FastPencil is Publishing Simplified. Please enjoy this guest post from our partners in Screenplay Adaptations, Voyage Media
How to Untangle the Web
“Googling yourself” has sort of become the punchline of the digital era—it’s degraded as a vain and silly pastime of the erstwhile millennial. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Far from just an ego trip, Googling yourself can be crucial to building your online presence as a writer.
I’d like to encourage you to Google yourself right now. Take a moment, I’ll wait. What are some of the first pages that pop up. Your social media sites—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, your personal blog? Or is Google drawing a big blank?
There is a time and a place for the reclusive, mysterious, off-the-grid writer—but falling into that description can be dangerous for the up and coming. The Internet makes it easier than ever for producers, directors, and financiers to find out what you’re all about. And social media searching has become more and more commonplace as a tool for weeding out the unprofessional or unmotivated writers from the writers with serious passion and marketability.
Make no mistake: the question on the forefront of a producer’s mind is going to be “how can I market this?” If your website or blog has any sort of following, it means your Internet presence comes with a built-in audience AND that you’ve already got a huge advantage over the throngs of other writers trying to get noticed! It gives the producer a sort of “cheat” into your market—they’ll thank you for having less work to do to create a finished product that people will watch.
With so much riding on the kind of persona you exhibit online, there’s no reason not to put your best digital foot forward. If you’re serious about building a writing career in the age of the Internet, here are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re giving yourself the best possible chance to get noticed by a producer.
It can be tempting to let your work speak for itself, focus entirely on your writing, and let the producers come to you. Spending time blogging and creating web content can seem like an easy distraction. But don’t be fooled–having a blank online footprint can actually HURT your career. If a producer is Googling you, it means that they’re at least casually interested in what you have to offer. Use that to your advantage!
Remember, the key to getting your work seen as a viable option for a producer is to make the decision to hire you as easy as possible for them. And what could be easier than a website with all your information and samples of your work in one place?
If you don’t have a personal website or blog specifically showcasing your writing, consider creating one. Not only can it help a producer see what kind of work you’ve already done, it can have the welcome side-effect of creating a following for your work.
One of the first questions any producer will have while looking at your work is: “will this idea be market-worthy?”. When done well, a professional writing blog can allay a producer’s marketing concerns by showcasing that your work comes with a built-in fanbase. As always, the more you do for a producer ahead of time, the more willing they’ll be to work with you.
Hollywood loves adaptations. If something thrives in one market, executives know that there’s a good chance it will thrive in another. As much as this applies to books, TV shows, and movies, it also applies to Internet content!
The Internet provides a rare opportunity for writers to get heard without assistance from the filmmaking world. For many writers struggling to bring their ideas to a more conventional market, blogging can be a viable alternative to get their ideas noticed. Popular blogs and Twitter feeds have even been optioned for books, movies, and TV shows simply based on their Internet buzz!
And these adaptations can spread widely across markets. One success story is the TV adaptation of $#*! My Dad Says, which was based off the popular Twitter feed of the same name. Though the show itself was eventually canceled, the buzz around the show launched the career of its creator, Justin Halpern.
And it’s not just TV shows—the critically-acclaimed, Oscar-nominated film Julie & Julia started its life as a cooking blog written by little-known at the time writer Julie Powell.
As you can see, there’s no reason to discount the viability of a “concept” blog as a path to success; especially if it can be marketed to the same audience you are basing your personal brand on. The Internet exists to satisfy a wide variety of niches. If there’s a subject you’re passionate about, there’s a good chance that hundreds, thousands, and even millions of other people share the same interests!
Your web presence can serve to accomplish everything from showcasing your professionalism to establishing proof of concept for a film or television show. The digital age can provide writers a myriad of opportunities—but it’s up to you to take full advantage of what it has to offer.
There’s no doubt that a solid blog can get you noticed. But don’t stop there—the Internet gives you a vast expanse of platforms for every taste of social media: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Instagram…we all know the names, but depending on the type of name you want to make for yourself, you may want to do a little more digging into what blogging platforms your target audience uses.
The more of a presence you can generate outside your main professional hub, the better chance you have of building a unique fanbase for your work. Building a sense of trust and community with your readers can pay off hugely in your professional writing and in launching your career.
A well-connected, market-focused, and specific online personality is definitely going to make a producer sit up and take notice, no matter the content. And a dedicated, professional Internet presence is a sure sign of a writer who will be easy for a producer to work with.
So, come on. Google yourself. And turn that search into something exceptional.