Bring Your Characters and Film to Life via Social Media

March 5, 2009 at 9:52 pm 13 comments

A huge thank you to Erica Hargreave for all her hard work on yesterday’s panel and to Maayan Cohen and Danika Dinsmore.

Among other subjects, Carol Sill & Erica addressed the role of “characters” in telling a story via social media.*  Gillian Shaw (who was also on the panel & was great) subsequently spoke to Carol & I about our thoughts on the subject.


Now I rarely follow “characters” – likely because there are few television shows and fictional characters that engage me enough to follow their “activities” online.**  And with characters where it’s not clear the “person” isn’t a person, there is a certain deception involved.

It’s a double edged sword for an artist – put forth a character that makes the fictional aspect apparent and many won’t follow an “unknown” character.  Not unless they have something really interesting to say.  Which is why I do follow Emme Rogers (as do many others): she’s fun, flirty and I think the conversation that takes place around her and her exploits brings a great sense of play to Twitter.

And characters can be very useful – and exciting – both for the artist and for the storyteller.

Allowing the character to live in other platforms before the film is released – and whilst the film is being made – gives the character a larger/broader  life – and helps with publicity.

Related stories (lets call them “pre-stories”, for this point) can engage the audience and allow them to have a larger window into/to the character.  After all, any character has a life that began before the point at which the film begins.  Consider what aspects of their life you can explore and what kind of tools you could use to tell the story (video on Youtube et al., photos on Flickr, brief but enticing spurts on Twitter etc.) What parts of their story can bring more life to the character and the film?  Where were the characters 6 months before? What interactions did they have the day before? That morning?   You can see how this can be especially useful for something like a mystery/suspense project!

And, as I said in the above article (and as I have heard Monique Trottier mention with regards to books), there is no reason the end of the film needs to be the end.  I can tell you that there have been several films (Red Road, Sideways) where I was consumed with reading more about the film after seeing it. Or where I’ve seen a film numerous times. So desperate was I to stay “engaged”.

For the artist,  this process, while time-consuming, is in another sense, almost effortless.  After all, as a writer and actor, I always created a background for the characters etc. And, much as I’d love to pretend I’m special, this is pretty standard practice.  So such items can be extremely creative and satisfying – as well as a boon when it comes to building an audience.

And now, with all the tools available through social media, there’s the opportunity to give the audience more, to keep them engaged. Your creativity is the limit when it comes to where your story begins – or ends.


*We managed to talk about several social media topics, but there were some key things we didn’t have the time to address, so I hope we do have the opportunity to do a part 2 with this group so we can take our discussion to the next level.  Oh & Erica and Leah Nelson (who was helping out by being Linkgrrl09 and finding the sites we all talked about) decided to play this video while I spoke, to help er, demonstrate my expertise…

**However, get any or all the characters from The Office on Twitter and I will press “follow” until I develop carpal tunnel.

***I’ll be looking into the use of Alternate Reality Games for independent film projects in a future post.

Want more articles about artists? I have a whole series here.



Bring Your Characters and Film to Life Using Social Media” by Monica Hamburg

Entry filed under: artist series, film, Social Marketing, social media, twitter, Web 2.0. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Getting the Crowd to “Make” Your Film – e.g. “Lost Zombies” Where In The World is Monica Hamburg?

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. openchannel  |  March 6, 2009 at 2:44 am

    me like monica hamburg. 🙂

    so great to see you yesterday!

  • […] Monica Hamburg’s Me Like the Interweb […]

  • 3. Monique  |  March 6, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Sounds like a great conversation. The current characters I’m following include BettyDraper from MadMen. I follow her on Twitter and it’s hilarious.

    @TheDryCleaner Thank you. I am often having to remove lipstick stains from Don’s shirts. Ladies in business are so pushy these days.

  • 4. raincoaster  |  March 6, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Fake Karl Lagerfeld’s blog is hilarious, but he’s not so great on twitter. Fake Magnum PI, however, is awesome! As is Han Solo; I never knew he had a Prince Albert!

  • 5. Emme  |  March 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    It is you dear girl, that’s fun and flirty (not to mention devilishly sexy), which is why I have so much fun engaging with you.

    Speaking of engaging, you shouldn’t have posted that link that Erica & Leah kept playing. I couldn’t help myself. It’s too damn funny! So it may have happened to make it’s way to the Home Page of ‘Being Emme’ this morning.

    Love you!


  • 6. Kate  |  March 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Hey yas,
    It was lovely to hear you speak on Wednesday, I especially enjoyed your sweet dance moves! It’s interesting to see the reasons celebrities use twitter (@mrskutcher @aplusk), and how fictional characters use twitter. Both very entertaining right?!

  • 7. My Ears Are Burning! | Being Emme  |  March 6, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    […] The Musings of the Delightfully Crazy […]

  • 8. Christopher :O  |  March 8, 2009 at 12:55 am

    Hey Monica, thanks for reading my article ( at CultureHacker!

    Enjoyed your article! Definitely think Uncle Rico should share his football golden days with his fans … maybe there’s still time … who knows, maybe there’s an “UNCLE RICO” spin-off in the works somewhere!

    Look forward to future articles!

  • 9. monicahamburg  |  March 8, 2009 at 5:45 am

    @OpenChannel Thanks, Danika! It was great to see you too. You brought up some great points, btw.
    ImproveEverywhere especially seems soooo cool – and their success is wonderful & inspiring.

    @Monique It was. And Carol loves the MadMen characters too! Just talking about you yesterday as well, btw. 🙂

    @Raincoaster That’s hilarious! I will have to check fakeMagnumPI etc. out!

    @Emme You know you can never humiliate me more than I humiliate myself…

    @Kate It was great to see your beautiful face there. I can never have too many hot, smart gals in the audience. Yes, It is interesting to see both celebrities (who are also a sort of fiction, ay?) and fictional characters on Twitter.

    @Christopher Thanks! Loved yours! As I mentioned in the comments to your post, it was humbling to find your piece after I wrote mine. Glad you enjoyed mine.:) I can only dream that Uncle Rico will have some sort of spin-off… Come on Jared Hess, make it so!

  • 10. roro  |  March 8, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    I’m late to the game but wanted to comment on the greatness of this article – extremely helpful to folks like me who are about to embark on just such a experiment! Thanks for the excellent tips and food for thought.

  • 11. lame2.0  |  March 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

    We’re following independent “characters” on Twitter and looking to Option/License them for traditional filmed entertainment…

    @hotamishchick is one of the best characters; likely a guy in New Jersey, which makes him/her even more interesting…

    @ungraceful shows promise as well, but would only be late-night cable friendly


  • 12. miroslodki  |  March 12, 2009 at 5:52 am

    Hi M
    good article
    I am really excited about the development of cross platform communities- it’s the stuff that cults are made of

    the perfect use of social media


  • 13. Engage Your (Film) Audience « Me Like The Interweb  |  May 17, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    […] Remember that your characters had a life before the film too.  (In a post on this topic I wrote: “Allowing the character to live in other platforms before the film is released – and […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Monica Hamburg – Who Am I?

Good question (I wonder this all the time).
Linkedin profile is: here.
Find out more here.

Our Twitter for Business Workshops

I also offer Social Media Audits and a Twitter for Business Workshop (along with other services). For more information click here.

"The Twitter workshop opened my eyes to a whole new way of doing business. Terrific advice on how to best use twitter to create new business."

- Steve Rosenberg , Founder and Instructor, Pull Focus Films

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence. I love attention - so feel free to quote me - as long as you, as above, attribute it to me (and only use a few lines of text). If you would like to use more, please contact me. Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

%d bloggers like this: