From Spike Lee to Judd Apatow to Lena Dunham, filmmakers who make the most of their 140 characters
Hollywood directors know how to construct an interesting scene, but in the age of 140-character micro-blogging, more than a few know how to construct a quality tweet, too.
From snappy one-liners to opinions on topical issues to major casting announcements or the occasional sneak peek of a movie in production, filmmakers have a lot to offer through social media.
TheWrap first looked at tweet-worthy directors back in August 2010; the 2013 version finds a few still on our radar, and a good number we've just recently caught up with.
1. Kevin Smith
Director-writer, "Clerks," "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back," "Chasing Amy," "Red State"
Why follow?: Smith, also on our 2010 list, regularly offers his unique brand of commentary on all things Hollywood — and hockey. Plus, Twitter is the director's favorite place to announce major news about his upcoming projects and his career. Last December, he tweeted that his "last cinematic effort as a writer-director will be 'CLERKS III.'" Last week, he announced he had started to write the upcoming film's script. It's a safe bet that there will be more exciting developments to come.
"20 years later, this is the beginning of the end… http://instagr.am/p/WmhcOUxy_S/"
"Don't believe the hype: Using hashtag #ClerksCast will NOT get you cast as an extra in CLERKS III. I'll let you know when it's casting time."
Be prepared for: Lots of promotion for his latest "Jay and Silent Bob" adventure, plus his AMC show, "Comic Book Men" and his weekly comedy show with KROQ radio personality Ralph Garman, "Hollywood Babble-On."
2. Paul Feig
Director, "Bridesmaids," "The Heat"
Why follow?: He's a funny guy who writes funny tweets, especially when live-tweeting an event like the Oscars. Or Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl.
"Release some of those kittens onto the field and let's have a real ending for this year's #PuppyBowl!"
"Is that a puppy cool down tub or is @AnimalPlanet just making soup? #PuppyBowlScandal"
Be prepared for: A whole lot of snappy one-liners, but not much discussion of anything else.
3. Darren Aronofsky
Director, "Black Swan," "Requiem for a Dream," "Noah"
Why follow? Aronofsky has more of a sense of humor than his films suggest, best exemplified on Twitter by the pictures he shares. He's also unabashedly honest about things that really matter to him, like President Obama's State of the Union address — a speech he's not afraid to admit made him cry.
"scared to ever walk near this again: pic.twitter.com/XxEsatiAdA"
"quite the #stateoftheunion. never cried before. and executive power threats on climate change! excited to witness this president rule."
Be prepared for: His thoughts on food he is currently eating, on television he is currently watching and very little mention of "Noah," that major movie he's currently making.
4. Judd Apatow
Director-writer, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" "This Is 40"
Why follow? Plenty of the expected chuckles but also Apatow's perspective on issues outside of the Hollywood bubble. Gun violence, politics and the pope were a few of the things on his radar in February that made it clear not everything is a joke to this funnyman.
"Canal plus is blocking an amour parody for copyright reasons. Grow up canal plus! Amour will survive it. pic.twitter.com/d9hlbZBzTZ"
“'@SweetPeaLP: I went and saw the new Die Hard flick… I'd say it's a renter. Wait for the DVD. Just OK.' But I already bought it on VHS."
Be prepared for: Weekly promotion of "Girls," which he executive produces — and even more promotion for projects his friends are working on.
5. Brad Bird
Director, "The Incredibles," "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol," "Tomorrowland"
Why follow? He loves to re-tweet comedians like Patton Oswalt and Demetri Martin, in between making statements about what matters most to him: The art of filmmaking
"Discovering a SEINFELD with Wayne Knight as Newman is like finding hot bonus fries at the bottom of the bag from your favorite burger joint."
"Hipsters growing aware that Coca-Cola made in Mexico actually IS what most Americans THINK "Coca-Cola Classic" is, & buying at inflated $$."
"Is Chris Nolan at least getting fees for all the crumbling cities & "Inception horns" we keep seeing/hearing in marketing for other films?"
Be prepared for: The teasing of any curious followers aching to know what his next movie, "Tomorrowland," is about. It stars George Clooney — and that's about all he wants the world to know.
6. Lena Dunham
Director-writer, "Girls," "Tiny Furniture"
Why follow? Like her HBO comedy "Girls," her Twitter feed is funny, honest, revealing and unpredictable. It's also wonderful to witness how Dunham handles her critics (a.k.a. strangers insulting her over the Internet) without ever stooping to their level of disrespect.
"Approx. 78 people a day tweet me 'I've seen your boobs more than I've seen my own.' That CAN'T be true, says the literalist."
"I hardly drink, don't do drugs. My major vice is reading the 'personal life' section of Wikipedia entries til' I'm doused in despair."
Be prepared for: Being compelled to read through all of the inexplicable hatred spat at her over Twitter. Also, recurring pictures of her dog and, of course, tweets promoting "Girls."
Also read: 25 Directors Worth Following on Twitter
7. Mike Birbiglia
Director-writer, "Sleepwalk With Me"
Why follow? Not only is he and up-and-coming director, but he's a comedian. And a good one, too, known for sharing personal, painful and hilarious stories on stage. His tweets are short and sweet examples of his critically acclaimed brand of humor.
"Good night, everyone. The sun will come out, tomorrow. This super annoying red head kid told me."
"I think I have Bieber fever. I've been throwing up so much that it looks like I'm dancing."
"Tonight when I was looking at my phone for directions I walked into a street sign. Bad directions."
Be prepared for: Reminders to buy tickets for his upcoming comedy shows that may or may not be in your area.
8. Bryan Singer
Director, "The Usual Suspects, "X-Men," "Jack the Giant Slayer," "X-Men: Days of Futures Past"
Why follow? He breaks big news about his return to the comic-book genre with the upcoming "Days of Futures Past." Last month, he announced that "Game of Thrones" star Peter Dinklage joined the cast, prompting debate and discussion all across the web as to what character he could possibly be playing. This month, he announced the return of Halle Berry as Storm.
"Couldn't be more excited that #HalleBerry has joined the cast of #XMen #DaysofFuturePast. Hopefully she can improve the weather in Montreal."
"How many days until @Comic_Con? #XMen #DaysofFuturePast #SDCC pic.twitter.com/FMPSj17p"
"Very excited to welcome #annapaquin, @ellenpage & @shawnrashmore to #XMen #DaysofFuturePast – thank you @BrettRatner for letting them live!"
Be prepared for: Regular updates about what he is doing with his life when he's not busy making "X-Men" — and not a peep about "Jack the Giant Slayer" bombing at the box office.
9. Michael Moore
Director, "Roger & Me," "Bowling for Columbine," "Capitalism: A Love Story"
Why follow? Never shy about his opinions, his tweets made headlines in February when he broke the news that Emad Burnat, the Oscar-nominated Palestinian director of "5 Broken Cameras," was detained at LAX when arriving to attend the Academy Awards. Two days later, his tweets continued to make news during a Twitter fight with Buzzfeed over the factual authenticity of his tweets about Burnat.
"Can't wait for Buzzfeed's next effort to cover their ass and give us more LAX Dept of Homeland Security talking points. #tool"
"It's John Steinbeck's birthday. Why 'The Grapes of Wrath'? 'I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this'"
Be prepared for: A liberal point of view — and lots of criticism for anyone against it.
10. Seth Rogen
Director-writer, "This Is the End"
Why follow? Because you love Rogen's filthy sense of humor displayed in movies like "Superbad," "Knocked Up" and "Pineapple Express." In February, a number of users confused him for Seth MacFarlane and assumed he was hosting the Oscars. After trying (and failing) to correct the misinformed, he decided to roll with it and tweeted, "So psyched to be hosting the Oscars tonight!" And with his directorial debut landing in theaters this summer, he's been giving his followers plenty of peeks at "This Is the End."
"Guess what (or who) is on fire. This is The End! pic.twitter.com/33dibFXuZw"
"'House of Cards' just made its way onto the long list of shows that I love and do not understand at all."
