Every time Ajay, one of the founders of Stareable, asks me how I met some filmmaker or podcaster or journalist, the answer is always the same: Twitter. I've had Twitter since November 2008, according to my profile, and in that time I have tweeted 10.5k times and have accrued 350 followers. My day job lets me work at a laptop all day, and my Twitter tab is always open, so as to capitalize on any potential conversation starter. And in the past six months, I have made more industry and filmmaking connections via Twitter than I have anywhere else combined.
I would be remiss if I didn't start with my favorite web series discovery site, Stareable. I discovered this here website I'm blogging for via Twitter, during a weekly hashtag conversation. Every week Erik Urtz, the founder of Snobby Robot, runs a massive discussion hashtag at #WebSeriesChat where members of the web series creator and fan communities come together to discuss our weird little internet niche. One week back in September, the topic was about Stareable, and the pros and cons of its service. Afterwards, I reached out to Ajay and got my two shows, Brains and Relativity, featured, and have since attended two networking happy hours in New York where I've met several New York-based creators, many of whom I've kept in close touch and hope to collaborate with. Speaking of collaboration...
Since becoming the most obnoxious person on Twitter, I discovered how many web creators are based in New York, as well as how much I can remotely help others. Pablo Andreu, creator of Stray, recently brought me on board his series after months of trading Twitter jokes and meeting up at Stareable happy hours, and now I'm credited as an associate producer. We've swapped advice on a variety of topics from our specific knowledge bases, and I look forward to continuing to work with him in the future. I've also met several incredibly impressive women filmmakers with the help of the little blue bird, and they have all been so helpful and supportive and I have a feeling that we're all just getting started.
During season 1 of my web series Brains, we had a Facebook page, and that was it. No Twitter, no Instagram, no website, and certainly no third-party press coverage, as vindictive Wikipedia admins have helpfully pointed out twice now as they purge any mention of Brains from their elitist little online encyclopedia. Sorry sore spot.
But during the second season of my show, I was determined to make more of a splash and, unexpectedly, the most useful tool in getting press coverage was Twitter (though sending out press releases via email was also key). For example, I met the friendly admin of PromoteHorror.com (52.5k followers on Twitter) after he was retweeted by someone else I follow, and now he's reviewed our first season, published three of our press releases, and done four in-depth interviews with me and two of my castmates. Similarly, I met John Fallon, who runs the IndieFilmNYC podcast, via a retweet and he invited me to guest on said podcast less than a week later. Also, after discovering the Twitter account for TVWriter.com, I sent them a quick tweet about Brains, and a few days later they wrote up a review which kindly said
We're not going to be subtle here. TVWriter‚Ñ¢ likes this show. A lot. We think you should watch it...and watch Bri Castellini too. Lady's going to go far.
I didn't need a third example for this section, but I really wanted to include that entire quote.
My strategy for all of this is finding people doing what I do, following as many of them as I can, finding which press has covered them, and then reaching out myself. I'm also on Twitter, like, a lot.
Not all of my show's promotion happens via press and blogs and podcasts, though. In fact, possibly the best way for indie creators to raise their profile is to remember that a rising tide lifts all boats. And through Twitter, I've met some truly phenomenal people who I retweet, review on Stareable, and support through crowdfunding. In turn, many have done the same for me. We're a community, after all, and if we don't support each other, who will? And weirdly enough, Twitter is one of the best sites for facilitating all that.
My show is not popular. Most people do not know that it exists, and that's ok, because most people don't know I exist either, and I'm still awesome. But our most engaged fans are not in YouTube comments, they're on Twitter. They tweet at me with questions, with concerns, with GIFs, and with anything else related to the strange little world I created, and Twitter is great for starting and continuing that dialog. It allows me to be easily accessible to them and to let them know immediately about new projects or new Brains-specific content. I can also ask them questions that help me to develop future projects how they found my show, what they like about it, and what they didn't.
I am by no means an expert at anything, least of all successfully promoting myself and my show in the sea of content that keeps getting deeper and wider. But here's what I do know: entering into a community means that it'snot just about you anymore, it'sabout everyone. If I just went around self-promoting and ignoring everyone else, that's not being part of a community, that's spamming. My best connections, especially with other creators, happen because I've entered into conversations with the people I've met. My time on Twitter has been incredibly beneficial for me and my "career," but the true benefits... were the friends I made along the way.
I was also able to network without wearing pants or leaving my house or having to make eye contact. That's cool too.