With movie executives making decisions in split seconds and people’s attention spans decreasing frighteningly rapidly (is this sentence getting a little long for you, already?) surely Twitter must be offering screenwriters a massive opportunity.
Seriously, I think it does. I am one of the gazillion followers of Stephen Fry and Nia Vardalos. Perhaps I haven’t been in the game for long enough to crack their con but it seems they are genuinely interacting with (some of) their followers. This may not apply for the A-listers, though.
Where exactly is the opportunity?
Here might be a – remote – possibility to get people’s attention and I mean people that would normally have assistants, agents and managers between themselves and the mortal world. Let me be clear: I have not heard of any people being successful in getting attention via Twitter but I can’t see a reason why it won’t happen one day. As a matter of fact, if it doesn’t already exist, sooner or later there will be a Twitter Pitching Contest (I may well organize it myself ). Now, before you send out your carefully polished logline, it’s always a good idea to test it on others. Many others. And for that, too, Twitter can help.
Pitch your idea publicly and gauge response quickly.
Admittedly, that’s hoping you can trust your followers (or that Twitter will still be around when you see them in court). Or you can pitch it via DM to your trusted friends. Either way, you can get valuable feedback, quickly. So next time, twitter your concept before embarking on a year or more of writing it. You decide on your audience, depending on how paranoid you are. (When it comes to new ideas, personally I side with Seth Godin, who favors sneezing over secrecy.) Obviously the Twitter pitch may become a serious option once you have written and registered the screenplay.
The best about Twitter? It encourages concision.
To fit a sentence into 140 chararacters, I sometimes take liberties with spelling and grammar. But the result is a leaner language. How can that be bad? Particularly when it comes to writing your logline, it’s a worthy mental exercise.
All the above may sound sensible, it is not why I wrote this piece.
The other day I read the following on Twitter, addressed to the Verified Account of a certain Famous Person (name changed to protect the innocent but I guess you can still find the original if you must):
“@Famous_Person Hey Famous!! How can I send you my movie script, which I want you to read??”
And if you thought the sender might regret this approach after hitting the ‘send’ button, you’re probably not the door-knocker, cold-caller type of person. The sender’s patience lasted exactly 1h 27mins and there it was again:
@Famous_Person Hey Famous!! How can I send you my movie script, which I want you to read??
The Famous Person in question had 349,178 followers at that point. Tweets with the “@Famous_Person” mention were being posted more than once every minute. Maybe not such a sensible approach, after all.
I’m sure there are ways to complement the query letter with strategic shout-outs on Twitter.
But when you go there, perhaps give it some thought first.
All that said, are you following @storydepth yet?
Karel Segers wrote his first produced screenplay at age 17. Today he is a story analyst with experience in acquisition, development and production. He has trained students worldwide, and worked with half a dozen Academy Award nominees. Karel speaks more European languages than you have fingers on your left hand, which he is still trying to find a use for in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. The languages, not the fingers.