Future Artists – Conference / Talks and Workshop Information

by Asha

Future Artists – Conference / Talks and Workshop Information

Introduction To Future Artists & Mark Ashmore FRSA

TO BOOK E-MAIL [email protected] ‘SUBJECT: TALKS’

future artists studio

Future Artists was founded in 2009, with a mission to be an artist-led film studio – inspired in part by the company, United Artists, founded by Charlie Chaplin and LucasFilm founded by George Lucas.

Our mission statement is “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible”, Frank Zappa.

This statement is at the centre of everything we do: making award-winning short films; being one of the first companies to publish a digital interactive ebook; completing four feature films that have gone on to critical and commercial success in the UK; up until the present day, where in 2015 we released the first original content commission by Dailymotion, a project entitled PORTAL to its 250 million monthly users. This Dailymotion commission has since been picked up for Season 2 and a potential remake for the US market.

Along the way we have built up a global network of fans and supporters, who have crowdfunded  to the tune of over £100,000 on a variety of projects. From converting an old Salford pub into a digital media and arts centre with its own cinema, to 2014 as a branch of Future Artists took over all the events, marketing and digital at The Great Northern Warehouse – a 70 million pound leisure complex in central Manchester. The latter, Great Northern Warehouse, Future Artists, within 6 months using the skills honed on over 100 projects across various platforms, have played a part in what is fast becoming a creative northern powerhouse in the heart of the city.

future artists vs GQ

The Black Lion – Converted a Pub into an arts centre – Image GQ Magazine 2012.

future artists great northern warehouse NEW PLAYHOUSE WIDESHOT

Pop up theatre at the Great Northern Warehouse – 2014

It’s not all success either – in the early days, as the company stretched its ambitions with little business knowledge, Future Artists has faced near wipe out twice. It is because of what we do and how we do it that these failures are now part of our successes.

CEO and Creative Director Mark Ashmore, founded Future Artists in 2009 with a clear vision of connecting an audience directly to the artist, and connecting artists to each other to create a unified network of Future Artists. Mark is available (schedule dependent, of course!) for talks, conferences and workshops, believing that the best way to share the mass amount of knowledge Future Artists has gained is to distribute via teaching.

Below are four key themes that Mark Ashmore can share, please feel free to request other topics if they are not specified.


  • Social Entertainment – A New Genre For Digital Storytellers

  • Why Low Budget Filmmaking Should Not Mean Small Filmmaking

  • Digital Content Distribution

  • Creative Startups and Startup Culture / Co-ops and Social Enterprise.


Social Entertainment – A New Genre For Digital Storytellers

1hr key note or a full day workshop

What is social entertainment?

A project that enables the audience to participate and engage at a social or community level, it might allow the audience to make it a ‘kind of’ hobby. Participation is required at some level of the project to allow the story to progress.

Examples :

Projects with a clear call-to-action, which may be funded by a community. The project could be made by a collective of individuals who meet via the inception of the project.

The finished work is then distributed peer-to-peer using social and web based media, independent or commercial video players (if a film) or via Stream (if a game) etc. The project can be promoted via a network created by the project’s production cycle or integrated into a collective’s network, both online and offline (via event based events, pop up screenings etc).

Mark Ashmore’s talk will look at the 4 distinct phases of achieving a social entertainment project, as well as the skill and mindset required to achieve this, and the framework of a business model and cash flow.

Social Entertainment is a product type developed by Future Artists based on over 10 live projects created within this arena. The media and film industry often refer to this type of project as being ‘transmedia’, but Future Artists believe that an audience-friendly label will allow for greater participation.

future artists vs sheffield doc festival

Mark Ashmore’s curated panel at Sheffield Doc Festival in 2013 – on the future of film distribution.

Why Low Budget Filmmaking Should Not Mean Small Filmmaking

1hr key note or Full day workshop

Future Artists have produced two feature films and acted as executive producer for an additional two. All films have been theatrically distributed in the UK and abroad, sold as a retail DVD, and available to view globally on VOD and SVOD – all projects have been a critical and commercial success.

the lost generation mark ashmore film

The Lost Generation 2013

future artists portal mark ashmore

Portal 2015

By using the case studies of ‘The Lost Generation’ 2013 and ‘Portal’ 2015, both projects created for under £100,000 in the UK, Mark Ashmore (co-producer and director on both projects) will be leading you through a variety of questions today’s filmmakers are asking of the industry. Why, with the advancements of digital technology, crowd sourcing locations, costumes and props, alongside an active and supportive creative network at Future Artists, do your first attempts at feature filmmaking need to be small films set in minimal locations and small casts? The counterargument is more important when looking to make that breakthrough – how you must think and act like a pioneer, inventing your own distinct way of working that will enable your creativity to shine.

The talk will cover such topics as :

Creativity costs nothing, but the talent to deliver this does £££ – how to get the most out of what you have, and find what you need.

Working with your audience – how crowdsourcing is the key to making a big budget film with a tiny cash flow.

Why 12 days and 12 crew is the perfect indie film production schedule.

Sponsorship and in-kind support – how to approach a backer and how NOT to!

Script is king – how to manage a project and why the modern producer and director need to be entrepreneurs, as well as why film school graduates could be set up to fail.

Portal – Exclusive Behind the scenes making of… by futureartists



Digital Content Distribution

Half the battle is making the film, book, album or artwork – but the distribution of an artform to the audience is the next battle. Is the creator ready for this battle?

Digital stores and market places that allow you to place your product/ project in front of millions of people, as part of a global marketplace, is now as easy as texting – however to connect with your audience, for them to purchase or even view free products in such a noisy crowded market place is getting harder and harder. As marketing budgets rocket to become more expensive than the product itself, how does the indie creator compete and how do they carve out a living in this so-called digital utopia?

In this talk, Mark Ashmore will demonstrate case studies from Future Artists across a variety of media, from the first Ebook, to releasing feature films and trying to beat the pirates. This talk will cover how to build up your audience and your network, find your supporters and champions, and will give you the drive to beat the Hollywood marketing system!

future artists itunes drowned city

Drowned City Released 2014 by Future Artists.

Creative Startups and Startup Culture / Co-ops and Social Enterprise

Future Artists was born out of frustration and a genuine need for something new. At the same time as the financial systems around the world collapsed, when everyone was going out of business, we decided to start ours.

Founded in 2009 by an actor and director, with no proven business record and a loan from The Prince’s Trust, of £2500 – Mark was eligible because he is dyslexic and at the time, lived in a socially deprived area of Salford – Future Artists was born. If we knew then, what we knew now… well, that’s what this talk is all about!

Looking at today’s startup culture, with its sexy, cool table-tennis tables and slides – tax incentives for the rich who can invest in tech startups, but whose capital must be spent within a year to activate the tax rebate incentive to the creative credit, now accessible to all creative industries.

Mark Ashmore takes a realistic look at how Future Artists has grown over 6 years, while a new breed of company and culture has at the same time come to represent how the creative industries is seen. Through adventures in crowdfunding and crowdsourcing, to landing the big deal, to near bankruptcy – doing everything you can to survive.

Future Artists tells it how it is and why a business should always be a social enterprise if it is working with people.

starbucks vs future artists

Future artists vs starbucks

Share this

© 2022 Future Artists Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited.