Let me start this article by introducing myself.
I am the creator of Script Forward and I am primarily a screenwriter, but have also dabbled in playwrights. Before my career in screenwriting began, I was an entrepreneur, creating businesses and websites for any and every idea I had. I love working for myself, and I wouldn’t do life any other way!
During my entrepreneur years (for which I am still living), I learned open-source web development, which basically means web-development using free software, and without knowing coding. So basically, I don’t know how to program ‘Hello World’ without syntax errors, but I can build a social network! However…
Why build a Social Network for the Film and TV Industry?
The purpose of this article is not to criticize Facebook. Facebook has great features and has personally enhanced my life. The aim is to understand the benefits of a dedicated website and to address a question I have been asked several times by a variety of people online and off. Why create a separate network for the film and TV industry when Facebook exists?
I knew my idea was something I wanted to see on the internet, but would others also want it? Am I the anomaly?
Having been a Facebooker since its induction, I understood all the benefits of Facebook: groups, pages, eCommerce, etc…And I know there are many Facebook groups providing invaluable information and resources to the film and TV industry. I even admin a few groups. Facebook is an ever expanding list of features. Groups are becoming more like independent websites of there own at zero cost to the creator. Wait hang on…Did I say zero cost? Well, in many ways it is at zero cost, and there are now some ways to monetize groups to make money. There are however, not so “obvious” costs which I discovered during my mulling.
- Facebook groups and pages make Facebook rich.
Not only do group and page admins pay Facebook for advertising space, but all the effort that an admin puts into building their group/page keeps interested Facebook members strapped to Facebook. Few members convert to independent website members. Inevitably Facebook grows, while the admins website sits in the corner.
This may not appear an issue on the surface, but if the number of people that went to a Facebook group went straight to a dedicated website instead, that website would be a lot richer (and the internet economy would be more equally distributed). Subsequently, website members would also be richer. Why? Because the website owner would be able to monetize their site with advertisements, up-selling, or via eCommerce, and could then redistribute the websites wealth to it’s members in the form of funding community projects, expanding resources or giving back in some other way. Rarely will a Facebook group be able to expand to this level of success. And it is unlikely Facebook will reward groups and pages by redistributing it’s wealth to them. If they ever do, I will eat my metaphoric hat!
- Communities are not created
The primary purpose of Facebook is to connect with friends. As such Facebook members will rarely befriend someone they don’t know, even if that member operates within a similar field of interest. Thus reduces the ability to build relations with like minded people. A dedicated social platform, is less about forming friendships, and more about forming business associates. Friends are great for socializing with, but associates will help you to succeed in your chosen field of interest.
- Admins don’t own their group/page
If an admin were to post something controversial, or Facebook decided to change it’s terms and conditions pertaining to groups and pages, admins could see all their efforts go down the drain. At the end of the day Facebook (understandably) owns every group and page. and determines associated policies and it’s search algorithm.
- Facebook is a place for distraction.
You may be a screenwriter, or a make-up artist, but Facebook will bring you a tone of other stuff that will only serve as a distraction to your primary interest. As such, Facebook groups and pages are constantly competing for attention. A dedicated website built around your personal interest will keep you learning, and keep you in a productive frame of mind; continually helping you to perfect your craft.
So to answer the question directly: In addition to creating a free dedicated social network for the Film and TV industry that I would personally love, I also:
- Wanted to own my efforts.
- Wanted to be in charge of the economic growth of my website.
- Wanted to have the economic freedom to continually increase membership benefits, fund projects and create a productive and exciting environment rich in resources.
- Wanted members to form meaningful industry connections.
- Wanted members to not be distracted by stuff that will not necessary help their craft or advance them in their field of interest.
I often describe Script Forward as the Facebook for the radio, theatre, film and TV industry, but Script Forward is more akin to a cross between Linked In and Facebook. It has the benefits of both those worlds.
And what you see now is just the beginning. I endeavour to make Script Forward the best hang-out for newbies and professionals within the industry.
Once you Script Forward, you’ll never go back!