Social Media for today's Screenwriter
Updated: Apr 30
This may be the most comprehensive article of our 10-part Screenwriting Staffing industry series, but for a good reason. It could easily be the most important investment you make in your screenwriting career -- and it doesn't cost you a penny. To stay current, join our mailing list.
There are numerous screenwriting websites available on the internet that aid in your discovery, help your screenplays receive recognition, and provide a platform for connecting with industry professionals and potential buyers. Screenwriting Staffing is just one of these platforms. While some of these sites are worth the investment in terms of both time and money, others may not be as valuable. Screenwriting requires a significant investment of not just financial resources but also time.
Social media takes a lot of time. But it doesn’t cost you a penny.
What prevents numerous screenwriters from harnessing the potential of social media? Could it be introversion, egotism, or perhaps fear?
What if I told you a screenwriter sold their first screenplay through a rant and tweet exchange over Twitter? "You Might Be the Killer" morphed into a supernatural slasher feature film after being discovered on Twitter. It made its debut on Shudder on December 2018, followed by a DVD and Blu-ray release on February 2019. Read the article on the New York Post: full article here.
During the TheWrap’s annual media conference, Jason Newman, a Producer at Untitled Entertainment, said this about casting:
“If I have two actors up for the same role and it’s between actor A and B, and actor B has 2 million followers across all social media platforms, and actor A has 20 million… we know if we convert one and a half to two percent of their social media following to buyers, I’m hiring that person.”
Do you believe that having a significant social media following and online activity is only relevant for those in the spotlight? Is it possible that producers, film festivals, distributors, buyers, sales agents, directors, and studios do not take into account a writer's online presence, social media following, and fan base? Allow me to enlighten you that they do take it into consideration -- albeit to a varying degree -- during the hiring and buying process.
Movie theaters are dying. It’s sad. So, where are a majority of companies and distributors making back their money? Social Media. When was the last time you heard someone say they were unveiling over a dozen original shows?
How about Snapchat.
In 2018, Snapchat launched 12 original shows. We are not talking about children producing content. We are talking about producers and creators behind projects like FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS. They were short, original, and could be streamed straight from your phone. The complete article can be found on Tech Crunch's website: full article here:
DIGDAY reported at the close of 2018 that Meredith was creating 10 original programs for Instagram's IGTV. Andrew Snyder noted that due to the platform's growing stage, it presented a valuable chance to create programming tailored to the format and gain a prominent foothold.
According to a report by Hollywood Reporter in 2022, TikTok plans to release an eight-part comedy series created by Jericho Mencke. Users will have the option to subscribe to the season for $4.99. Unlike typical short-form videos on TikTok, each episode of the series will be 30 minutes long, which could attract more viewers interested in consuming longer and more monetizable content within the app.
Many television programs have achieved recognition and popularity after being first discovered through online platforms or social media. Here are some noteworthy examples:
One of the most thrilling shows to me is WORKAHOLICS. One of its creators, Kyle Newacheck, was my film editing teacher during my second month of college. He used his web series, which hadn't been picked up by anyone, as footage for us to practice editing. We had no idea it would grow into something bigger.
WORKAHOLICS, like many comedy shows in the early 2010s, had its start in online production. It began as a web series before being adapted for Comedy Central. The creators and stars of the show originally formed a comedy group called Mail Order Comedy and produced sketches for social media platforms such as YouTube and MySpace. Their work eventually caught the attention of Comedy Central, leading to the development of the television show.
Broad City - The highly acclaimed comedy series, created by Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, started as a web series on YouTube in 2009. The show quickly gained a substantial following, which led to a partnership with Comedy Central in 2014.
Insecure - Starring and created by Issa Rae, the show originally began as a web series called "Awkward Black Girl" in 2011 and gained popularity on YouTube. HBO took notice and picked it up as a full series in 2016.
High Maintenance - This comedy series, crafted by the husband and wife team of Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld, started as a web series on Vimeo in 2012. The show's success resulted in a deal with HBO in 2016.
There are plenty more!
Generation Z Screenwriters
Of all the generational groups, they excel the most in utilizing social media in innovative ways and are the most active users of social media.
Their problem? They use the wrong social media platforms. Furthermore, they use it for entertainment, not business.
Experiencing both the heyday of blockbuster hits in the 90s and the rise of streaming services, this generation possesses a unique perspective. They demonstrate a keen talent in leveraging social media platforms and have honed their ability to promote themselves and their projects effectively through both formal education and practical experience.
Their problem? They can’t keep their politics, religion, ego, and emotions off their pages. They, and by they, I also speak about myself, tend to talk before they listen. We let our emotions get the better of us, and with one post/tweet, we can tank our reputation forever.
Generation X & Boomer Screenwriters
This generation, by and large, exhibits a deep appreciation for humility and courtesy, reflected in their professional online personas. You won't typically come across risqué photographs on their social media profiles.
Their problem? Many don't embrace change. Many also fear technology. They either avoid social media because they feel they don’t have the skillset to navigate the internet or flat-out believe social media is a sham and serves no purpose.
Regardless of one's category, improving your screenwriting career can be as simple as learning how to leverage social media effectively while avoiding common pitfalls. By understanding the dos and don'ts of self-promotion, you can successfully market yourself as a writer and your screenplays or films with greater ease.
Developing a robust social media strategy is crucial for screenwriters who want to maximize the benefits of social media platforms. We'll delve into the details of creating an effective strategy shortly. This viewpoint is shared not just by me, but also by film executives. When I spoke with Nat Mundel, an executive at Voyage Media, whose clients include Jerry Bruckheimer, Chris Levinson, Jason Blum, and The Hughes Brothers, nearly a decade ago on my blog, he had this to say:
"Writing ability is important of course—it’s still the minimum barrier to entry! But with so many good writers competing for fewer jobs, strategy can make the difference between writing as a lucrative, rewarding career or just a hobby. Up-and-coming talent needs strategy on two levels: project strategy & career strategy... we’re in an increasingly visual society, and tools for filmmakers are becoming more and more accessible, so I think there’s going to be a real democratization in the next few years— writers need to find opportunity in nontraditional places."
Social media can be a powerful tool for screenwriters looking to establish their brand, connect with industry professionals, and advance their career.
BREAKING DOWN THE TOP 4 SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS FOR SCREENWRITERS.
FACEBOOK. Yes, once the go-to platform for people of all ages, has evolved into a space where grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren can all connect with one another. Despite losing its place as the market leader, Facebook has remained a key player by acquiring competitors like Instagram.
But, if you're a screenwriter, you might find that Facebook. is the perfect spot for you!
HERE IS WHY YOU SHOULD USE FACEBOOK:
-- Facebook Groups. You can find an abundance of film and screenwriting groups - there are countless ones out there! Some are specifically for collaboration, while others focus on job opportunities or connecting writers with investors and producers. You can even find groups dedicated to asking questions or networking with industry professionals in your local area. Best of all, joining a group and building connections won't cost you a thing - it's a much more budget-friendly option than attending an industry mixer in LA. Shore Scripts, one of the leading screenwriting services and contests on the internet, did a guest blog with us a few years back. One of their top script readers and developers, Lee Hamilton, had this to say about Facebook groups:
"I secured my job with Shore Scripts nearly nine years ago after subscribing to professional online networking job-seeking sites, and subscribing to Facebook groups like Screenwriting Staffing's. These can be a great way to make connections and find entry-level work early on in your career, especially if you live remotely. They’re sometimes paid, and sometimes unpaid, but the more experience you can add to your resume, the better."
Be sure to join Screenwriting Staffing's FB Group.
-- Millennials and Generation X are the most active users on Facebook. Why is this important? According to Filmonomics Data: “Mid-career talents in their forties account for the highest volume of films that are seen in movie houses.” As you will see from the article, the most successful and active pros in the film and tv industry are between 36-50. This is why you need to be active on Facebook. This age-group spends an ungodly amount of time on Facebook.
-- Facebook still has the largest audience of any social media site. This is important when trying to connect with someone. It's highly likely that anyone you've met at a film festival, on-set, or even at a bar has a Facebook page - they may not use it often, but it's there. Keeping in touch through Facebook is actually more reliable than just exchanging phone numbers. By consistently sharing updates about your screenwriting and film achievements, you could catch the eye of a producer you connected with years ago at an event like the American Film Market.
-- If you have produced work to showcase, Facebook offers the option to create an official fan page. This might not be necessary if you're just starting out, but it can be a useful tool to link your website and IMDb page, share your latest projects, and boost your SEO visibility.
HOW NOT TO USE FACEBOOK:
-- Since it's always election season somewhere in the world, social media feeds are always overflowing with political content. While there's a common belief that everyone in the film industry is liberal, there are actually many who hold conservative views but stay quiet for fear of being blacklisted. Regardless of your political stance, it's important not to harm your career prospects by publicly expressing extreme views. As a highly competitive field, breaking into the industry as a talented writer is already difficult enough. To avoid any negative impact on your chances, consider creating separate pages for your personal and professional networks if you feel the need to share your political opinions.
-- School teachers are constantly fired after posting racy photos on their FB feed. If you use FB correctly, you will have several thousand friends on your page who exclusively work in the entertainment industry. It's possible that these people are individuals you've previously collaborated with or may work with in the future. Therefore, it's important to exercise caution when posting personal photos online. Consider the possible repercussions before sharing, such as how a picture of yourself passed out drunk at a strip club may affect your professional reputation and potential job opportunities.
Show the film world you know how to balance business and pleasure. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.
-- Facebook is NOT the platform to send unsolicited private messages containing your screenplay, writing reel, or book. For screenwriters, the purpose of Facebook is to maintain connections with people you have already met or those who have mutual friends. It's a valuable tool for staying in touch, sharing your accomplishments on your personal page, promoting others' achievements, and expressing your artistic vision. Imagine Facebook as an electronic version of your old-school address book - a centralized place to keep all your contacts organized. Remember, don't use Facebook as a way to cold pitch your work to industry professionals, use it to build meaningful relationships instead.
-- Screenwriting and film/producer FB group pages can be of great value for screenwriters of all levels. But only if used correctly. Before you argue with someone over a post, think if you would engage with that person if you were face-to-face. Bullying on Facebook (or any social media site) is a sure-fire way to get blacklisted. Don’t ruin your reputation all because you can’t conduct yourself professionally online.
If you can’t handle yourself on a FB group, you surely can’t handle yourself in a writers' room or film set.
SCREENWRITING TIPS FOR FACEBOOK:
-- As previously mentioned, building connections with people in the industry is crucial. However, simply having these connections in your network is not enough if they have no idea what you're up to. That's why it's important to share every achievement, no matter how big or small. For instance, if you place or win in a contest, be sure to share the news! Tag the competition, give a shoutout to those who supported you, include your logline, and provide a link for your network to learn more. Don't be afraid to showcase your success - it could lead to exciting opportunities down the road.
-- For many of you who are aspiring screenwriters, it's likely that your Facebook friends don't view you solely as a writer, since you may not be making a living from selling scripts yet. But it's time to change that! Let your friends know that you're a serious screenwriter who truly appreciates the craft. Besides sharing your personal accomplishments, consider sharing entertainment and film resources, articles, and movie reviews with your network. Engage with others by discussing your thoughts on these topics. Additionally, it's important to share photos from events like film festivals and mixers to showcase where your passions lie. Remember, Facebook is a powerful tool to connect with others and build your professional identity as a screenwriter.
-- If someone in your network shares their success story, be sure to re-share it and/or like it. As soon as you have success, that person will return the favor. You want their network to know about you. Don't look at screenwriting as a competition.
-- Facebook has it where you can list your education, your profession, links to your work, bio, favorite movies, etcetera. If you use Facebook correctly, people will see your success and hard work and click on your profile. When they do, you want them to know who you are and where they can learn more about you. You need to start looking at Facebook like you would with a LinkedIn. This is a business account, so keep it professional, and make sure to fill out all the boxes with film-related content.
Best HASHTAGS for screenwriters on Facebook: #screenwriter #screenwriting #writerslife ##academyawards #filmmaking
You can follow Screenwriting Staffing's official FB page here.
LINKEDIN. Okay, so as a screenwriter, you probably have a LinkedIn. But how detailed is your profile? How often do you post? Do you have an extensive network?
Screenwriters tend to look at LinkedIn as a job board. You aren’t going to find a lot of screenwriting gigs on LinkedIn.
However, that's not the primary reason why you should be on LinkedIn. It's actually the largest online networking platform in the film and television industry. While Stage 32 may consider themselves the largest networking site for film and TV professionals, they don't even come close to LinkedIn, which has been around for over 17 years.
Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Stage 32 and the free resources they provide. However, if you're looking to connect with major producers, agents, and companies in the industry, as well as other established screenwriters, LinkedIn is where you should be. Unlike Stage 32, which is mostly populated by aspiring filmmakers promoting their own work, LinkedIn offers a professional environment for networking with established industry professionals.
Just about every major literary manager and agent in the industry has a LinkedIn profile, as do most indie to studio-level producers. These profiles are not only highly detailed, but these professionals also tend to post and share updates regularly.
HERE IS WHY YOU SHOULD USE LINKEDIN:
-- Even if you pay for a personalized website on GoDaddy, it still won't show up first when someone googles your name. Your LinkedIn profile, on the other hand, will. Don't make the mistake of assuming that producers will only search for you on IMDb - they will also use Google to find you. Best of all, LinkedIn is completely free to use. You can upload your resume, list your credits, write a bio, share articles and blogs, list your education, receive recommendations, and much more. Think about it - what employer or recruiter wouldn't want all of this information in one convenient location? Make it easy for them by having a complete and professional LinkedIn profile.
