The next installment of our guest blog series in which we ask Docs In Progress staff and alumni to reflect on how they they spent their summers in documentary land€¦
Next up, Carolyn Projansky whose film The Fast Lane was featured at a Docs In Progress work in progress screening in 2005. She is now at work on a feature documentary, Breaking the Rules about white South Africans who fought against the system in the Apartheid era. As she continues production, Projansky has started to build her audience and has discovered a new tool to help.
How did I spend my summer? I tweeted!
by Carolyn Projansky
Motivated by anecdotes about doc makers raising their budgets 140 characters at a time, I joined Twitter (@carolynbtrmovie) and updated our experiences going back into production in South Africa.
I tweeted from my laptop PC and from my cell phone (via a phone number in the UK). I discovered hashtags, learned the art of €œre-tweeting and downloaded TweetDeck. (Are you lost yet?) I€™m up to 95 tweets but only 45 €œfollowers (no 43, I lost two overnight!) and definitely no new donations.
I tried being pithy (Looking at shooting locations in Joburg for Albie Sachs) €¦ colorful (Spectacular 7- meter high waves at Clifton Beach. White caps as far as the eye can see.)€¦ current (Shooting at KAYA-FM. Great dialogue on race relations in SA today.) €¦ and witty (Buried in books. History never gets old).
I tried asking outright for money. (Pls RT: Help us build 10,000 strong community for social justice films! Docu-twits where are you?) I tried again. (In production in South Africa. Documentary on nonracialism needs yr support. Pls join our community & help us grow #film #documentary). No matter what I€™ve done, the followers only trickle in. And trickle out again.
So what€™s the point? Not sure yet. I€™ve calculated that I need at least 10,000 followers to make the effort worthwhile for fundraising or audience outreach. And I'm a long way from that goal. But it€™s also kind of fun. It€™s quick and easy to update €“ much faster than blogging. (I€™ve just tweeted about this article (Writing about my Twitter experience for a doc maker website www.docsinprogress.org). (How€™s that for self-referential absurdity?) Honestly, I find the whole social networking world a bit ridiculous sometimes. But it€™s called progress. So follow me! I€™m at @carolynbtrmovie.
Note: Since sending us her blog entry, Projansky's Twitter followers have grown to 66 and her tweets to 105.
Have your own experiences with Tweeting for Film Fans? Tell us more in the comments.