Twitter. You may have heard of it. Me, I'm too verbose to be an early adopter of anything requiring concision. 140 characters? Is that even enough room for a haiku? I've got ThingsTo Say, people!
But if you want to get better at stuff, you've gotta do things that aren't a natural fit. People use a phrase around here, "in his wheelhouse," meaning that a task plays to a person's known strengths, and thus they are the perfect choice, sure to succeed.
To a point. On Season 3 of Sanctuary, I was fortunate to write a couple of episodes that were right down my alley, containing the sort of stories that I'm drawn to and known for writing. In fact the second of my two Season 3 episodes, "Awakening," is one that I actively pursued being assigned to because I was so fond of its premise.
In the course of writing Season 4, through the vagaries of scheduling and the needs of the ongoing story, the two scripts I wrote were well outside my usual specialty -- each in a different way. For 403, "Untouchable," in particular, I had to tap into a style and structure that did not come naturally to me. (More about the details of that after it airs. Spoilers, Sweetie!) And you know what? I am more proud of those two scripts than of anything I've done in a long time. I had to really wake up and dig down to get 'em done, and the results are something I am very proud of.
So, lesson re-learned: Don't fall back on old tricks when you can embrace new challenges.
And so, finally, Twitter. With ComiCon looming large in my sights, shiny new Smartphone in hand, I figured I'd jump in the deep end. I quickly found myself tweeting from any place I was standing still -- and cursing when I couldn't get a wireless connection from inside the press room while I waited for the Sanctuary Cast to make their rounds. No signal! Unthinkable!
Yesterday I participated in an event organized by some of our Sanctuary publicity gurus, in honor of the release of our Season 3 DVD sets. A number of cast and crew with Twitter Handles were recruited to play #SanctuaryTwitterTag for the day, passing a virtual baton around cyberspace by tagging one another with questions. Of course it didn't go to plan -- which I soon realized was all for the best. It would have been less fum and less memorable if it had all gone off without a hitch! (This is another of those important life lessons, I assure you.)
At the end of the day, I saw tweets from fans that resonated with me, saying that they had found and were now following one another thanks to participating in the event. I was reminded of the times when I was in frequent attendance at Highlander Conventions, realizing that while the panels with cast and crew are the initial reason for coming, after the first time the fans are gathering to see one another as much as to see us. That they could have (and sometimes do have) awesome conventions without us showing up at all. Their shared love is the glue to their community, online or off. We are mere facilitators.
And I figured out the secret to keeping it short on Twitter, too. It's a conversation, not a lecture. Characters on TV aren't supposed to make speeches longer than five lines, why would I?
Except over here, of course. Still got Things To Say.