-- Let me tell you a little secret - the most successful screenwriters on the planet don't rely on IMDb Pro when researching potential employers or producers. Why? Because IMDb Pro only provides a list of credits, and at best, their current employment and contact information. It's no comparison to LinkedIn, where you can dive deeper into a person's interests, the companies they follow, their endorsements, group affiliations, skillset, full employment history, location, profile picture, and even their most recent posts. Need to prepare for a pitch with a producer? LinkedIn is the way to go if you want to uncover the inside scoop on their interests and preferences. It's also an excellent way to see if you have any "real" mutual connections who could introduce you or provide a referral. So don't underestimate the power of LinkedIn in building meaningful connections and advancing your career as a screenwriter
-- LinkedIn is a platform exclusively for professionals, which means you don't have to worry about non-professionals commenting on your posts. It's a great place to keep all your contacts in one place and build meaningful connections with industry professionals.
-- While Facebook may have better groups, LinkedIn also has a wide range of entertainment and film groups. These groups can be a valuable resource for screenwriters, as you're more likely to connect with individuals who are serious about the business side of the industry - including potential investors or funders. While some groups on LinkedIn may not be as active as those on Facebook, the quality of the members in these groups is often higher. So, don't overlook the potential of LinkedIn groups as a tool to connect with other professionals in the industry.
It's important to understand that movies are typically not funded by filmmakers themselves, but rather by professionals from other industries such as bankers, lawyers, doctors, business owners, and even athletes. And where can you find these types of individuals? Well, you won't find them on Stage 32. Instead, LinkedIn is the platform where you're most likely to connect with these professionals who have the potential to fund your projects. If you're serious about getting your work produced, it's essential to have a strong and professional presence on LinkedIn.
Join Screenwriting Staffing's LI Group.
HOW NOT TO USE LINKEDIN:
-- When it comes to determining someone's role in the film industry, it can be difficult to discern from their Facebook page. However, LinkedIn is a different story. There's really no excuse for not knowing someone's professional background on LinkedIn. Yet, I find myself getting daily messages from individuals asking me to publish their book, produce their script, or even work at their furniture store. This is a combination of laziness and unprofessionalism that can ultimately lead to being blocked and blacklisted. It's essential to remember that LinkedIn is not the place to submit your script or teaser trailer for your film. While it's acceptable to send a short and personal note to thank someone for connecting, sending a 4,000 word query letter for your script is not appropriate. Before reaching out to anyone on LinkedIn, take the time to read their profile thoroughly. It's frustrating to receive messages from individuals who clearly didn't take the time to look at my profile and understand my professional background. So, do your research and make a strong first impression by demonstrating your professionalism on the platform.
Building on this point, I had the opportunity to interview Stephanie Palmer, a former MGM executive who has given presentations at major companies and institutions such as Google, William Morris Endeavor, Merrill Lynch, Disney, UCLA, Warner Bros, and many others. During our interview, she made an excellent point that still holds true today.:
"If you’re attending a presentation by someone you’d like to meet, write them a personal note before the event just stating that you admire what they’ve done and are really looking forward to hearing their presentation. I have done this many times and frequently gotten invited to meet in person at the event. People have used this technique for events where I am speaking and I go out of my way to make sure we get a chance to talk in person because they took the time to send me a personal note."
That, my friends, is how you send a short "note."
-- It's unfortunate to see that LinkedIn is starting to resemble other social media platforms with the introduction of their "story" feature, which has now been dismantled, thank God. Additionally, more and more individuals are using LinkedIn to post memes, express their political affiliations, and vent about their dislikes. However, it's important to remember that many long-time users of LinkedIn want to preserve the platform as a professional and serious networking tool. So, next time you see someone post a meme or other inappropriate content, take a look at the comments. You'll likely see that it's not well-received by the community and can even anger some users.
-- Avoid stating in your bio that you are "seeking work as a screenwriter or script reader." This implies that you are not currently working and may not be in-demand. Instead, showcase your current projects and accomplishments to demonstrate that you are an active writer. Additionally, avoid listing all the scripts you have written, as it may raise questions as to why they have not been produced yet.
Your bio should entice the viewer to explore the rest of your profile.
You can quickly tell a future employer that you are open to writing assignments and coverage opportunities by listing your experience under the employment/credit section. LI is not a cover letter where you are applying for a screenwriting position. It’s a resume where producers can learn a little more about you and what you can bring to the table if they wish to hire you.
-- On LinkedIn, screenwriters have a tendency to spam industry groups more than they do on Facebook. This is because on Facebook, such behavior is quickly called out due to the high level of activity on the platform. However, on LinkedIn, group members may not be as active, but that doesn't mean they're not watching. If you want to promote your script or movie, it's best to create a post or write a blog using the LinkedIn article function, and include a link to your profile. Avoid repeatedly promoting your new script in LinkedIn groups, as this can come across as unprofessional and may even lead to being blocked from the group.
LINKEDIN TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:
-- Follow your favorite companies. From Disney to Universal, every major studio and indie company has a LI page that is maintained and active. They update company information, share company breaking news, and promote current employees. Publications like Variety and Deadline are great to learn about which companies are developing new projects. But if you want to hear directly from the source, follow their company pages. This also looks good to future employers. Why? Because at the bottom of your profile, it lists who you follow. You will also be able to see who works for that company in your network quickly.
Are you applying for a writer’s assistant role at Fox? Maybe message one of your connections on LI who work there and ask them if they have any recommendations or tips during the interview process.
-- The best platform to find your top screenwriting agents from WME, CAA, and UTA is LinkedIn, rather than Facebook. Generally, these agents will accept your invitation if you send one. However, avoid messaging them immediately as they receive a high volume of messages. To stand out, post regularly and share important news on your own page. This increases the likelihood of catching their attention during their lunch break or while scrolling through their feed. Additionally, endorsing the agents you follow can help get their attention. But the most crucial step is creating an impressive page that compels them to reach out to you when they click on it.
-- LinkedIn is all about sharing professional accomplishments. Do not hold back. Taking a screenshot of the script you just finished and sharing it to your network is not an accomplishment. But, having your epic fantasy-drama optioned recently is a significant achievement.
-- LinkedIn is a job board in some ways. You will occasionally find screenwriting jobs there. You will also find creative gigs, development positions, and producing opportunities. Be sure to scroll through them regularly. It will take 5 minutes out of your day. You can even tailor it to your location. You never know, you might find your dream job without any cost.
-- Lastly, LI serves you no purpose if you don’t fill out all the necessary boxes. You MUST have a photo, banner, location, education, a mini-bio/intro, current and previous employment (do not list the time you worked at McDonalds in the 9th grade; keep it industry-specific), your skills, and screenwriting software you are versed in. By utilizing the article feature on LinkedIn, your connections will receive notifications about what you write. It's important to endorse and recommend others as they may reciprocate the gesture. These recommendations show up on your profile and can add credibility to your resume.
There is also a download function that turns your profile into a professional PDF resume that you can use when submitting to gigs.
Follow Screenwriting Staffing's official LI page for news and updates.
During the premiere of our favorite TV show, we all find ourselves scrolling through Twitter, enjoying people's reactions, comments, and memes. The same is true for NFL games on Sundays. Recently, I kept track of what was trending on Twitter during the NFL draft.
Were you aware that it's becoming increasingly popular for television writers to live-tweet during their shows? This trend has been around for years. During the airing of certain episodes on CBS, the writers of the TV series EXTANT, starring Halle Berry, would live-tweet. This trend is gaining momentum among shows airing on CBS, FOX, and NBC.
If you haven’t already, be sure to join the #SCRIPTCHAT community on Twitter. According to their site: Scriptchat is an online Twitter chat for screenwriters and writers, bringing a community of artists together to share tips and advice on succeeding in a screenwriting career.
This feed is filled with invaluable screenwriting gems.
HERE IS WHY YOU SHOULD USE TWITTER:
-- Twitter is not just for A-list celebrities. They are used by A-list screenwriters, too! As writers, we write for a living, right? Then why wouldn't writers, regardless of their level of experience, make use of a platform that's exclusively meant for sharing their writing? Don't you think the Twitterverse is intrigued by the minds behind their favorite movies and TV shows? Check out Paul Feig’s Twitter -- over 2MM followers. Michael Ian Black has 1.9MM. Read more on The Wrap: Top 25 writers to follow on Twitter.
-- If used correctly, your tweets will let the Twittersphere know your style of writing.
If you are a comedy or satire writer, your tweets should be humorous and sarcastic. The goal is to build an audience/brand geared towards your writing style.
If comedy is your forte, then the only way to appeal to people with a sense of humor is to be damn funny and clever.
-- I always preach less is more. Your loglines should be short. Your screenplay’s description lines should be brief -- hell, even scripts need to be shorter now. What better way to showcase your creativity, your ability to pare down your pros, and get in and out then regularly writing 280 and less character limited tweets?
-- According to StyleCaster, Megan Beer's career began on YouTube and the lip-syncing app Music.ly. In 2012, at 13 years old, Justin Bieber discovered Madison Beer after he shared a video of her singing Etta James's "At Last" to his millions of Twitter followers. The rest is history. One tweet changes careers. You are a writer with a voice. Since Twitter’s creation, people have been sharing their voice through Twitter. Believe it or not, some tweets have CHANGED MANKIND. Tweets from Edward Snowdan to Barack Obama: Check out top tweets that CHANGED THE WORLD on yahoo!
-- Similar to Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter is a fantastic platform for promoting your work. It's simple to post URLs to your articles, IMDb page, trailers for your new film, your logline, or the festivals/contests you've recently placed in (remember to tag the contest). By crafting an engaging intro, incorporating trending hashtags, and a bit of luck, you could be the next big trendsetter.
