“This tweet has a future, I tell ya,” says the man in the big black trench coat and black fedora. He’s smoking a cigar. “I’m talkin’ Twitter fame, pictures, podcasts, spinoffs, you name it,” he insists in an old-timey Manhattan accent. You’ve made a viral tweet, and your ego is being stroked. A small fight has broken out in the comments and a small army of sympathizers has already taken your defence. But, you’re a comedian now, and you have no time for squabbles. You’ve gained a couple hundred followers in a day’s time.
You’ve researched Pinterest boards on organizing your suitcase and you’re ready to go get discovered in the City of Angels. Your resume? Your viral tweet. You have a solid fan base, now. You’ve even researched Zillow for houses that are within your price range–the salary of a successful writer, of course!
But, horror hits when in the next few days, the jokes you post on Twitter don’t do the same numbers as the previous. Are you…a one hit wonder? A comedian flop? Did you lose your edge? Did you ever even have one?
The First Steps
You research other accounts that have tens, hundreds, thousands of followers, and interactions on interactions on all their posts. But where do you fit in? Are you not as funny and clever as these people? Are you not as quick of wit? Sharp of eye? Rose of cheek?
On that day, Hustlers, the movie, is trending. Without thinking too much about it, you tweet the first rational thought that comes to mind at the close of the movie: “Hustlers is a Martin Scorsese movie for women and gays.” From this, you get much higher numbers than your previous tweets, you feel like a TV producer, counting your evening ratings. By using the trending topic and including an often-mentioned name that people often search or reference, you’ve reached more eyes.
Fitting yourself into a trending moment on Twitter boosts your followers by a sharp rise. You keep posting tweets around current political, cultural and social events, like stand-up comedians before you, but your hunger for more followers isn’t sated. You want a sharp rise like before, but how to crack the nut of the viral tweet?
Forcing a joke always results in poor numbers and interactions, you notice. Observant and relatable tweets have always churned out numbers for you, but lately, you’re beginning to feel that you’re forcing jokes. It’s difficult to come up with fresh material for your fans, especially with the constant stress of wanting to impress. You take a break for a few days, tired of the Internet and constantly posting your thoughts online to little avail.
In the few days’s time that you take a break your numbers, followers, and interactions decline. What phonies your fans are!!! You leave them a minute and they grow cold on you–you’re tired and washed up. “That’s showbiz, baby,” you rationalize to yourself. “I gotta keep this ball a-rollin’!” Then, you notice other Twitter users have gained a significant number of followers in the time you were away, just by constantly posting. Of course they got a company to approach them to promote a room light! Humph!
What Gifts Twitter Holds
You get serious, you want to be an online comedian. You set alerts, think of jokes, quips and comments to make throughout the day and post them on a regular schedule, multiple times a day. In the weeks following, you gain followers steadily and even have people approaching you to promote their product or company. You get a cool new gadget out of it, but your thirst isn’t quenched. Can you use your Twitter for tangible income? You want to write for a company that will pay well.
“Is it possible?” You wonder. Of course, there are a couple of people online who have managers, agents and jobs in entertainment who are hyper-present on Twitter. There are people who have made valuable connections and jobs through networking with editors, show runners, writers and directors. How often does this happen, though?
Finding representation usually starts with you approaching an agent or manager that you like or that you’ve noticed has liked or RT’d your tweets. Rarely will they approach a Twitter-Star, unless they also have stand-up or sketch comedy under their belt as well. Start the conversation by talking to someone in the biz. Begin a friendship with them, asking about the business, what they want, and if they’re looking for new talent. Making connections with other writers, directors, producers, agents and managers is huge. If you need someone to call on or if you want to help someone out in the future, there’s a connection.
A vital part of finding and keeping representation includes being as easily consumable as possible. Nothing controversial–no racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic comments. Nothing that would start a fight or cause offence should come out through your fingertips. What manager wants to represent and broadcast talent that’s intolerant?
From Twitter Connections to Commissions
You want to gain more followers on Twitter than you’ve previously amassed and make an image for yourself. You post a new profile pic and get a huge number of interactions, as well as a massive surge in followers. In keeping with this trend, you post more pictures of yourself and pictures in general to increase engagement, and it works quickly. Adding a person to a profile makes people think of you as an individual rather than a robot. Now, you’re humanized. You’re a recognizable comedian.
After connecting with a few people in particular, you continue to meet more and more like-minded users. You feel confident enough on the website to shoot random messages to others. You have dialogues and public communications with users with huge followings. People with influence on Twitter start following back and you feel a rush knowing that the admiration between you and other comics is mutual.
The interactions you have with famous Tweeters exposes you to others you didn’t know about. With them brings new reach and extends your viewership to new territories that you hadn’t considered or looked into before.
You’ve created a huge following and made connections with people who could further your career. There’s a couple of agents and managers you like and you’ve found great help with some. You’re established online, but you’ve yet to find lucrative income from Twitter.
The next step is to use the connections you’ve made and the work that you’ve established and create a resume to put yourself in the path of people who are looking for young writers, such as show runners, established comedians, sketch comedy groups or literary agencies. From the connections you’ve built and the work you’ve shown, it’s not that difficult to find people looking for employment. You’ve successfully graduated from an online persona to a bona-fide creator. The man with the trench coat and the fedora runs into you as you step out to hop on the train to work. “I could see it in ya from the start,” he says, lighting his cigar.