People of CLT, meet Mark Ashcraft, a creative, analytical content creator who puts himself out there for his love of Charlotte, believing Charlotte can become an even greater city through sincere collaborations. Despite being business savvy, Mark sees the limitations that comes with being purely agenda driven. He seeks those who are authentic to create trustworthy relationships and amazing content.
How did you first become involved with the social media scene of Charlotte?
I started posting pictures of the Charlotte skyline and notice that I would get reposted a fair amount from bigger Charlotte accounts. So, I then branched out by learning more about social media, pivoting towards video. A picture is wonderful and is worth a thousand words, but a video injects you into the image and really captures the human emotions of group interactions that a picture can sometimes miss. And that's how my video storytelling began!
How long have you been putting content out about Charlotte?
Skyline pics: 1 year
First food pic: Aug 19th, 2017
First video: Oct 17th
Who was your first feature?
Rich Moyer of Two Scoops Creamery and Hoppin’ gave me my first break. I walked into Two Scoops one day, pitched my ideas, the team was onboard, and we are still creating awesome content today!
What discerning qualities must each post embody?
Always have an authentic imagine with an interesting environment and atmosphere. Production value is everything. Every minor detail, especially backgrounds, need to be intentional and add value to the message of the image.
Any creative partners?
Currently, a content creator at Eat-Work-Play-CLT providing photo/video and article reviews of Charlotte restaurants. It has been amazing teaming up with such talented creative minds. I also have to mention my Husky, Maya, who is 2.5 years old, has her own Instagram account @MayaAshcrafttheHusky, and likes to show people her favorite dog friendly Charlotte spots.
If you need ideas on where you can hang out with your pup, check out her Instagram. I also have to shoutout Cody Hughes, a Charlotte photographer, who takes amazing skyline pictures and is always down to rep the QC.
Favorite venues in Charlotte?
The Daily, Hoppin, Sycamore, Midwood Smokehouse, The Workman’s Friend, Haberdish, Heirloom, Dot Dot Dot, Hyde/Suffolk Punch, Zeppelin, and The Dog Salon (was featured on the CW's 10 o'clock news for dog friendly places in Charlotte).
Now that you have spent some time highlighting and writing about Charlotte, what have you appreciated the most?
New friendships and connections! There is a noticeable positive energy in the Charlotte creative scene that is intoxicating and so welcoming. I will only work with people who want to see others do well and succeed. Good vibes only.
What have you had to figure out to be successful in your career and ambitions?
You have to believe that you can. No matter how difficult something may seem, your belief, intent, words, will all manifest and either help or hurt your goal. I also had to figure out how to best use my ADHD and dyslexia to my advantage. For instance, when I write, I write using my own innate rules, quickly capturing my stream of consciousness and not writing in any particular order or following any particular rules. I found freedom and success when I stopped trying to fit into a mold and figured out how to make things work my own way. AHDH and dyslexia help me see the world in different way, a more detailed way, and I use this gift to capture imagines and ideas.
Any advice for others wanting to tell an engaging story on social media?
Start with a good song/music, connect music to an emotion, and make sure that emotion conveys the message you want to tell with your images.
We heard you were born in a place where no one is born?
Ha! Yes, I am a Charlotte native! Born in Charlotte Presbyterian Hospital.
Charlotte is obviously a growing city. How do you feel about the changes taking place here?
I am proud of Charlotte's transitional growth. The city was a bankers' town and not much else. We are now about to break through with a national face for Charlotte. This is a fascinating time for our city, especially for anyone in the media realm who is contributing to crafting Charlotte's story.
How do you reference Charlotte's growth?
Charlotte has the highest millennial population growth in the US. This means a booming younger generation with new ideas and the means of creating those ideas like never before. Visually, I reference Charlotte’s growth to how the Panthers were once shown on TV versus now; with each year of growth, we see a wider angle of Charlotte that captures the city. When the Panthers first appeared on TV, the media would only show the stadium because there wasn't much else.
What makes Charlotte unique?
I love that we are not predominately one culture; we are the melting pot of the South. With so many different people from different places, a ton of creative ideas and people can come together to maker Charlotte even greater. We have many local businesses that continue to drive a creative force here. I love local businesses and the flavor they give the city.
How do you think about Charlotte through a macro and micro lens?
Macro goals: how do we better promote Charlotte? What's great about Charlotte is that no one is from from here. As a result, we don't have a predominant culture; we can be whatever we want. I like to ask the question: how do we best promote Charlotte in order to break through to the national scene?
Micro goal: local business feeds the macro goal. How can we best promote and support local businesses here?
What are you currently reading?
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. What makes successful people successful? People have a misconception that successful people have something innately different or unique that only successfully people have. I believe that this quality lies within everyone and all you have to do is find it in you. Every one of us can do something extraordinary. Just stop, identify within yourself what it is that you want to do, and execute.
Do you ever grow tired of creating content for social media?
Someone once asked me: when does this stop, when are you done? There's no end to it. Hopefully, the projects just keep getting bigger and bigger. I enjoy sharing the way I view the world around me.