HOW NOT TO USE TWITTER:
-- Avoid reusing your posts on all social media platforms. For instance, if you have photos of yourself at a film premiere, it may be more fitting to post them on Instagram. If an online publication interviewed you, LinkedIn would be a more suitable platform to share it. Facebook is an ideal place to post a link to your new horror film's trailer. On the other hand, Twitter should be used to showcase your writing skills. Repetitive posts across all platforms may result in your followers on one platform ignoring you on another.
-- Twitter was created so you would have a voice. So your entire Twitter feed should not be re-tweets from someone else. Yes, it’s good to share other people’s posts if you think it would be beneficial to your fan base, but at the end of the day, people want to hear what you have to say, not what others have to say.
-- Twitter is full of controversial tweets and opinions. Some very ludacris. Whether it is a politician or an athlete, there are always tweets that rub us the wrong way. That doesn’t mean you have to respond. Did you know that everyone can see your responses? On your profile, there is a whole section for tweets and replies. Before engaging in some meaningless fight over Lebron or Jordan that turns into an outright bloodbath, think if you want the whole Twitter world to see.
-- Out of all the platforms I mention for screenwriters, Twitter would be the place to express the things that matter most to you. Controversial opinions tend to get the most likes, comments, and re-tweets. This provides you with a lot of opportunity when expanding your brand as a screenwriter. Remember that one negative tweet can destroy your career forever. Roseanne Barr's hit show ROSEANNE was set to return for a second season until she tweeted what some perceived to be a racist statement. Despite whether you agree with her termination or not, Hollywood executives were aware that the consequences of keeping her on the show outweighed its success. As a result, she has been blacklisted from working in the industry.
TWITTER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:
-- You must interact. Follow your favorite writers, celebrities, friends, companies -- whatever tickles your fantasy However, don't simply follow them, make an effort to engage with their content by commenting and communicating. Engage in friendly and open discussions even if you disagree with them. Congratulate them on their successes and take the time to read or watch what they share, then share your thoughts articulately. You’d be surprised how many people, big or small, read through comments. You never know -- you might get a reply. Happens all the time. Happens to me frequently.
-- Your bio should be a call-to-action.
Your bio should tell writers why they need to follow you without asking them to follow you.
You need to show wit, personality, and confidence. Keywords are important. Somewhere, anywhere in your bio, the word screenwriter, tv writer, or just plain writer needs to be listed. But don’t just tell them you are a writer -- there are millions of writers. Your clever catchphrase or tagline will ultimately determine whether they click the follow button or not.
-- When you are a famous writer, like John August, it’s best just to list out what you’ve done (as many may know his movies, but not his name). Here is what he writes as of 2022: Writer of Go, Big Fish, and Arlo Finch. Maker of Highland. Co-host of Scriptnotes podcast.
But, if you want something that grabs the attention of someone at first click, try what @sixthformpoet said before: Please buy my book, I owe people money.
The ONION: America’s finest news source.
@aparnapkin: I am a scrunched up napkin with recyclable dreams. Also a comedian in some cultures. Total drag in others. Mostly here to feel bad.
Twitter, when you get right down to it, is all about sarcasm. Anyone who takes Twitter too seriously does not get Twitter’s purpose. Find your niche, find your voice, and find your target audience -- then create a killer bio.
--Don't be afraid to tag producers, talent, and companies in your posts, but don't go overboard. As a screenwriter, it's important to put your work out there and let people know what you're doing. Tagging the right people can increase your chances of getting noticed and potentially re-tweeted or contacted directly. You never know when someone with a large following could change your career for the better. So don't hesitate to tag the people who you think should know about your work and benefit from it. If you don't include them, they may never know about it.
-- Hashtags are king when it comes to Twitter. Hashtagging a keyword, like #screenwritingtwitter, will help you show up more easily in the Twitter search -- especially if it’s screenwriting-related. Hashtagging #travel would be suitable for a travel blogger, but not you as a screenwriter. Top hashtags coming up shortly.
Learn the appropriate and popular hashtags in the entertainment industry. Follow hashtag trends. There is a reason why every brand has their own hashtag -- #shareacoke
-- As writers, we may not have the same level of social media following as celebrities do, but that doesn't mean we can't leverage their network. Social media, particularly Twitter, is all about building connections. You can't survive on Twitter alone. You need friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers to like and share your tweets. I bet you know someone with a decent following, so why not exploit it (in a good way)?
Best HASHTAGS for screenwriters on Twitter: #screenwritingtwitter, #sciptchat, #prewga, #screenplays #screenwriting #wgastaffingboost #writerslife #filmmakers #indiefilm #writers #filmproducers
Follow Screenwriting Staffing on Twitter.
INSTAGRAM. I know some writers are skeptical, but Instagram does serve a purpose for screenwriters.
