Twitter Pacing

First there was Myspace. The site that put social networking on the map.

With its top 8 list, colorful backgrounds, music and video players, a myspace page could get very busy.

And then Facebook came along and stripped away all the flash. No more top 8's and no more music. Just a white back ground and some info.

And yet, it was still too much for some people. It could still get simpler.

Enter Twitter.

On Twitter, you can barely do anything. Just update your followers in 140 words or less and that's about it.


In many ways, a perfect concept.

So what does social networking have to do with screenwriting?

Well, I’ve been thinking more about pacing in the last couple of weeks.

What’s the best way to keep the pacing up?

The simple answer: white space.

And there’s a tool out there that can make sure your page is as white as possible.


Write every description and every block of dialogue like a tweet. 140 characters and that's it.

There will be so much white on the page that it'll be a joy to read.

Now of course you don’t want to write exactly like a tweet. Your characters can’t be named @Bob and @Jane.

And your screenplay can’t be called #Awesome Screenplay.

The usual tricks you would use to shorten a tweet can’t be used either.

Numbers have to be spelled out, you have to use the best grammar you can and if you have some one laugh you can’t put “lol”.

All you have to do is make sure most of the script is in 140 character chunks.

If you can do it in a tweet, you can do it in a script.

And if you don't have a Twitter account, get one. It's good practice.

The days of writing whatever you want are over.

You have to trim everything down to the bare bones and still tell an engrossing story if you want the reader to pay attention.

Long blocks of dialogue can scare the reader/executive. They scream, "Guess who's not going to lunch on time?”

But if you use Twitter pacing, they'll have time to spare.

And trust me, you can gain major points for getting an executive to lunch on time.

So here’s the challenge.

And it’s a big one.

Take every chunk of dialogue and description in your screenplay and cut and past them into a twitter box.
If it doesn’t fit, start trimming.

And just to prove that it can be done, every paragraph in this blog can fit in a twitter box.

That was a fast read huh?


  1. I LOVE this! I am definitely going to give this exercise a try and suggest all our #scriptchat people to do too! Less is indeed more.

    Yes, that comment does fit in 140 ;)

  2. Fun idea. I look forward to seeing some of the results from your challenge. =)

  3. Great post! And how fun to make your point with the post itself, sweet.

  4. stylistically a script written in twitter text would be very interesting though... of course depends on who is reading.

    Fun idea and a good tip to keep it short and interesting...

  5. I predicted, on Twitter, a couple of weeks ago, that soon writers would have to submit their scripts piece by piece via Twitter.

  6. way2go imin2it! Will definitely try this with my writing. I love white space and lots of dialogue. It fits 1 char, another may run out of sp...

    Okay that was 140 char and ran out on purpose. Thanx 4 the tip!

  7. Twitter as a gym.

    I like that and I'll use it when my partner starts ranting about my being an absentee mother.

  8. Thanks to everyone who posted a comment!

    I forgot to say one thing about the rules for this twitter trick:

    It's okay to have one big monologue or bad guy speech in your script. Most stories need one to wrap up a storyline or to pump up the reader for the big act three break.

    But you only get one. And it has to be less than ten lines (anything over ten lines in a screenplay, in my own opinion, is terrifying).

    Happy screentweeting everyone!

  9. Here's my response to a question I got on Twitter from nathanwrann:

    "#1 do spec scripts still sell?

    #2 does this change 1min per page rule?"

    I'll answer the second one first. You know what? I didn't really think of that. It will change the one page = one minute rule.

    For spec scripts.

    But the script that gets bought is not the script that is going to get shot. Someone else is going to write a shooting script, and it'll be up to them to get each page to a minute with camera angles and additional shots.

    With your spec script, you're just presenting your story. Hopefully you're presenting it as fast as you can.

    Plus, I never liked the whole one minute = one page rule. Because in that case, 110 pages would take 110 minutes. That's almost two hours! And with enough black on the page, it could seem even longer.

    Two or three of those a day could kill anyone(plus the time it takes to write the coverage).

    I once read a script that was 96 pages that took me 2 1/2 hours to read. Not fun.

    As for your first question, it's kind of a loaded one.

    Maybe it's best to save that for my next blog...