Continuing my ‘Resources for New TV Writers’ series, this month I’m focusing on Twitter. (If you missed the first part of this series, where I talked about Podcasts, go check it out!)
I know, I know — a lot of people have issues with any kind of social media – it takes some getting used to, they can become a time suck, it’s full of depressing news, etc. I’m not denying any of that, nor am I trying to convince you to spend time on twitter if you’ve already decided it isn’t your jam. But I am not exaggerating when I say that for me, twitter has been a wonderful place to connect with and learn from working TV writers.
Over the years, I have cultivated a twitter feed full of people whose work I admire. When I attend panels, I often live-tweet them (like this Intro to TV Writing panel or this Pitching Hour panel from SDCC 2018) or tweet out the key takeaways after the fact. This does several things for me: First, it gives me an opportunity to look up the speaker’s social media presence and get a better sense of who they are and what they’re about. Second, it cements in my mind the quote, thought, or idea that had inspired me. And third, it allows me to share that moment with folks who could not attend the panel. It often allows me to connect with folks who are also attending the event.
If you’re new to twitter or new to the idea of using it as a way to learn more about TV writing, here is my advice: Find the twitter accounts for your favorite TV shows and follow them. One thing I really enjoy doing is live-tweeting some of my top shows along with their main account, several of the lead cast, and their dedicated fan base. It is a lot of fun to get swept up in the story with other people who are invested in it, and it’s good practice because some projects will require you to participate in live-tweeting your show.
Often, there are twitter accounts just for the writers room of shows, so search for those as well. They often share fun tidbits from life in the TV writing room. Look on IMDb and find the names of the writers currently working on your favorite shows and check to see if you can find them on twitter. I guarantee, following a few working writers will lead you to discover other writers to follow.
So, what do I mean by ‘connect with and learn from working TV writers’? Here are a few of my favorite TV-writing threads from the last several months:
- Read this priceless advice from Gennifer Hutchison about working as a PA when you want to be a writer.
- Just starting out? Get a good idea of what to expect as a Writer’s Assistant from Tyler Dinucci.
- You can learn what kinds of scripts your favorite showrunners like to read when staffing (like this tweet from Sera Gamble.)
- Did you just get staffed on a show (or, are you interested in learning more about it?) Check out this thread from Amy Berg.
- When you’re feeling like giving up, you might read this nugget of inspiration from writer Marc Bernardin.
- Don’t miss this thread about creating something you’re passionate about, even in the face of uncertainty, doubt, and rejection from Billions creator Brian Koppelman.
- Get inspiration from Monica Beletsky’s threads about exploring her writing process, or how she won her first feature assignment.
- The Defenders/Daredevil/The Witcher’s Lauren S. Hissrich shares fantastic thoughts about writing a well-rounded villain.
- The Witcher writer also walks through how she crafts a season arc.
- Learn about traveling as a TV writer from Gillian Horvath.
- Trying to sell your own show? Check out advice for Pitching from Matthew Federman, and Gennifer Hutchison’s advice for recovering after a pitch.
- Enjoy a variety of Showrunner Rules from Jeffrey Lieber.
- Marvel’s Runaways’ Warren Hsu Leonard talks about how he broke into the industry later in life.
- Participate in Jane Espenson’s periodic WRITING SPRINTS!
- Be a part of the amazing community that forms – like that time when Variety had a showrunners panel with only one woman participant, so Liz Hannah joined with Twitter for TWO ALL-FEMALE showrunner panels.
And this is only the beginning. As you can tell if you clicked through on any of those links, there are a lot of awesome folks in this industry who are putting out advice and sharing their experiences for the benefit of others. When I’ve come across confusing situations in my writing career and didn’t know who to turn to, I’ve tweeted specific writers asking for their advice and have been blown away by their generosity and insights.
Everyone you now admire was once a brand new writer hoping to break in, and as long as you treat these online relationships as you would an in-person one (ie. connect with them genuinely, celebrate their successes, don’t spam them with your info, don’t try to get something from them…you know, be a human being) I believe you’ll find twitter to be great place to connect, learn, and grow with other writers.
Have any questions about connecting on twitter? Feel free to tweet me 🙂