"'@katyperry: Happy Thursday everyone!' I guess on Friday, Saturday, Wednesday, Tuesday, Monday and Sunday I can go f–k myself?"
Be prepared for: More F-bombs to follow.
11. Errol Morris
Director, "Vernon, Florida," "The Thin Blue Line," "The Fog of War"
Why follow? The Oscar-winning documentarian follows nobody on Twitter, yet he has amassed more than 38,000 followers. Why? His steady stream of internal monologue expressed through 2,732 tweets to date.
"Everybody seems to be writing about movies that are "based" on reality. (Whatever that means…?)"
"Someone needs to come up with a better term than 'global warming.' (It sounds like a Carnival cruise with working toilets.)"
"Twitter never suggests that you might enjoy following no one. (Possibly an oversight.)"
Be prepared for: A lot of vague references to Shakespeare.
12. Rian Johnson
Director, "Brick," ""Looper," "Breaking Bad"
Why follow? Not only is he open to answering questions about his own movies, but he discusses others' as well, all while displaying a great sense of humor.
"Because this hotel has HBO I've seen this week's Girls about 5 times now, and I kinda think it's brilliant."
"Also Real Sex still exists and is still the worst"
"Office comedy set on the Death Star #MyStarWarsSpinoff"
Be prepared for: A never-ending stream of conversation with other Twitter users.
13. Jason Winer
Director, "Arthur," "Modern Family," "1600 Penn"
Why follow? A severely under-followed director. His recent criticism of "A Good Day to Die Hard" — otherwise known as #sighhard — was right on the money (and maybe saved his followers some money). He also scores points for making fun of himself and delivering interesting facts about one of his "1600 Penn" actors, Bill Pullman.
"Trivia. Pullman was a wrestler, and did his own stunts. #1600penn"
"Almost my entire acting career, summed up in one $10.48 residual check. pic.twitter.com/BaftSRoz"
"SPOILER ALERT: before he tortures McClane, a bad guy gives a monologue about how he could have been a dancer while eating a CARROT #sighhard"
"Soon there will be a new Pope. And also, alive, somewhere, the old Pope. It's going to be like having two Santa Clauses."
Be prepared for: Lots of promotion for "1600 Penn," though at least it's creative.
14. Edgar Wright
Director, "Shaun of the Dead," "Scott Prilgrim vs. the World," "The World's End"
Why follow? Since creating an account, he has typed nearly 12,000 140-character messages, most of which are either humorous in nature or honest opinions about whatever he's watching at the moment. Wright uses Twitter like an extension of his brain..
"Saw 'Book of Mormon' on Broadway. Just saw it again on the West End. If I wrote something that great I'd take the rest of my life off."
"A recent survey suggests only 13% of people who use the acronym 'ROTFL' are actually rolling on the floor laughing. This is disappointing."
"Idea for thriller: Kidnapped man can only communicate his whereabouts to the FBI with the Emoji icons on his phone. Suspense. Smiley faces."
Be prepared for: Barely any mention of the projects he has in the works — which means no news about the "Ant-Man" movie he's directing for Marvel.
15. Lynn Shelton
Director, "Humpday," "Your Sister's Sister," "Touchy Feely," "Mad Men"
Why follow? Her earnest tweets reflect what a truly independent spirit she is — and they constantly point her followers in the direction of things they may not have discovered otherwise; i.e. new films, fascinating essays on feminism and talking (and singing) goats.
"So this appeared on our street a few days ago. I want to make a movie with it as the central character. pic.twitter.com/A4EsDSvT2K"
"The Spirit Awards always have the fanciest porta-potties."
"Great article by #emilynussbaum on #Girls as part of a maligned history of women artists telling women's stories http://m.newyorker.com/arts/critics/television/2013/02/11/130211crte_television_nussbaum…"
Be prepared for: Lots of communication with fans and links to videos you may or may not consider time-wasters.