Social media influencers, including foodies, fitness enthusiasts, and celebrities, make most of their income through Instagram for a reason. With its array of features such as IGTV, Stories, Posts, and Instant Messaging, Instagram offers everything that modern society desires.
We write for a visual medium. So it only makes sense for us to use a site designed just for visuals.
Whenever I find myself feeling bored, out of all the social media platforms I discuss in this article, I tend to gravitate towards IG the most. It demands the least mental effort on my part, while placing the responsibility on the person sharing the content, making it the most distinctive platform among them all.
WHY YOU SHOULD USE INSTAGRAM:
-- We all know social media is not real life. And I’d venture to say IG paints the most unrealistic image of ourselves -- yet, for some reason, we like to believe that our friend’s life is really that glamorous. In this industry, it’s all about appearance.It's no coincidence that the junior producer, who only has $100 in her account before her next paycheck, drives a BMW to her small shared office at Paramount. If you want to look the part, you have to fit the role.
We order the most expensive wine at the parties. We buy a new suit for the pitch meeting. We take the check during the business lunch. Not because we can afford it, but we want to give the industry the illusion that we are a someone. That’s where IG comes in. Fake it until you make it BIG.
-- IG is full of inspiration, showcasing creative art and stunning videos that transport us to places we've never seen before. As writers, we need all the inspiration we can get, and IG can provide it if we choose our follows carefully.
-- IG was initially designed to display images and videos instead of text, distinguishing it from platforms like Twitter. IG users often browse through feeds to keep up with what others are doing and where they are. Those who excel at IG tend to share photos and videos from exclusive events or locations that are not readily accessible to the public. As a screenwriter, attending such events and sharing the experience on your IG can elevate your image and status in the industry. Simply letting your network know that you are part of these exclusive soirees can work wonders for your profile.
-- It takes many people to make a film, way beyond a producer, director, and writer. Some of the most underappreciated people in the biz are production designers, art directors, editors, and gaffers. I can assure you, All these individuals are on IG, consistently sharing their latest work and behind-the-scenes photos from on-set. Given that IG is exclusively a visual platform, it's unsurprising that everyone, including those behind the camera, document their filmmaking journey with pictures.
HOW NOT TO USE INSTAGRAM:
-- IG is pretty self-explanatory. So it’s tough to screw up IG. Like FB, IG is not the place, at least as a screenwriter, to post racy photos of yourself. IG, believe it or not, can be used as a professional screenwriting account that you include when applying for gigs -- but only if done right. There is a bio section and a link for your portfolio. Do not leave these blank. Another great tool is Linktree: Simplify your online presence and enable your followers to easily explore all your endeavors with a single, user-friendly link.
-- No one rarely reads what you write on IG. You know that person you follow on IG that you have a crush on? How often do you read what he/she writes? NEVER. I know that person writes some recycled quotes, but it’s the image you are attracted to. Reserve your thought-provoking and cerebral rants for Twitter, as they are more likely to be read there than on IG.
-- With FB, LI, and Twitter, your network typically comprises people you know or work with, those you aspire to work with, and people you admire or find entertaining. However, unlike Facebook, you cannot conceal your Instagram (IG) followers. If you use IG for reasons other than promotion and networking, it is essential to keep your account private or create a separate one for your screenwriting endeavors. Otherwise, it will be challenging for others to take you seriously if the majority of those you follow appear in bikinis.
Additionally, IG recommends content based on who you follow. To maximize its business potential, follow industry-related film/TV content and individuals. If you're into horror movies, consider following Blumhouse's IG page.
INSTAGRAM TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:
-- Most notably, actors and actresses make the most use of IG in the industry. It's a convenient platform for sharing their latest headshot, stills from their movie, or group photos with the cast and crew. However, this doesn't mean that IG is exclusive to them. Talents are aware of the impact of IG and frequently tag people, encouraging the resharing of images or videos. For emerging talents, likes, shares, and comments are crucial to surviving in the industry. They even tag the writers on-set or during premieres. But, they will only do this if you are following them. Hence, it's essential to follow everyone you work with, especially the talent.
-- As writers, we may not want our face blasted all over the web. If we did, we would be actors, not writers. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t post. Some of my favorite writers who post online share quotes combined with images, stills from movies (with the dialogue included), photos of the cool and unique places they are writing (i.e., some stunning balcony in Venice, Italy), or the poster of their movie. Although I am not a great advocate of writers posting pictures of their scripts on social media (since everyone has one, what sets yours apart?), this would probably be the only platform where it could be appreciated.
-- Promote your work, not ideas. People don’t want to see/hear what you plan on working on, but what you are actually working on. But only to an extent. What do they really want to see? What you have produced or published. Use IG to self-promote -- I promise you, the more people see your smiling mug holding up a certificate of your winning screenplay at a contest, the more the world will recognize you as a screenwriter. It’s...all...about...appearance.
