlin studio

When I started working for The Mill in 2014, I moved from Germany to the UK with the intention to bring The Mill closer to the German market. The Mill has a long-standing history of creating brilliant work with German clients, but it was my goal and job to bridge this gap even more. In early 2018 we made the decision to further investigate the opportunities surrounding the German market and so The Mill Berlin started to take form. Later that same year, I moved to Berlin to start setting up, and in collaboration with Sean Costelloe we found the perfect studio space in Berlin Mitte, and the rest is history…


How many people are in the team? What is the working dynamic like?

There are nine of us in the team at the moment, small but powerful! The team dynamic works really well and being a smaller team means that we are all very close. Also, everyone on the team is new to Berlin, so we have all been supporting each other through the challenging and exciting process of moving to a new country. Every member of the team is vital and we are lucky to have such talented people on board.


Talk us through The Mill Berlin so far

It’s been an exciting journey so far with highs, lows and everything in between. From the very start, we knew that bringing on board the right creative talent was key to the success of the Berlin studio and at the heart of this was having an influential Creative Director to lead the studio and be responsible for our creative output. We were very happy that Greg Spencer decided to join us on this journey. With his wealth of experience, bad humour and good looks I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.

Once Greg came onboard, we went about building up our brilliant team and planning how we wanted the studio to function. It’s important to us to be able to work on multiple jobs and projects simultaneously. All of our artists at the Berlin studio are lead artists, which means we are able to lead projects from Berlin and collaborate with The Mill’s global network of artists for large scale projects, whenever required.

By November, the full team was on the ground in Berlin and we were fully operational! Since then we have been steadily producing great work including spots for Nivea, Tipico and Adelholzener, to name but a few. Most recently we’ve loved collaborating with Sebastian Strasser on a music video for Hot Chip and working on a European-wide campaign for the 2020 Mercedes GLA launch.


Are there any differences between the London and Berlin studios or is it a home from home?

It’s always been our goal to create a studio that feels every inch a part of The Mill, whilst still having its own unique attributes and identity. We work very closely with London and the other Mill studios and are proudly and unmistakably part of The Mill family. This said, we’ve put our own German spin on things, which hopefully reflects the vibrant advertising market and wealth of creativity that we’re so proud to be a part of, here in Berlin.

Copyright: © Jan Kapitän

What has your favourite part of working at The Mill Berlin been?

Building up the team and seeing everyone come together to create wonderful work has been truly inspiring. It’s amazing to see something that I have been excited about for such a long time finally come together and being close to clients, friends and family is very rewarding.


How was everything going with the studio pre-lockdown?

Super. We were busy working with Jung von Matt on several campaigns and putting the finishing touches to some other cool spots. We were also in the process of building a brand new colour suite, meaning we’ll soon be able to offer live attended telecine sessions to our local clients, in addition to The Mill’s full realm of capabilities. Pre-lock down the studio was busy with clients visits and the feedback on the studio has so far been really positive. It’s great to know that our clients enjoy our space as much as we do and we look forward to welcoming more visitors soon.


What have things been like since lockdown? 

Things have been running relatively smoothly for us. As we are a small team and we work from a cloud-based system everyone was able to transition quite seamlessly to working from home, something we are very grateful for! At The Mill we’re very fortunate to have an amazing team of experienced engineers who worked around the clock to transition all of The Mill’s global studios to home working, which all took place over the course of about a week. Berlin itself took to lockdown well with most people behaving and following the rules. It’s promising to see the country relaxing it’s social distancing measures and we’re happy to be out and about again!


How did the team adjust to working from home?

The team have taken brilliantly to working at home. We have daily chats which gives us a great opportunity to catch up on projects and other work-related matters, but also to check how everyone is getting on. We communicate very well as a team and are speaking about as regularly as we do in the office. This said, we are certainly all looking forward to seeing each other in person again soon.


You’re working back in the studio now, what’s that like and do you have any idea when the rest of the team will be able to join you?

Me and Stevie (our Production Assistant) are back in the office and really enjoying it, it’s nice to have a proper desk chair to sit on. The office feels quite empty without everyone else, but hopefully they should be able to join us at the beginning of June and we can start figuring out what our new normal looks like.


What is the team’s main focus right now?

We are always committed to creating extraordinary work, whatever the size or scale of the project and be it a collaboration with London or one of our three studios in the US. We are working on a couple of very cool projects and are focused on making sure these turn out perfectly. We are of course all excited about returning to the office and resuming our daily bahn-mi lunches.


How have our clients responded to the studio itself?

The past couple of months have been a bit disrupted (for obvious reasons!) but we are excited to now pick up where we left off. There are more clients & partners to welcome through our doors and take on a tour as soon as we can. We all enjoy hosting clients and creative partners in the studio and I believe that being able to discuss and exchange ideas in person really makes a difference when working together. Being able to cheers to a job well done is also a huge plus, auf Euch prost!


If you would like to speak to Justin or any of The Mill Berlin team, please contact: