What’s your favourite place in Bristol/this area?
There’s a little curved edge on the corner near the Arnolfini, and if you look across the water towards the giant giraffe cranes at the right time, the sun comes around the M-shed and it is quite stunning. Whether you’re a student hanging out there, dangling your legs over the edge with a cider, or you’re taking the baby for a stroll, that little spot is particularly special.
There are so many wonderful things about Bristol, things that just don’t exist anywhere else. It’s so unique.
What are you most proud of as a business?
There was a real sense of pride when we moved into our new premises. Every single time we’ve done something big, whether it was moving or buying a bit of kit, it’s always been such a morale booster, and we get re-energised. But moving into Temple Studios at the beginning of the year was so different because it was suddenly our space, we had this ownership that we hadn’t had before.
Overall, we’re proud of the fact that every step we’ve taken has led to the creation of something that’s been a benefit for someone, as well as being beautiful and enjoyable to watch. So, any little production whether it’s a small 30 second piece or a TV campaign, we’re massively proud of what we can actually create as a team.
What’s your favourite office gadget?
Everyone else’s favourite is probably the coffee machine or PlayStation, but mine is our old 1930s film projector. It was a prop for a TV ad we created. We were so happy because it actually works! We’ve got Tom and Jerry reels and these amazing documentaries from Africa; it’s absolutely incredible. It weighs a tonne… But I love that thing.
What exciting plans have you got coming up this year?
Historically, we’ve organically grown by one or two people a year, but with the amount of work that’s coming in that’ll be accelerating very soon. We’ve already taken on another animator and we’re currently advertising for a camera operator. By next year we might be a team of 10!
The investments we’ve made in kit this year will mean that we can really throw ourselves at some huge projects. We’ve also been working on our passion projects, one in particular that we’ve been creating looks into masculinity and it’s gone really deep. We’re hoping to push that towards a broadcast commission next year. And this is all under the assumption that we’ll survive the Christmas party in Athens!
Whose work do you admire and why?
Aardman’s work is beyond amazing. I went along to Nick Park’s ‘Cracking Conversations’ event recently, and I just have a huge admiration for someone who can imagine what he can and just create it. I think they are really leading the way in Bristol.
But there are so many incredible companies in the area that are doing new things, like the Ultrahaptics team.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
The best piece of advice I can give anyone is just keep swimming. You have no idea where any little decision might take you. If I could go back in time and speak to my younger self, I would definitely say chill out, everything will work out the way it’s meant to. There are certain things you have no control over, so why worry about it? Make mistakes and learn from them.
In terms of actually getting work, we get a lot of emails from people wanting work experience with us and that’s absolutely a great thing to do; but on the flip side, there’s no problem in just making your own stuff. You can build a great portfolio of work when you’re not making it for anybody but yourself. It’s good to show off your own individual offering.
What’s the biggest challenge your industry/organisation is facing at the moment?
The constant changing landscape in the world of content is a challenge, people are being told they should be doing certain things, producing content like video and suddenly they’re thinking they should be doing that. Rather than thinking ‘what’s the problem I’m addressing?’ As a production company, we’re navigating through all the noise. And there’s a lot of noise out there that isn’t contextually relevant to anything or anyone. The big challenge for us is cutting through that noise with original, authentic content that tells a story and will make a brand sing.
To check out the full member profile for Jones Millbank or get in touch with the team, click here.
Bristol Creative Industries is the membership network that supports the region's creative sector to learn, grow and connect, driven by the common belief that we can achieve more collectively than alone.