Who are you?

If I type your name into Google, will I be able to find you? Do you come up on the first page? Will it come up alongside the word ‘scriptwriter’? Will I be able to find contact information for you? Samples of your work? A CV?

Hopefully, the answer’s yes. I hope you’ve all realised by now, the Internet is one of the best marketing tools anyone has at their disposal. Every time I apply for a writing job, or even chat to someone who might be interested in working with me, the traffic on my website goes up. Every enquiry I send out results in a search for “phillip barron” finding either my website or this blog.

I’ve got my profile on as many movie making sites as I can find – if I’ve missed any, please let me know. Having an IMDb page helps, I know the first thing I do when I get the opportunity to work with someone, is check out their credits (or lack of them).

I’ve had work purely on the basis of my website. People have started searching on UKScreen or Shooting People or whatever and have found my name; from there they’ve gone to my website and read some of my scripts. They’ve then got in touch about me writing for them, or sometimes asked if they can produce one of my short scripts.

All these things come from being open about who I am and what I can do. Other writers seem to try and hide their identity, why? When we were hiring writers for The WOW Life, we’d get letters from people who had no previous experience – fair enough, everyone has to start somewhere – but they wouldn’t send a writing sample; even when we specifically asked for one.

I have to say, the worst people for this were the ones with scriptwriting degrees; presumably on the grounds they had a degree, that should be all the proof we needed of their genius.

One of the best, and funniest writers I know has almost zero online presence. If you don’t know her, you won’t find her; and very few people do.

Is this really the best way to behave? I know a fancy website and a high web-visibility is no replacement for talent, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. It’s not the be all and end all of self-promotion, but it’s a good place to start and I think it’s the minimum entry requirement.

I check out potential employers’ websites, and the evidence suggests they check out mine. Occasionally they even comment on the site or this blog. So my question is this: who are you and what are you doing to make sure everyone can find out?

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Categories: Industry Musings | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Who are you?

  1. Too true, Phill. And recently, a director asked me to recommend a few writers for a project he wants to develop, so I suggested a few bloggers and there were a few anonymous ones I would have mentioned but as they were anonymous, I didn’t bother!

  2. Exactly, what are you going to say?

    “There’s this person called ‘The Dribbling Nib’, I don’t know if it’s male or a female, I’ve never read any of their work and I don’t even know which country they live in; but their blog posts are quite funny and they can slag off TV shows like no one’s business.”

    “Sounds great, who do I make the cheque out to?”

    By the way, I hope you put my name forward.

  3. TonyB

    I work in TV production and I’ve been exploring writers’ blogs for the past few months as I’ve become increasingly interested in the craft of writing. I’ve found them insightful, educational and often pretty funny! Now I’m at the stage where I’m considering starting my own blog.

    Apart from the obvious questions like what’s it going to be about, what’s the angle etc, there’s the key dilemma of whether to post under my own name or a pseudonym (or perhaps a pseudonym which leaves lots of clues as to who I actually am).

    It seems to me that one of the pleasures in blogging is letting rip and putting the world to rights, especially about your own profession. This is certainly the case with writers but I’ve also found lots of amusing, sarcastic blogs from a range of other professionals, even policemen! Of course they all posted anonymously.

    There’s pleasure to be had from reading and writing scurrilous and humorous material which gives vent to frustration and with which the reader can identify. However, would it be wise to put one’s name to it?

    Given that potential collaborators and employers can research who you are with a click of google, having them discover your innermost thoughts from your blog might not be wise! If a person blogs under their own name then the chances are they’d have to rein in what they want to say.

    If I work in TV and I want to blast the makers of ‘Life on Mars’ for coming up with a stupid ending which didn’t do justice to what had come before, do I do it under my own name or a pseudonym?

    Newspaper columnists write such articles under their own name, but the key difference is that they are commenting from the sidelines – they do not work in the business they’re commenting on so there’s no direct consequence, whereas if you’re writing about your own business you have to be more careful.

    I can certainly see the power of a good, personalised blog as a marketing tool – Danny Stack, Lucy Vee and Jurgen Wolf, to name but three, have proved this point.

    Perhaps the solution is to have two blogs – one as a marketing tool under your own name and the second as a piece of cyber entertainment – quirky, weird, offensive and hopefully funny. There again, perhaps not everyone wants to ‘let rip’, and in that case just having a non-contentious, identified blog should be fine.

    Anyway – that ending … rant, rave, spleen, grrrr etc. 😉

  4. I absolutely agree with you there, Tony. If you’re going to slag people off and don’t want anyone to know who you are, anonymity is the way forward.

    Sorry, that was a stupidly obvious statement.

    It all depends on whether or not raising your profile, even slightly, might help your career. If yes, then you have to decide, what’s more important: being able to vent or your career?

    One of my reasons for blogging is to raise my internet profile a tiny bit. It’s worked, I’ve met people who’ve read my blog and like it. I know people google my name and I know they find this site and my website. That makes it worth it to me.

    I don’t really understand new or struggling writers who don’t want to promote themselves; but hey, horses for courses. If it’s working for them, great.

  5. TonyB

    Indeed. The web is such a powerful tool it seems a shame not to harness that power in self promotion.

    I’m going for the dual site option at the moment, so if you see a blog appear called The Dribbling Nib, you’ll know where the name came from!

    Funnily enough, another fledgling writer who revealed his own name yesterday has now gone back to his cloak of anonymity (Jackson Pillock). It would be interesting to find out why.

    http://pillockspad.blogspot.com/index.html

  6. Been fascinating to read this, partly as one of the unwashed anonymous bloggers, but more so because I’m a writer currently researching an MA paper about writers and blogging. If anyone here would be happy to leave a comment with your thoughts/ideas I’d be really grateful – either at my blog or email to elfrea at email dot com.

    What you are saying is interesting. I tumbled into blogging, thought I hated it and then submerged slowly into a new world that is compulsive and inspiring. Anonymity gave me a great fictionalised space to play in whilst finding my feet. I’m now ready to take the plunge and try to raise a profile, get work etc and so my website goes live this week. The domain is my real name, and links to my blog, similarly my blog will link to the website.

    Does this kind of mean I can agree with all of you, all at the same time…

  7. There’s something happening to me at the moment which I’d love to be able to blog anonymously about; but I can’t, so I’ll just have to resort to ranting at the walls. If I did blog about it, as well as upsetting the person involved, it’ll just make me look like a puppy-kicker.

    Which I am, but I don’t want anyone to know.

    Pillock’s return to the darkness is just a comfort thing, I guess. This does seem to be a hot topic at the moment.

    The anon’s who rant and slag off, I find their blogs funny – that’s fine, they do what they’re supposed to. The ones who blog about their aspiring career, occasionally I read something and think:

    “This guy/gal knows what they’re talking about. I wonder what they’ve written?”

    I have a scout around, if I can’t find anything reasonably quickly, I give up. If I do that, do potential employers do that too? Who knows, but however infinitesimal the chance, it’s not one I want to take.

  8. ‘Just a comfort thing…’

    Could be.

    Anyway, glad to discover your blog. Shall be reading.

  9. And I yours, you’re very welcome.

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