Tuesday, 18 June 2013


In today’s world it's hard not to use some form of social media – that’s probably what has led you to read this. It can be a great way to be active or proactive and build up a network quickly.  

Online networking is becoming an important and essential part of a writer’s life whether it's joining a mailing list, keeping a blog, Facebook, even using what I call the wild west of opinions and newsfeeds aka Twitter. Many of our featured writers first heard about the BAFTA Rocliffe Forums through retweets by the likes of Miranda Hart, Kevin Cecil and Chris Addison. By simply liking a page or following people and organisations – retweeting and interacting you can learn so much.  

Not all social media outlets will be for you but they will create that all essential online presence and help to get you noticed. Your online profile can say so much about you. Try them out and see which one suits you best, disregarding the ones that don’t.  The internet can open doors in ways that knocking alone won’t.

It can be uncomfortable at first engaging in such a faceless world.  Some people can find it awkward, distracting and frivolous – in truth any interaction can be.  Many writers are doing it so why not try it? Share your views on films, topics of discussion, research and learn about new opportunities.  Here are a few suggestions to help you set up your online profile, as always these are only guidelines and by no means the definitive way,  but enough to get you started.

My Ten Rocliffe Tips

  1. For me Twitter is one of the best ways to hear about news and opportunities as well as an online resource. My favourite writing-related twitter accounts to follow are @BAFTA @bbcwritersroom @TheWritersGuild @SkillsetSSC @Bang2Write
  2. I love joining the Euro Scriptchat on Twitter on a Sunday at 8pm. Using the hashtag #scriptchat you can meet other writers online and discuss the weekly topic. They also organise Q&As with great industry guests. Ask questions always using the hashtag #scriptchat at the end of your tweet.  Join in, share your opinion, reply to tweets and interact.  Scriptchat also organize monthly meet ups so you can meet and interact in person too. Scriptchat Website
  3. Write a Blog! It can be about any subject or topic that interests you.  They can be easily set up using something like Blogspot or Tumblr. Stick to a pattern weekly, fortnightly or monthly and then tell people about it. Encourage others to comment. Don’t let your blog get in the way of your script writing. It should compliment your work, not distract you from it.  Follow other blogs (like this one) or Stephen Fry, Lucy Hay, Ben Blaine’s Blog on Shooting People. 
  4. Facebook pages are great to keep up with what’s going on and there are loads of useful links and discussion topics.  Have you joined BAFTA or Rocliffe’s?
  5. Get onto mailing lists. There are fantastic newsletters, which list events, competitions, training and generally more opportunities for you that you may not have known about! I recommend BAFTA, BFI, BBCWritersroom, Skillset and BLAPS (Channel 4’s online comedy vehicle) to start with. There are also some great regional ones ie Film London, Northern Ireland Screen, Creative Scotland, Film Agency Wales. Every region want to tell you what they are up to. Know what’s going on in your neck of the woods!
  6. Social media is all about interaction and engagement so it is as much about recognising other people’s comments as it is contributing your own points.  For example tweeting and retweeting people will make others take an interest and follow you back as a result.
  7. Sharing helpful information is a good a way to get yourself noticed and could be the introduction to someone useful.
  8. You can build communities really quickly but like everything worthwhile it takes time and effort so work on developing your network on one channel rather than building up profiles on five. It needs commitment and content on a regular basis. 
  9. Watch online masterclasses and then tweet, post, blog about them – there are thousands. Try the BAFTA’s Guru site - you can watch things from 90 seconds to 30 minutes and it is free.  And another, listing Joss Whedon’s Ten Writing Tips! Now, why not look up Joss’s twitter account, follow him, tell him what you liked or just tweet the link with “Really useful Writing Tips from @josswhedon” – you never know he may just favourite it, retweet it or better still follow you. How cool would that be!
  10.  At all times protect your online reputation. Don’t put people or an organisation down and don’t be really rude about them.  Remember social media sites are like standing on a mountain and stabbing a feather pillow on a windy day. You have no idea where those feathers will land. Only tweet or post what you would be happy shouting out on Oxford Circus. Avoid showing your anger about rejection or complaining about a production company, agents or editors. That’s for discussions with your friends and family who know you. 
My writing quote of the week:

...only he is an emancipated thinker who is not afraid to write foolish things Anton Chekhov

We will be open for submissions from August 2013. No details as yet so watch our website for new calls www.rocliffe.com & follow me on twitter @farahabushwesha and for updates @rocliffeforum & @BAFTA 

Keep writing...

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