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Of TILT and Twitter: How Twitter made this project & where we hope it’ll take it

by Julie Keck & Jessica King

What’s the TILT / Twitter connection? TILT was initially conceived 5 years ago by Phil Holbrook in a dream (see where the magic happened here), but it was actually born this winter on Twitter. A sterile environment? Not exactly. More like a petri dish where lots of wonderful things can thrive, as well as some grody ones. We hope that in the end our experiment in feature film ends up resembling penicillin more than streptococcus.

So what exactly happened on Twitter? We joined Twitter late in the summer of 2009. Soon after, we bumped into Phil. We can’t remember exactly how we all hooked up, although we suspect it had something to do with either Gary King, Film Snobbery Live or both. What we know for sure is that we were instantly tickled by Phil’s humorous and intelligent tweets as well as his genuine interest in what we were doing. (Never forget: flattery will get you everywhere, and this applies to getting people to follow you and share helpful hints on Twitter.)

As a result of our positive Twitter interactions, Phil checked out our work; we checked out his. Eventually we submitted some shorts to his film festival (EgoFest), and then we made plans to meet each other face-to-face. Later, once we started discussing TILT, we were introduced to Phil’s longtime friend and collaborator Jeremy Doyle. And the Tilt team was complete.

Can you really know what someone’s like by their Twitter demeanor? I’m sure there are some cases in which someone’s real life personality is different from their Twitter persona, but, in Phil’s case, the carpet matched the drapes. Er…that’s not quite the right metaphor. What we mean is that when we finally met Phil in person, he was just as funny, smart, and charismatic as his Twitterfeed had led us to believe. No bad blind date stories here.

Do we expect that most folks who seem fun and supportive on Twitter to be fun and supportive in real life? Our experience points to yes. Maybe there’s something intrinsically kind about Twitter. It takes just as much time to type “You rock!” as it does to type “You suck!” And, to our delight, we see WAY more of the former than the latter. Maybe it’s sort of like how it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile…

Does this mean that Twitter always bring the best out in people? Not necessarily. We’ve seen a few negative, ego-driven, downer posts on Twitter, but everyone’s allowed to have bad days. However, when we see that someone we follow is incredibly negative on a regular basis, we unfollow. Why? Because Twitterlife is too short for that sort of bad juju.

What does Twitter have to offer TILT? Lots, we think.

Ultimately, TILT owes a lot to Twitter. It brought our team together, taught us how to move forward with our feature project, and, hopefully, will help us build an audience that will make it a success.

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