Our Film – ‘Project Lost Generation’ and the importance of being idle.
In January 2011, the producers of Future Artists decided to embark on a very big adventure and conceive of a very big idea, that would make up a project entitled ‘Project Lost Generation’, and got lost along the way.
Long term readers, supporters and fans of Future Artists have no doubt stumbled across this project, in some shape or form, on our Blog, trailers and interviews on our future artists You tube channels and even international press in the trades.
You are all thinking, where the hell is the movie! – and those of you that took part and supported, with cash, our crowd funding campaign last summer, are in an even more authoritive position to demand your movie! – because you paid for it!
And so, this Sunday morning, as the snow heaps up outside my house, I decided to spend an hour, writing about the challenges of Indy Film, the realities and where ‘Lost Generation’ is, I can assure you it’s a positive yarn, and will all end well,
read on reader….
‘Project lost generation’ was conceived as a film created around a manifesto, this manifesto would dictate production, for example, we are not allowed to use any more than 3 film lights in a scene (we lost a DOP because of this!) and we will shoot on Location and the actors will be responsible for their own make up and costume.
And the best one is, there will be a script, but it won’t be the script…. Yeah go figure, I came up with that one! We have a set of guidelines to produce something, but nobody really knows what it is.
This type of film-making is a non starter in our commercial film industry, and to be honest, if it was not for the total trust of the cast and crew, in me, Mark Ashmore Director and Producer, I guess the cast and crew would have walked long ago.
But with an artists mind as a guide, with the entire collapse of western capitalism as our backdrop and with a talented first time film-maker cast and crew producing this piece of film art, we have over the past 3 years produced and created some fantastic footage, great scenes and great performances, and we just need to edit this all together, complete a few key scenes, and we are ready for you to judge our endeavour.
So what has slowed the process down.
Well, from a business point of view, the way we wanted the film to reach an audience, has always been, via interaction between story teller and audience, cutting out the middle man of the traditional film industry, usually, a film is made, then the rights are sold to a distributor, and the distributor then sells it to the cinema, TV, shops to sell the DVD and itunes etc, for this service, they take a hefty cut, and it takes a long time for a film-maker to see any money back from this kind of deal, if any.
Also the distributor, has to like your film, you might have spent 3 years making it, but it might not fit in, with what they think the market wants, thus they won’t sell it, thus why risk buying it from you, – but in our business plan, we always intended to sell the film ourselves.
This has its draw backs, namely, to do this right, you have to learn a brand new industry, that of film-distribution, which is a career in its own right.
So over the past 2 years, Future Artists have become first time, successful distributors, we released the short film ‘Broken Britain’ on itunes, and sold the rights working with shorts international to TV stations in America, Turkey and France, and each quarter the film generates a small revenue for us the film-makers.
We also released the feature length documentary, ‘Invisible Circus: No Dress Rehearsal’ by director Naomi Smyth, into 20 cinema’s up and down the country (UK) and also did a successful run on DVDs and VOD, we also turned a profit in our first year of doing this, and learnt plenty from the experience. All of which has informed our plan of action when it comes to releasing ‘The Lost Generation’
We where rewarded for our hardwork with an award! The Dynamo doc award 2012, and also we gave a big presentation on new Indy film distribution at Sheffield Doc Festival in 2012 – to over 100 people in an old church! It was amazing.
We also ended up at Channel 4 and did a screening, this is me,
Naomi and Colin Campbell Austin at Channel 4 HQ in summer 2012
The distribution journey, took us through the new digital landscape, where we cut deals with major platforms like Dailymotion, iTunes, snagfilms and also got help with our theatrical release via Dogwoof (the uks number 1 doc distributer)
At the same time as doing this, yes people, at the same time!
Future Artists went in as partners with a venture to take over ‘the Black Lion’ pub in Salford, and turn it into a venue space,
a space that shared the ethos of Future Artists, and could nurture new talent, develop art and share this art on a regular basis with the general public, and so from Sept 2011 until January 2013, my main focus has really been on building up a venue space and running 6 creative offices at the Black Lion, running everything from the marketing across all platforms, to booking in theatre, film and events, to actually running them, for a lot of 2012 you would see me on the upstairs bar, at a wedding or a birthday or a clients function, doing the paperwork, advising creatives, and cleaning toilets!
This was a great journey, taught Future Artists alot and we also got GQ pub or the north 2012!
To the back end of 2012, I was able to with confidence, hand over the day to day duties of this venture to our events team, but this project had taken its toil on ‘Project Lost Generation’ as it was in hiatus for 7 months – We where due to conclude principal photography in December 2012, but one of our Key cast members landed a job on a BBC soap, and so would be unavailable for several months, so I had to debate a re-write of the end, writing her out, or wait.
All I did was get Idle, by the end of 2012 I was very tired, very stressed and still trying to maintain my energy levels, which where now gone.
Ive suffered from burn outs and anxiety attacks in the past, to the extent that ive had a couple of months off from it, and so when the signs are there, you now take action.
So I did.
Instead of doing any filming for ‘Lost Generation’ I instead devoted my time to getting things ready that I could complete without the need for a massive and expensive team, I started to build the digital infrastructure of the project.
So the back end of December was taken up with fixing up the website, working with the very talented Rob H, and getting hold of an Editing suite and the Avid so we can start cutting the film is January 2013 – I am pleased to say, all this was completed, and people are starting to see what the project is all about on http://www.projectlostgeneration.co.uk
Its now January 2013 – I’ve just moved house, as the place I was living in was turning into a John Carpenter movie, another life choice.
The edit suite is upstairs, and I have left the Black Lion, to focus on my film career, and now have the full support of ‘The Sharp Project’ the most innovative space and film studio in the UK, and its based in Manchester.
Lost Generation Trailer…
With confidence, I can now sit down and resume ‘the lost generation’, looking back over the process like a film student looking back over his work, thinking which bits he should submit and which bits he should hide, what I enjoy about my process, and it does have its pitfalls, is that it’s a public process, I create stuff, and I’m judged on that, the art, or in some cases, I my self is the one that is being judged –
but the thing that gets me though is that as long as the art is true and honest and the reason for doing something has the best intention, then people can judge, but it has no effect on me the artist, well maybe a little..
And so, I wanted to share, a few insights, into the creative process over the past couple of years, and explain the delay, my actions and the hard work it has taken 30 people to get to the point that you can almost see the project spring to life.
I want to see the project finished as much as you do, but I have learnt that life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and sometimes the importance of being idle, enables you time to think, rest and get ready to play.
Now please, enjoy the behind the scenes film, 8 minutes long and £1.99 – all proceeds will help us complete the project, and bring the film to a theatre near you.
Mark Ashmore – Director/ Producer Jan 2013 http://www.projectlostgeneration.co.uk