Instead of Film School, Maybe Just Get on Twitter?
Here’s why Twitter just might be your most valuable resource for all things filmmaking.
While it is occasionally complete garbage, Twitter has turned into a shockingly high-quality channel for directors to engage their fans in the most direct way possible.
Sure, a lot of times, filmmaker feeds are obviously handled by a publicist or marketing intern. But, in the right filmmaker’s hands, an on-set smartphone and a Twitter account can create a free-flowing flood of behind-the-scenes action and professional insight. Got a technical question about a shot? Got a nerdy lore question about a character in the background? Tweet it, and you just might get an answer.
So, if you’ve reached the end of YouTube, or just need a break from Content Creators™ sharing their thoughts on Canon’s color science while sitting in a closet close-talking to a camera, Twitter is here to make sure you stay inspired.
Let’s take a look at a few recent top-notch filmmaker tweets and see if we can learn a thing or two.
Go Behind the Shot
Watching behind-the-scenes content is a fantastic way to pick up a few techniques and get a look at how your favorite directors think. Take, for instance, this tweet from James Gunn that goes into why he used a wheel rig for the opening shot of The Suicide Squad.
Gunn’s Twitter feed is actually a goldmine. He’s got a solid relationship with his fans, and he’s always dropping tidbits that offer insight into his productions. (I’m patiently waiting for the BTS posts to start flowing for the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Any minute now!)
It’s not just directors that provide filmmakers a look behind the curtain. There’s also plenty of dedicated BTS accounts that exist solely to show super-cool pictures or footage from the sets of some of your favorite films. For example, check out this tweet featuring Spielberg on the set of Raiders of the Lost Ark. While there’s not a lot of concrete filmmaking advice, seeing Spielberg’s process is pretty informative in its own right.
Or, one of my personal favorites, Paul Verhoeven directing on the set of RoboCop.
Actionable Advice from Experts
Did you honestly think I wasn’t going to include David F. Sandberg on here? Recently, he’s been shooting the sequel to Shazam!, and, for my dime, his channels totally qualify for GOAT status in the “gives us the goods” category.
In addition to having one of the most helpful YouTube channels around, his Twitter and Instagram accounts are both loaded with stellar looks at the shooting and post-production process.
With the film promotion cycle moving so quickly, it’s hard to see everything that gets published these days. So, if you’re curious about any particular filmmaker or film, the director’s page is the perfect one-stop-shop/home base for timely, relevant content.
Still, my favorite follows aren’t just promoting their work, they’re sharing the secrets of their craft. Here, C. Robert Cargill, the screenwriter of Sinister, sometimes called the scariest film of all time, shares valuable character tips.
This might seem like an obvious one, but, on top of all the video content, directors and production companies are constantly posting behind-the-scenes photos of the movies they’re promoting.
I find these pics fascinating and incredibly valuable, as they frequently give me ideas for my next shoot—camera moves, lighting setups, blocking, etc.
Following film festival accounts is a great way to stay informed on entry deadlines, schedules, new releases, etc. So, if there’s a festival you’ve been eyeing for years, and you want to know what kind of submissions they need, how much their fees are, and when you can submit, be sure to look on Twitter for their account.
When I originally pitched this article, it was kind of a half-joke/half-fun idea, because Twitter can’t actually teach you how to be a better filmmaker. Nonetheless, there are legit valuable resources and accounts to follow that aren’t a total waste of time.
Much like you’d build a community in film school for any questions you have or problems you run into, Twitter is packed with people and pros that are ready to help you evolve as a creator.
Here’s a perfect example to close out on, featuring Blood Diamond director Edward Zwick and his tips for working with actors.
Whoa! Look at this! A few more filmmaking articles!
Cover image via XanderSt.
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