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A Screenwriter’s Guide to Social Media

May 2, 2022
6 min read time

Many A-list screenwriters utilize social media platforms like Twitter to promote their films and to interact with others in the film business, but is there any reason for a novice screenwriter to follow suit? In terms of self-promotion, there is a lot of competition out there and looking for a “side door” or easy script sale via social media might not be the best use of a writer’s time and energy. However, using it as a platform to genuinely make industry connections, including those with screenwriters at your own level, can be incredibly helpful and has been known to provide a jumping-off point for screenwriters to get their “foot in the door.”

John Zaozirny, literary manager and head of Bellevue Productions (and Big Break Contest judge) has a strong Twitter presence and finds being active on the social media platform beneficial.

"On a macro level, being more active on Twitter has helped give me a broader sense of what's going on in the screenwriting community,” Zaozirny explains. “Particularly the issues facing screenwriters on a daily basis. On a micro level, I've been lucky enough to chat with a broad range of people (including writers and directors whom I admire) and to make some great friends that I wouldn't have otherwise met.”

Despite the benefits he’s discovered for himself as a literary manager, Zaozirny believes the jury is out on whether writers need to have a social media presence.

"I honestly don't know that it's important for writers to have a social media presence,” he admits. “If you're only doing it to boost your writing career, then personally, I don't think it's worth doing. It is worth doing, however, if you're looking to converse with fellow screenwriters and perhaps build your support system of friendly writers who can empathize and advise you throughout your career." 

So, if a novice screenwriter decides to have a social media presence, two of the best reasons to log on are:

  1. To gain knowledge;
  2. To be part of a supportive community.

It’s important when beginning any new endeavor to get as much information as possible, and whether you’re following an A-list screenwriter on Twitter or a fellow novice, the experiences and views exchanged can be very useful to a writer.

There are likewise various screenwriting message boards where a community of writers will share their stories, give their opinions on certain agents, managers, and producers, and help guide each other through the different phases of a writer’s journey. This can be especially helpful for someone just breaking into the film business. Oftentimes, simply having the support of other writers can be enough to keep one inspired and going despite professional rejection. The benefit of knowing you’re not alone can be immeasurable.

The social media trifecta

In addition to online message boards and screenwriting communities, there are the three major social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Facebook

If you’re a screenwriter, the most useful thing about Facebook is the Facebook groups. Like message boards and forums, Facebook groups are networks of people with similar and specific interests to bring up related topics and engage over them. Simply search Facebook for screenwriting groups and the most popular groups (i.e., the ones with the most members) will appear at the top of the search results. Different Facebook groups have different requirements for joining, but typically if you ask to be added to a group you’ll be added. Once you are, you can post and comment along with the other members of the group. In addition to Facebook groups, adding other screenwriters and any industry contacts you’ve met as a Facebook friend can also be beneficial. At the very least, it’ll help you to stay connected with them and you’ll get a better sense of what’s going on within the industry based on your contacts’ experience: What sort of scripts are selling, what kinds of films are being made, etc. Facebook is still the largest social media platform and it’s very popular with the 35 to 50 age range, which is usually the age range of the people who have the most traction in the industry.

Instagram

Instagram primarily being a visual platform might not initially appear useful to a screenwriter and maybe at the earliest phases of a career, it isn’t. Once you start working in the business, however, it can be a useful branding tool. Don’t underestimate the power of keeping up appearances. If you’re living in a metropolitan city and there’s a film festival or premiere, it’s not a bad idea to post that you’re there and share with your friends. By utilizing hashtags, you can find others attending the event and can start following each other and comment. As with Facebook, there’s an opportunity for networking and, at the very least, you’ll learn about the latest film business trends and happenings. Knowledge is always power.

Furthermore, branding plays a role for most professional screenwriters. For example, if you’re a horror writer, posting a photo that’s horror-related is a good way to promote your brand and have others in the industry associate you with it. Ultimately, Instagram can shine a spotlight on you and it’s a chance for you to sell yourself not just as a writer, but as a certain kind of writer. The more specific your tastes and expertise, the easier the association.

Twitter

Like on Facebook, there are numerous screenwriting communities on Twitter and it’s one of the few social media platforms where even a novice writer can interact with an A-list professional. Depending on the privacy settings selected, it’s possible to send public tweets to anyone you choose to follow and to retweet their posts. This can sometimes lead to a conversation between you and the person you’re following. Perhaps they’ll start following you and retweeting your posts, as well.

It’s very important to note that this isn’t an invitation to pitch your script to a public figure (which will likely be viewed as spam or harassment). It’s simply an opportunity to exchange ideas about a film, TV series, or industry trend to build meaningful connections. And as with Instagram, Twitter allows you to establish a brand. For example, if you’re a comedy writer, posting humorous tweets can help distinguish you and your style of humor. Hashtags are your best bet to join, or to have others join, a trending topic you’re interested in.

Building community

Finally, search out your favorite industry-related companies, as most will have a social media presence and it’s a good place to “find your people”. Final Draft is connected to all of the above social media platforms and shares helpful links and articles from its screenwriting blog daily.

Writers can be part of the conversation by leaving comments on social media posts and by doing so, interact with other writers commenting on the links and articles. Final Draft supports the scriptwriting community as well as the above social media platforms that bring different people together throughout the world. Whether it’s to strengthen your support network and camaraderie with other writers or to gain knowledge from film industry professionals, there are several means of doing so via social media and Final Draft. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

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