Jared Yeater has visited and done business in Chicago “many, many times,” he says, and in mid-February he will take up permanent residency as the executive producer of The Mill Chicago.
The new Chicago branch of the international visual effects and design company officially opens March 4, within The Whitehouse’s River North offices, with a staff comprised of “a few persons from each of our three offices,” says Yeater.
He described them as “12 of the most talented people doing the best work ever” – and having work awaiting them upon their arrival.
Finding staff that was willing to move to the Chicago start-up was the least of Yeater’s problems. “They enthusiastically wanted to move to Chicago from Day One,” Yeater says.
“The European-based talent did a quick Wikipedia search and besides discovering it’s physically a windy city, they learned of its reputation as a thriving American city that’s as international as any city in the world.”
By mid-February the staff and equipment will be place, with The Mill occupying 5,000-sq. ft. of The Whitehouse’s 16,000-sq. ft. two-story open space.
The Whitehouse executive producer, Dan Bryant, is anticipating their new colleagues arrival, noting that “collaboration will afford the Chicago market the opportunity to access the best available talent across editorial, visual effects, color and finishing in an efficient and seamless workflow.”
Yeater expects the staff to grow to 20 or 30 over the following 18 months to 20 or 30 people. “We’ll see where the growth is needed and handle it accordingly,” he says. “After we establish our culture we definitely intend to hire local talent … and grow talent by hiring from schools.”
Yeater, The Mill New York’s deputy head of production, was chosen to lead the new branch by The Mill’s co-founders CEO Robin Shenfield and managing director Alistair Thompson. In 2002, Thompson moved to New York to open the company’s first US branch, with the L.A. office following in 2006.
Moving in with The Whitehouse was more than a practical decision. “Our companies started over 20 years ago around the corner from each other in London, and we have always shared the same creative sensibilities,” says British expat The Whitehouse partner/editor Matthew Wood.