Have you ever heard of a SPINSTER? If you have, what images do that word conjure up for you? Old? Cat hoarder? Jaded? Loves Fabio? Stinky? This? Well, you’re not alone, as our society has so graciously placed a stigma on what it means to be in a spinster. The ACTUAL definition of a spinster, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is as follows: “an unmarried woman beyond the average marrying age.” No bias in that definition. Nada. Wondering what the average marrying age in the good ol’ US of A IS?: 27…27!!! (And don’t get us started on what it is in OTHER countries.) As single women over 27, this stereotype really put a bee in our bonnet and got our spinning wheels a-spinnin’.
You’re probably asking yourself, what do spinsters have to do with “Breaking Through the Social Media Glass Ceiling?” A lot, actually. Especially considering that we have taken on the challenge of redefining what it means to be a spinster in the 21st century. Thus, 2 Hopeful Spinsters, the web series was born… Below are our secret tips to finding one’s way through Hollywood’s digital labyrinth and past the gatekeepers that are set up to hold creative industry women, like us, back…
1.) PUT THE “SOCIAL” BACK IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Physical, tangible, human connection is what’s missing in cyberspace; bring it back via old-school hand-written cards, face-to-face meetings and actual phone calls where real human beings literally talk to each other in real-time… (personal example: driving during insane rush hour traffic from Los Feliz to Malibu to deliver cookies and a smile to Mr. Blonde.)
2.) BRAND BEFORE YOU LEAP
You say you’ve got a camera? An “original” idea? Ready to shoot? STEP AWAY. FROM. THE. CAMERA. Regardless of how “ready” you are, focus first on taking the time to create a memorable logo, billboard-worthy tagline and a dynamic promo shot that captures and expresses your concept in 5 seconds or less.
3.) MAKE LIKE AN INDIE BAND AND TAKE YOUR SHOW ON THE ROAD
Like the indie filmmakers/ bands of the early 90’s, load up your VW van, get your Mountain Dew on and take your project to the people. Don’t wait for them to come to you. It’s the wild wild west out there (but not for long!), so be constantly ready to improvise and push the envelope, even if that means looking backward for inspiration… (personal example: we hopped a plane to Ohio and toured the Buckeye state like a band or comedy act by booking 3 shows (“screenings”) over 4 days – sandwiched in between 2 tv spots, 2 NPR interviews and numerous print/ web articles… before our launch). It’s all about the buzz, baby!
4.) GOT CELEBRITY?
In this day and age, like it or not…get yourself a celebrity. And even though your Aunt Myrtle thinks you’re famous…YOU don’t count. While it may seem daunting, everyone in this town knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows a celebrity. Wondering how we locked in one of OUR celebrities? See #1.
5.) DO YOUR HOMEWORK
Everyone hates homework. We get it. But you CAN’T get around this one. Your new best friend is Google. Read every article under the sun that remotely relates to your idea. Focus on what’s popular, what’s not popular, what “the kids are watching,” what’s trending, who’s breaking the rules, etc. Discuss it. Break it down. Your mantra is: WATCH, RESEARCH, READ, REPEAT… (however, remember to use the good ol’ grocery store technique: Just take what you need and leave the rest on the shelf)… PRACTICE makes perfect:
6.) FIND A MENTOR (OR TWO… OR THREE..)
Just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water – PAUSE. Time to grab your swimmies, kick boards and fins in the form of those that have swam in deeper waters before you. There’s always someone more knowledgeable and more experienced than you that can help captain you through the stormy waters of gaining eyeballs. Swallow your egos and ask questions. LOTS of questions. And just keep swimming!
7.) CHOOSE A HOOK WITH LEGS
And we’re not talking about gams here. What it comes down to is this: A good idea/hook is NOT enough. Attach your idea to something bigger that is going on in the culture; ie, let the zeitgeist do some of the heavy lifting for you so that your success isn’t based solely upon your own brilliance. In our case, the incongruence of the single women’s movement vs. how women are being depicted in film/ tv became the driving force (the “legs”) behind our web series. Attaching ourselves to “something larger” has helped us do something like THIS.
8.) CHOOSE A TITLE THAT’S #HASHTAGABLE
2 Hopeful Spinsters. Right out of the box it’s an immediate conversation starter… (p.s. #2hopefulspinsters)
9.) HIT THE STREETS
Don’t just hide behind your computer to promote your project. Grab those #Vibrams and take a breath of fresh air to meet some real, human people. IN PERSON. Find any festivals, events, parties, charities, theme parks, concerts, premieres, etc…and flood the area with your BRANDED (see #2) flyers, postcards, business cards, etc… Talk to people. Loudly and confidently. All with a smile, of course. J
10.) BE FRUGAL!
Note: There IS a difference between cheap and frugal. Don’t cut corners, as quality is SO important. But now is the time to call in EVERY favor you can. Barter, beg and steal (we mean borrow) whenever possible. As Macklemore says, “I’m gonna pop some tags. Only got $20 in my pocket. I-I-I’m hunting, looking for a come-up. This is f*$^ing awesome.”
11). SURROUND YOUR PROJECT WITH COLLABORATORS WHO ARE AT YOUR LEVEL OR ABOVE
From day one, we made a promise to ourselves to work with people who were as experienced or more experienced than us. There are always exceptions, but if you want your project to soar, you have to think big. As Bob Sugar says, “It’s not ‘show friends’ it’s ‘show business.” Period.
12.) ALL YOU’VE GOT TO DO IS ASK
No seriously. ASK. When you simply ask for what you want, you’d be surprised at how many yes’s you will get. For every “no” we’ve received, we’ve gotten three yes’s. WOman up and DO IT!