Monday, April 23, 2007

Websites for Writers

Blogging. Websites. HTML. Skype. Instant Messaging. SMS. MMS. These, and other terms, are fast becoming the new vocabulary and currency of the 21st century.

Of course, it’s nothing new. It was all happening in the 90s. The internet boom. Mobile phones. You could see it all coming. However, I always thought it was a bit geeky. A bit naff. I resisted a mobile phone for a long time and now only use a ‘pay as you go’ for basic necessities. I wouldn’t have a clue about Bluetooth or Blackberry or anything like that. Back in the 90s, if you had any kind of inside knowledge of techy stuff, you were a computer nerd, a webhead or an anorak. Nowadays, it’s the reverse. You’re cool, indispensable and probably wealthy.

Still, for some reason, I always thought I was fairly on top of the latest technology. In reality, I’m straggling behind somewhat (I’ve been promising myself a PS2 for years, but I might as well get a PS3 now, once I can afford the blimmin' thing). Basic computer specifications and laptop info go completely over my head. In fact, I wouldn’t even be on-line if it weren’t for Blogger and Moonfruit. Thank you, Blogger, for making it free and easy to blog and Moonfruit’s website builder is basic and effective for my needs, so phew.

The Writers’ Guild held a talk on Websites for Writers last Thursday, and they asked me to be part of the panel. I was happy to oblige but prior to the event, I felt a bit anxious that it might be a bit ‘be there and be square’. Naturally, that wasn’t the case at all. In this day and age, it’s vital to have on-line presence and knowledge, no matter what your experience or credits. The talk was great because Tom Smith at Everythingability told the novice webheads, like me, why the internet is such a useful place, and how you go about setting up an effective website.

Then, Sophie Nicholls talked about her Lots of Big Ideas blog and, in particular, her use of Wikis, which is an internet phenomenon that I was only dimly aware of before hand. Tom Green, the Guild’s online editor, has a full report on the event here while Tom Smith set up a blogging point of contact for those who were inspired to start their own blogs here.

So, with blogging and websites, it seems it's very much a case of "be there or be square". A director recently asked me to recommend a few writers for a project he wants to develop so I pointed out a few blogs that I like. There were others I could have recommended but they were anonymous or didn't have an email or relevant contact details, and that put the director off. Later, he asked me for more as he "didn't get the right vibe" or "wasn't impressed" by some of the sites, so a half decent holding page and/or a well-presented blog does go a long way in making first on-line impressions count.


Stuart Perry said...

I was one of the new blog recruits created last Thursday, Danny, and I can only say thanks for the inspiration you, and the other panel members, provided.

I am amazed that blogger makes it so easy, and overwhelmed at the quantity and quality of screenwriting blogs out there. Now, I only have to find time to keep up with them all...

Stuart Perry

potdoll said...

I would put my contact details on the blog... if i knew how to do it.

James Henry said...

Now you see, sometimes I worry about a blog being an advert for my scriptwriting, as my posts (half-arsed, nonsensical) are often in a completely different style to my scripts (professional, disciplined).


Danny Stack said...

Hi Stuart, it is amazingly easy isn't it? And P-Dolly, I think you just plonk your email or whatever you want on your Blogger settings. And James, I don't think you've got anything to worry about as you've got some propah credits and stuff, and the blog reflects your overall sense of humour, n'est pas? I don't know why I used French there.

Lucy V said...

Because you're mad. Clearly.

Hmmmmm, intriguing stuff...Did you reccommend ME? I hope not, 'cos that means that I suck 'cos I didn't get contacted. Though you realise if you didn't, I'll send the boys round. But first I'll have to make it back to Bournemouth. But I'll take your guinea pigs hostage first.

James Moran said...

PDoll: Go to Blogger, log in, and go to the Dashboard (should be a link wherever you are). Click on Edit Profile. Then put a tick in the box next to "Show my email address". You can change the contact email just under Identity, in case you don't want your regular email spammed etc.

OtherJames: I worry about that too, that people will see the latest foul-mouthed rant on my blog and think ooh, blimey, not touching him with a bargepole, he's obviously mad.

potdoll said...

Done it! thanks James.

Anonymous said...

Facebook. Seriously, the only reason you'll regret it is how much time you spend on there. It is the new networking tool.