Twitter Wins or How Joe Swanberg and I became Drinking Buddies.

twitter-get-it-copyTwitter. I’m against it. It’s been like a firm stance against it for a long time. I don’t know why. I just don’t understand it and I don’t care to understand it. You’d think a person under the age of 30 would be all over Twitter, but I’m always slow with giving in to technology. (Just purchased my first iphone two months ago. It changed my life.)

My boyfriend has been telling me since 2008 – when he convinced me to make an account – that it’s important for networking. So technically, I’ve had an account, I just never go on it. Now Dane is on it all the time, posting things for The Tiny Protagonist. Telling me things he finds out through his Twitter feed. Finally, a couple of my actor friends tell me I have to be on Twitter. They stress the importance of putting yourself out there and being aware of what people are doing.

OK, OK, I give in. The girls give me a few pointers to better understand it. I have to go on it on my computer. I need the big screen to tackle this beast. I start “following” people (stalker much?) and see their tweets. It’s kind of cool to be up to speed on people in the business I’m interested in.

A tweet pops up that there will be a free screening of Drinking Budrinking-buddies-trailerddies the following night at Golden Road Brewing, followed by a Q&A with director Joe Swanberg. What??? I am so in. I need to meet this guy. I would not have known about this if it wasn’t for Twitter! Point for Twitter.

The next morning, I post my review for Drinking Buddies on The Tiny Protagonist and Dane posts it on Twitter. Then I post it on my account. We both tag (is it called tagging?) Swanberg in the tweet. Not too long after that, Swanberg favorites the tweet. It’s silly how excited I am about this. I hate that Twitter is exciting. 2-0.

That night, Mike and I attend the event. It’s a bitch to get there in all the traffic. Walking up, there’s an outside area with games like Baggo, foosball, an enormous Connect 4, and an equally large Jenga game. Mike immediately wants to play Baggo. But I’m not looking at Baggo. Swanberg is sitting right there in the fake grass playing with a little boy I assume to be (it is) his son. Wow, in the flesh.

joe swanberg

We enter the bar and it’s kind of awesome. It’s a huge place with lots of craft beer on draft and blackboards with the beer names and food options written in chalk. We order a beer – Mike a Heal the Bay IPA and me a Point the Way IPA. Tasty. Get a seat at one of the picnic tables outside. I spot Swanberg not too far away. Should I go over there now? No, I don’t want to bother him when he’s with his family. Two girls and a guy sit down next to us. The two girls disappear and I see them getting their picture taken with Swanberg. They come back and tell me he was very nice and I should go over. I mean, I didn’t come here for the movie. I’ve already seen it. I came here because I want to know Joe Swanberg. OK, I’m doing it.

I finally pump myself up and walk over. Hi, I’m Lindsay, I write for the Tiny Protagonist. I posted an article this morning on Drinking Buddies. (You favorited my tweet, remember?) “Oh yea, thanks.” Yea, no, thank you. I then ramble on about wanting to say hi and being nervous about coming over. “No, I’m glad you did.” I’m a big fan. I love the movie and I’m looking forward to seeing Hannah Takes the Stairs. I also can’t wait for your new one, Happy Christmas? I’m actually writing my first screenplay and it’s a Christmas movie so I have Christmas on the brain all the time. (I didn’t say any of this so eloquently.) “Oh cool, you should watch White Reindeer. Zach Clark directed it. (I think he refers to him as a friend.) “IFC should be distributing it later this year.” Awesome. I then tell him about the actors group I’m in of five girls. We’re hoping to write and produce a short that we can send out to directors. It’s down the road, but I would love to send that your way. “Yea, sure, I mean, worst thing that could happen is I tell you I’m super busy.” Yea, of course. “But you can email, or I’m on Twitter, so you can find me.” Oh I will! (Oh God, I’m creeping him out now.) We’ve been researching directors like you and I saw James Ponsoldt is here (I nod in his direction because he’s standing literally 10 feet away). “Yea, he’s my good friend from way back.” That’s awesome. I just love what you’re doing (What? I don’t know what I’m saying.) He probably wants me to leave him alone. I think. But then he asks me a question. “So how’s your screenplay going?” Oh, it’s good. I’m on my second draft now and I’m starting to feel the same way I did during my first draft, like, I just can’t wait to finish it so I can start rewriting again. He probably then said something insightful that I can’t remember now. I tell him it was great meeting him and shake his hand and walk away.

What a nice guy. I wish I didn’t get so nervous around people I look up to. He’s just a person.

After the movie is the Q&A. I move up closer to hear better. And so the guy can see me when I raise my hand. He does, thankfully, because the Q&A doesn’t last long. I ask about the improv aspect of the film. When you were rehearsing, and an actor did something you loved, did you say, yes, do that again in the next take? “I’m terrified of rehearsing. I don’t rehearse the first take. Jake (Johnson) says the first take is the writing take. After that there’s usually a sweet spot between [take] one and five.”

Swanberg’s love of beer is apparent and he ends the Q&A talking about it. “As an active consumer of Chicago craft beers we were very conscious and careful the way we used beer in the movie. And I was adamant that A., we couldn’t shoot in the brewery if I didn’t like the beer and B., a beer couldn’t be in the shot if I didn’t like it.” I like his style. Someone follows up, asking about the actors drinking beer on set. “Legally I shouldn’t force actors to drink at nine in the morning, but 45 minutes into shooting, they decided for themselves.”

Lindsay Stetson is a former collegiate field hockey player and sports journalist who is currently writing, producing and acting in the web anthology Conversations In Cars while working on feature spec scripts and her acting career. She’s on Twitter (but only technically) @LStet

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