-- Like Twitter, Hashtags play a considerable role when it comes to being seen. Know your hashtags. Look up your favorite production companies, writers, and directors -- see what they use. Eventually, with IG, you want to get to a place where you have so many followers you don’t need hashtags -- but until then, hashtag the hell out of your posts!
Best HASHTAGS for screenwriters on IG: #screenwritersofinstagram #screenwriters #screenwriting
Follow Screenwriting Staffing's official IG page.
Before I conclude with a list of additional social media and online platforms that writers should explore, let me recap why these top four are crucial for writers. You don't require a massive following to grab the attention of film festivals, producers, employers, or even A to B-list talent that you desire to associate with your project.
What they are really looking for is engagement and activity. They want to know you are relevant. They want to know people care what you have to say (even if it’s just a few followers). They want to know you have an unique voice. They need to know you are real. They need to find you online and vet your credentials (it’s one of the first things I google when producers post with me). They want to see how you conduct yourself online. Most importantly, they want to know that you understand how the industry works now.
In our industry, social media and online entertainment have taken center stage. If you are not active on digital platforms, why would they consider you for writing in this market?
I talked about this in the screenplay contest article. Film, from pre-production to distribution, is a collective effort. The decision-makers want to know that you can actively promote their project. You can’t do this without being active online.
WORTH CONSIDERING: The following platforms may not be for every writer, but they are worth exploring if you aren’t finding success in the above 4 mentioned.
YOUTUBE (or VIMEO) remains the go-to platform for filmmakers, it doesn't offer much for writers. However, if you're a writer-director who produces regular content, YouTube can be a valuable tool for providing video links to your work when applying for gigs. If you possess exclusive film experiences or insider knowledge on storytelling and screenwriting, YouTube/Vimeo could be an ideal place to share your insights.
PODCASTING: Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart… these are all places where people listen to podcasts.
I loathe it as much as you do, but industry buyers and professionals will scour every nook and cranny for the next blockbuster story; however, they are reluctant to read an entire screenplay. This is why podcasts have become their preferred alternative. Here are the 14 best shows/movies that came from a Podcast. By The Script Lab.
REDDIT. I feel like Reddit has too much information from people who are not always informed. However, Reddit is packed full of people who crave knowledge -- even if it’s pointless. There are, however, tons of screenwriting and film groups and subgroups, and can be an excellent place to ask questions, read industry articles/blogs, check out movie reviews, share your work, and even at times find producers looking to partner with writers. Be sure to join our Reddit group.
LINKTREE. Linktr.ee/ is a useful platform that allows you to share all your creative works, curated content, IMDb, from your various social media profiles such as. Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and more, all through a single link.
TIKTOK. At present, TikTok is widely regarded as one of the top social media platforms for organic reach, if not the very best. It provides an effortless way to discover readers, fellow writers, and develop a readership comprising individuals who are genuinely interested in reading your book. But as far as screenplays go, it's hard to believe that any legitimate producers are searching for their next exceptional project on the platform.
GOODREADS. Not so much for screenwriters, but authors. Since many screenwriters are dabbling in literature now, this may be an excellent social site to check out—database of books and reviews and more. Even if you don’t write books, as screenwriters, we should always be reading.
PINTEREST. I’ve NEVER used it for my site or myself. But I do know that there are some writers and filmmakers who do. Similar to IG, in a few ways, you can upload images of your content and work. I doubt you will sell a script or get hired by a producer through this platform, but again, the more active you are online, the better chance you have of being seen. It should be noted that 81% of the users who use Pinterest are women. So if your market is geared towards women, this may be a platform worth checking out.
SOCIAL MESSENGER PLATFORMS
If you plan to have a lasting career in this industry, you will need the following at some point in time:
Whatsapp: WhatsApp is a messaging app that's widely used across the globe, especially in Mexico and Latin America. It allows you to share texts, voice calls, videos, images, and more. I use dedicated WhatsApp groups for my films to keep my actors and producers connected and updated across borders.
WeChat is used in China. And as my Film China article stated, you will be working with someone in China at some point in time. You MUST have WeChat. Like Whatsapp, it’s used for messaging. WeChat, though, is also used as a social media platform. Remember, they can’t use Facebook. They use WeChat.
Zoom/Skype. I think we all used Skype before COVID, but no one knew what Zoom was until recently. Zoom is used for writers' rooms, interviews, film festivals, and more. People are even making movies on Zoom. I have used Zoom more for Screenwriting Staffing in the last year than any other online platform/service. With everything being done virtually, you need both of these social apps downloaded on your phone/computer.
If there's only one thing to remember from this article, it's this: when reaching out to individuals on social media whom you don't know, ask what you can do for them instead of what they can do for you.
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Article by Screenwriting Staffing's Founder, Jacob N. Stuart.
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