Here’s how social media can be a screenwriter’s best friend.
It’s pretty common to have a love-hate relationship with social media. More times than not, it can be distracting, a means to procrastinate instead of writing, and annoying due to trolls and unnecessary drama (I’m looking at you, #ScreenwriterTwitter).
However, a lot of good can come from it if you know how to navigate the platforms and sort through the bots and hot-takes in the form of community, new friends, and even job opportunities.
If social media isn’t your thing because you think you’re “not good at it,” don’t worry. This article will help guide you toward the social media platforms most beneficial for screenwriters.
Which Social Media Platforms Should I Be Using?
There’s no universal answer for which social media platforms screenwriters “should” or “should not” be using. That said, some writers might want to use every platform listed below, while others might only decide to use one or two. It’s going to depend on what you’re personally looking to get out of social media as a whole, as some platforms are better for networking, while others are better for staying up-to-date on hot topics in the industry.
In my somewhat biased opinion, Twitter is the crème de la crème of social media platforms for screenwriters. It’s a way to digest a lot of information quickly, as the content posted is only typically a few sentences maximum (unless it’s a “thread,” like this one). As a result of the COIVD-19 pandemic, people flocked to Twitter to stay updated on the latest news. At the same time, screenwriters were able to find, connect, and form an active, relatively large community.
Writers from all walks of life, from around the world, emerging and professional, chat on here and build relationships daily. Twitter is a great place to:
- Build genuine relationships
- Swap screenplays for notes
- Learn from others
- Stay in the loop on industry-related news, movies, and television
- Sometimes, if you’re lucky, even get staffed, sell a script, or gain representation
Facebook (or soon-to-be Meta) has endless screenwriting groups to join and pages to like based on a topic of interest. For example, if you want to join a group that’s focused on staffing news or opportunities, you can. The same goes for if you’re specifically looking for a group for newer screenwriters, there are a few to choose from. Take your time to check them out, and join which ones sound most interesting to you. Like Twitter, these Facebook/Meta screenwriting groups are a great way to connect with fellow writers, swap scripts, learn, and get hired for projects.
Similar to Facebook’s/Meta’s “Groups” feature, Reddit is broken out into communities known as “subreddits.” The r/Screenwriting community is another excellent place to ask questions, stay informed, and learn from others. Anonymity is more commonplace on Reddit than on the other platforms mentioned on this list, which has its pros and cons. Because of this aspect, it’s slightly more challenging to build genuine relationships.
Even if you only use LinkedIn when you’re job searching, it’s worth having a LinkedIn account and adding that you’re a screenwriter to your profile. As you build relationships in the industry, it’ll come in handy when you want to connect with other writers and industry professionals who might not be active on Twitter or Facebook. LinkedIn also has a handful of groups for screenwriters, but they’re not as active as the other platforms mentioned.
Whenever possible (if you feel comfortable doing so), try to use your real name, a clear photograph of you, a short biography, and links to your website and/or Coverfly profile (except for Reddit, if you’d like to go the anonymous route). People are more likely to interact with someone who looks like a real person and not a bot.
Finding Screenwriting Communities
Now that you know which social media platforms you’re going to use, you’re signed up, and your profiles are filled out, the first thing you’re going to do before you start posting into the abyss is find the screenwriters on the respective platform:
- Twitter: Search for hashtags related to screenwriters and screenwriting (e.g., #screenwriter, #screenwriting, #ScreenwriterTwitter), and follow some of the active writers that come up. It’s also worth following your favorite screenwriters, as they might give fantastic advice.
- Facebook/Meta: Find the screenwriting groups that interest you and join them, as well as screenwriting-related pages you find interesting.
- Reddit: Using the search bar, find whichever screenwriting-related subreddits look most interesting to you.
- LinkedIn: For right now, don’t worry too much about LinkedIn besides having a profile. Joining a screenwriting-related group or two won’t hurt, though!
What to Post on Social Media
You’re all set up and a part of the screenwriting communities or groups, know which hashtags fellow writers are using in their posts, and you’ve found some topics that interest you. Now comes the fun part! Here are a few ideas of how to start getting involved and start making new friends in the community:
Share Good News or Thoughts
Did you finish writing something that you’re proud of? Place in a competition? Watch a movie you loved and want to recommend it to others? Share some details about it. People will interact with you, and you can stir up a conversation and begin to become familiar with the screenwriters in the space.
Congratulate Other Writers on Their Accomplishments
Screenwriters on every platform like to celebrate their wins. It’s a complex industry to break into and work in, so celebrate your fellow writers whenever you can!
Post Questions You Have
Unsure of how to fix a plot hole in one of your scripts, or are you looking for a specific feature script you can’t find online? Ask. Screenwriters are supportive and like to help others. Be sure to return the favor when you see someone ask a question you know the answer to.
Offer to Give Notes
Every once in a while, you might come across a writer looking for reads or notes on their script. If you have the capacity and would like to help, offer to provide feedback on their script. If you give them actionable notes, odds are they’ll offer to return the favor.
What to Avoid on Social Media
Even screenwriters who have been part of the various online screenwriting communities on social media for years have made mistakes and posted things they *probably* shouldn’t have. The types of posts you’ll want to typically avoid making include:
Talking Smack About Creatives or Certain Movies or TV Shows
Publicly trash-talking a person for their creative choices, a TV series or film is cruel and can come back to bite you. You never know who has worked on which productions with who, and who might see your posts. It’s not worth the risk. Please keep it to yourself.
Making Disparaging Remarks and/or Getting into Heated Arguments With Fellow Writers
Sometimes, things can get a little heated on social media. If an issue arises, try to stand up for yourself or others in a professional way. You can ignore it or block the poster, have a civil discussion about it, or politely agree to disagree and go on your way.
Posting in Excess
Try not to post, just to post. When people post something new on social media every hour every day, it comes off as insincere. Try to spend most of your time engaging with content posted by other writers on social media.
Industry Pros are Watching, So Be Mindful!
It’s important to be mindful of what you post because it could cost you a job one day. Industry professionals are pretty active on social media and see or hear a lot of what happens from their friends. Not to mention, screenwriters tend to move up with their peers. If you’re known for being positive and supportive of fellow screenwriters, you might get staffed on a show by a showrunner you became friends with after you swapped scripts for notes. You never know!
Don’t Worry, You’ll Get Better as You Go
The more you use social media and interact with other screenwriters on it, you’ll get better at knowing what to post. Like you, everyone on these platforms was new once and had to learn the ropes. You’ll get the hang of it. Don’t sweat it!