16. Robert Rodriguez
Director, "Sin City," "Sin City 2"
Why follow? Another director who loves to provide content directed at his fans. After a few months of Twitter silence, Rodriguez signed on to upload a before-and-after picture of Josh Brolin filming a scene for "Sin City 2," which exemplified the power of post-production.
"Here's bad ass Josh Brolin driving a Rodriguez-mobile. (A green box with a steering wheel bolted on) pic.twitter.com/JWiA9d6A"
"And here's a quick photo touch up I do to set a tone for the actors. (Probably won't be raining in final movie) pic.twitter.com/s3hDZL1k"
Be prepared for: Intermittent tweeting. But considering that he writes, directs, produces, edits and even composes the music for his films, it's hard to hold against him his infrequent use of Twitter.
17. James Wan
Director, "Saw," "Insidious," "The Conjuring," "Insidious: Chapter 2"
Why follow? Wan's movies are horrifying (in a good way), but his Twitter feed is delightful. He gives earnest compliments to the Hollywood peers he truly respects, shares images from set for his fans to enjoy and — given his choice of genre — is surprisingly funny. Oh, and his "Death Sentence" star, Kevin Bacon, makes sporadic appearance.
"The Further set of #Day19of25 http://instagr.am/p/WDl2J5hVOq/"
"No mum, I don't look like Glen from The Walking Dead when I'm wearing my hat." #racistmom #WalkingDead"
"It's tough filming/working with infants. Like the first movie, the baby cries nonstop. But enough about working with the writer"
Be prepared for: Promotion of his upcoming haunted house flick, "The Conjuring," and plenty of re-tweets of those who are excited for it.
18. Spike Lee
Director, "Do The Right Thing," "Bamboozled," "Oldboy"
Why follow? The man speaks his mind and — in the case of his thoughts on Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" — might speak what is on other people's minds, as well. He also tweets on an hourly basis and seems happy to answer any question or concern his followers may have — even if they're insulting.
"American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.It Was A Holocaust.My Ancestors Are Slaves.Stolen From Africa.I Will Honor Them."
"@KolaBoof: I actually love you @SpikeLee & love your films…but they are SEXIST & homophobic."Your Opinion.DO YOU.
Be prepared for: Constant talk about his and his followers' love for the New York Knicks, along with a steady stream of retweets of those professing their love for Spike Lee Joints.
19. Joe Carnahan
Director, "Smokin' Aces," "The A-Team," "The Grey"
Why follow? The man gives his unfiltered and unapologetic opinion on just about everything that comes to his mind, including (but not limited to) politics, romance and, of course, Hollywood. If someone's got a problem with what he writes, he's not afraid to put them in their place: "If you're gonna rebut, then at lead put your back into it bro. Cheap, ponderous, thimble-deep shit gets little or NO play." Who doesn't love a good Twitter fight?
"Every right wing conservative douchebag should have this tattooed on their forehead. Read it and weep…Then CHANGE. pic.twitter.com/rOjYLPITOy"
"I feel like cowardice & gutlessness in Hollywood is at near-epidemic levels. Gamblers & Pirates & Iconoclasts must retake this town & soon."
"If you require Feb 14th of every year to remind you to love, cherish & respect your significant other..Then man or woman, you're a dick."
Be prepared for: Strong opinions — coming with strong language.
20. Frank Marshall
Director, "Arachnophobia," "Congo," "Eight Below"
Why follow? Marshall may be focusing his efforts only on producing these days, but he's producing some of the biggest and most anticipated movies coming out in the next few years, including "Jurassic Park 4," which he loves to talk about. In February, he revealed his wife and business partner, Kathleen Kennedy, would not be producing the film because of the "Star Wars" sequel, and most recently he set the record straight on "JP4" production rumors.
"@JurassicPark14 No decisions have been made regarding where we are shooting."
"@jackdelamare No, Ms. Kennedy has moved onto Star Wars and will not be producing JP4. She's traded raptors for TIE fighters."
"@aseessandhu Not true , there is no director on JP4 yet."
Be prepared for: Less tweets than there are days per month.
For the record: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed Paul Feig as the director of "Heavyweights."