Twitter has definitely changed the way people consume information.
All it takes is a quick search and you gain access to thousands of tweets relating to virtually any topic you can think of.
This is especially true when it comes to independent filmmaking. There are thousands of incredible artists promoting their work and sharing their experiences in 140 characters or less.
Twitter is a community.
No matter what interests you there are people out there talking about the same thing. You just have to know where to look.
Well, if you’re a screenwriter, the place to look is scriptchat. A weekly Twitter chat that takes place every Sunday night.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jeanne Veillette Bowerman. (@jeannevb) She is one of the founders of the weekly screenwriting chat and has been working hard to build a community of screenwriters on Twitter.
“Scriptchat is a Twitter chat where new and seasoned screenwriters learn and grow together. Our motto is simple: BYOB and leave your ego behind.”
The Cornell graduate owned a motel and restaurant for 15 years and had only thought of writing as “A dream”. I truly believe that many people want to write but it takes a lot of courage and passion to finally sit down and get to work and put yourself out there. Especially if you’re career is outside of the film world.
“I got an incredible urge to to write. I can’t explain it. It was like something took me over and I was no longer in control of it.”
She began as a novelist but quickly transitioned into the world of screenplays at the suggestion of a friend. The rest is history.
Jeanne joined Twitter in July of 2009 in order to promote her project based on the Pulitzer winning book: Slavery by Another Name. What started as a promotional tool quickly helped her become a well respected screenwriting presence on the site with more than 3000 followers and rising.
“I became known as the Twitter Pimp Angel, promoting other people’s work much more than my own. I never expected to meet such an incredible community of writers. Never. What a blessing it’s been.”
Her experience with Twitter eventually led to the creation of #scriptchat with the help of fellow writers Jamie Livingston (@yeah_write), Zac Sanford (@zacsanford) and Kim Garland (@KageyNYC). A group known as The Treefort Team.
“On Sundays, there’s a popular writer chat called #writechat where the craft and business of writing is discussed. One day, we were trying to participate and get whatever knowledge we could. The problem was, screenwriting isn’t novel writing. It wasn’t meeting our needs. Jamie suggested we needed a screenwriters’ chat. The goal was to create a community of support and learning.”
The first Scriptchat topic was ‘What is your biggest hurdle in finishing your script’. An issue that every screenwriter deals with on a daily basis and the initial response was extremely encouraging to the Scriptchat creator.
“It was instantly a screenwriter’s party.”
Each and every week, more and more writers arrived to discuss the craft of screenwriting. Jeanne moderates the US chat which begins Sundays at 8PM EST while Mina Zaher (@dreamsgrafter) moderates the EURO chat which begins at 8PM GMT.
“The chat has turned into something we never even dared dream in less than a year’s time. All our intent had been was to bring a bunch of screenwriters together. Now, we have incredible guests joining us allowing our chatters direct access to produced writers such as Karen Walton (@inkcanada), writer of Ginger Snaps and Bob DeRosa (@thembob), writer of Killers.”
The amazing response they have received has gone beyond Twitter as Scriptchat was recently featured in Script Magazine.
Scriptchat is now a bustling community filled with eager screenwriters looking to evolve their skills. It’s evident in the chat’s motto:
Where screenwriters chat, share and learn — it’s not a competition, it’s a community.
“That sense of community is critical to a screenwriter. Most of us don’t live in Los Angeles. We live in small and large communities all over the world, often feeling alone in our writing and pursuit of the brass ring. Meeting other screenwriters and being open to learning from them expands your ability to succeed both in the craft and the business. Once you’ve entered the Scriptchat community, you’ll never be alone again”
How can you join Scriptchat?
Head over to: www.tweetchat.com/room/scriptchat Sunday nights.
“To chat is simple. See what the topic is, take a swig of your margarita and jump into the conversation.”
Personally, I find it incredibly encouraging to know that access to supportive and passionate screenwriters has never been easier thanks to groups like Scriptchat.
So where does the Treefort team see Scriptchat in the future? The group hopes to turn the blog into more of an online magazine with more resources than ever. They plan to include more articles, more links and more 1 on 1 interviews. They also plan to have a online conference with webinars.
“So many of us can’t get to L.A for EXPO or the Great American Pitchfest so The Treefort is brainstorming ways to bring the classes directly to your computer screen. The most important goal is to meet our chatter’s needs. If you have any ideas, no matter how small they may seem, please contact one of us and we’ll try to make it happen.”
It’s that free and open approach that has made Scriptchat so successful. Everyone can participate and make suggestions.
A community thrives on the strength of it’s members and Scriptchat is stronger than ever.
As for Jeanne, she credits her own personal evolution as a writer to the lessons she has learned through Scriptchat.
“My writing skills have improved tenfold since we started Scriptchat. It’s not just because of the chat itself but because of the connections I have made and the opportunities I’ve taken advantage of.”
One such opportunity is a new webinar she is teaching for Writer’s Digest on How to Write a Marketable Screenplay.
“The biggest change for me has simply been going from no support system to now having a global one full of screenwriters who all want to see each other succeed. I say I love Scriptchat often and I mean it. It’s my rock. I am blessed. Deeply blessed.”
Special thanks Jeanne Veillette Bowerman. (@jeannevb) for the interview. Be sure to check out Scriptchat each and every Sunday night!
For more on Scriptchat check out her Jeanne’s personal blog: Ramblings of a Recovering Insecureaholic.