Sunday, March 3, 2019

7 Ways Entertainment Writers Can Maximize Their Online Presence

I have had a pretty prolific, ongoing relationship with the Funds for Writers website, creating content for them that's intended to benefit anyone writing for film, television or other media. One of my recent articles featured ways for writers to boost their presence on the web. I try to provide tangible and practical insights that can be of real value for people. Check out the article below...

7 Ways Entertainment Writers Can Maximize Their Online Presence

Mark Heidelberger / 2019-02-22

Writing a noteworthy feature film or television script is challenging enough, but as an up-and-comer, standing out in a crowded marketplace might be even harder. Tinseltown is chock full of novice scribes angling for a shot at the spotlight, creating fierce competition as everyone jockeys for attention from a limited group of agents, managers, and producers. With all this, it may seem hard to find a good friend in the entertainment business, but the internet can certainly be one if you know how to leverage it.
1. Blogging Creates Belonging
A solid first start is creating your own blog or website. Blogger by Google is 100% free to use with a sub-domain and offers reasonably-priced upgrade options. Additionally, free website builders like Wix, Weebly and Site123 offer the chance for a professional-looking page with equally affordable hosting fees available. Once created, use it to write regularly about your endeavors, from new projects to contest wins to your latest Hollywood party-hopping adventure. Over time, it will create exposure and ensure people have a place to reach you.
2. Social Media: No Longer Optional
Get on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But don’t just tweet or post about successes on your personal page. Follow others in your field. Join filmmaking groups. Use the platforms to network with producers, directors and other writers, seek collaborations and work opportunities, share important resources and get invited to events. Yes, it’s difficult to speak highly of yourself in such settings without coming off as pretentious, but until you have an agent or manager doing it for you, the next best thing is to generate the support of an online community who can help by sharing your posts.
3. Those Mysterious Spec Script Marketplaces
Several reputable marketplaces exist where writers can showcase speculative material for potential buyers. Some of the most prominent include Inktip, Spec Scout and The Black List. The former allows you to list any treatment and/or script for a nominal fee while the latter two sell analysis services that result in high-scoring scripts being promoted online. Indie producers seeking affordable and often specific material from writers will check these sites. (Side note: Writer-producers who are seeking financing can also list their projects on Slated if they can get admitted to the site.)
4. A Little Competition Never Hurt
Screenplay competitions are a viable way to generate online buzz so long as you perform well in them. The top finishers in well-respected contests like Nicholl, Final Draft, and Scriptapalooza – usually quarterfinalist level and above – will be mentioned on their websites and in various online promotional materials. Script Pipeline, going a step further, offers finalists in their competition both development assistance and online circulation of the material to a network of producers, agents, and managers.
5. All Publicity’s Good Publicity
Seek out opportunities for free publicity in online trade magazines, screenwriter blogs, and entertainment podcasts. Find an angle that makes your material or personal story unique and pitch those site proprietors on why they should give you a platform. No good at pitching? Well, you’ll need to work on it because it’s an essential skill for writers in Hollywood. But in the meantime, hire an affordable short-term publicist like October Coast to help you find such opportunities.
6. Shoot Something!
Not all online exposure has to be written. Writing for the screen is just the first step in the process of creating a much more layered audio-visual product. Shoot a scene from your script yourself to share on YouTube or Vimeo as a way to show your scripting skills in practice. Better yet, see if you can convince an indie filmmaker to shoot a short or do a web series based on your material. Once you have any sort of produced credit, you can submit to have a profile on IMDB, perhaps the most referenced online resource there is in entertainment.
7. Be Down with the Cause
Consider ways your material might be able to attract the attention of partner groups like charities, non-profits or other special interests. For instance, if your script features a lead with autism, you might be able to attract the support of autism foundations that can help provide online exposure for the story. Material that is inspirational, purpose-driven or based on a true-life figure is often the best fit for this.

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