How Twitter took an unknown screenwriter to Hollywood

screenplay

Just a few tweets and blog posts spurred a Tinseltown frenzy over Tyler Marceca’s script.

The film industry is one that’s notoriously difficult to break into, but a previously unknown screenwriter has landed feet first in the industry with a little help from a screenplay blogger and a handful of tweets.

It didn’t hurt that Tyler Marceca has a talent for words, too.

But Twitter is now such a powerful community that a few words from the right person can seriously kickstart your career. That’s what happened to the Brooklyn-based writer.

Marceca won the Writers Store Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest last year. He developed the first 15 pages of a script from a logline, or summary, concocted by Robert Mark Kamen, the writer of Taken:

“After waking to find his wife dead in their backyard, a man conducts his own investigation, and uncovers the hidden life of a woman he thought he knew.”

After winning the contest, Marceca then worked on the full script, titled The Disciple Program, with the help of The Writers Store. Little did he know where that script would take him.

Back on Feb. 9, Carson Reeves, who reviews screenplays and offers screenwriting advice at his ScriptShadow blog, began teasing his Twitter followers about an upcoming review.

Scripts written by amateur writers are featured weekly on the site. Reeves claimed that the “the bar for Amateur Friday will be raised……DRAMATICALLY” on its Feb. 24 edition.

Reeves continued to tease details of the script in the lead-up to the review, and wrote in a blog post on Feb. 19 that an amateur screenplay had cracked his top 10 script list for the first time.

“I had never put an unrepped unknown script in my Top 25 in 3 years—that’s from over 4,000 scripts,” Reeves told the Daily Dot via email. “So that started the buzz.”

While the post started industry buzz around The Disciple Program, “Twitter really brought it to a new level,” Reeves said. “I constantly gave people updates, slowly revealing the title as well as the logline, giving them a little more information every few hours or so. It really got everyone riled up. I had no idea it would reach the frenzy that it did, though.”

On the same day Reeves published the teaser post, he started to hear from some producers. The buzz around Marceca’s screenplay escalated quickly, to the point where it was apparently “the most desired script” in Hollywood by last Monday.

As Reeves said:

“I started Tweeting about it and received interest almost immediately, within hours. I’ve been doing this for awhile, so when I really like a script, people want to read it. This one generated more interest, though, since it was an amateur script (I usually review pro scripts), and therefore producers and agents knew it was available. They wanted to get it before anyone else did. I didn’t give it to them right away though. I told them I’d send it to everyone at the same time in a few days. That created sort of a frenzy to somehow find the script before I sent it out.”

On Wednesday, Reeves passed the script to six of his contacts within the industry and it quickly spread to other agencies and managers, and even into the hands of Hollywood studios.

As Reeves writes in his review of the script, he found himself acting as Marceca’s default manager while producers and agents were trying to contact the screenwriter:

“I had producers calling me saying they’d been forwarded the script by four different people in the last hour. I heard over a dozen producers were flying around trying to put the project together with multiple packages. My phone blew up (I don’t know how—nobody has my number) as I quickly realized I was in a strange sort of interim manager position since Tyler didn’t have any reps. That’s what was so unique about this. Usually when this kind of thing happens, it’s a calculated thing with agents and managers carefully orchestrating the buzz. It’s never really been done like this before so nobody knew—even seasoned producers—where to go or what to do. Including myself!”

Reeves warned Marceca he might need to deal with a few phone calls. But Marceca ended up fielding dozens of inquiries and talking on the phone for eight hours straight, two days in a row. The level of interest in his script was so intense that he was forced to turn down the opportunity to talk to several producers, many of which “he would’ve sold his left arm to talk to” just a few days previously, as Reeves put it.

By Thursday evening, Marceca decided to sign with WME, the largest talent agency in the world.

Bear in mind that Marceca signed with the agency even before the review of his screenplay appeared on ScriptShadow. While his script was good enough to spark a race among Hollywood bods to get him on board with them, he was given a big helping hand by Reeves and his tweets.

While Reeves helped Marceca pry open the locked door into Hollywood’s inner circle, the screenwriter and his script kicked it wide open to launch what could be a great new career.

The affair has had an interesting side effect for Reeves: “Now I have managers and agents asking me for tactics on how to promote their scripts/clients on Twitter. It’s pretty funny.”

So, aspiring professional screenwriters, take note: It seems that Twitter really could be the new way to sell your script.

Photo by joeflood

Kris Holt

Kris Holt

Based in Montreal, Kris Holt has been writing about technology and web culture since 2010. He writes for Engadget and Tech News World, and his byline has also appeared in Paste, Salon, International Business Times, Mashable, and elsewhere.