Twitter thrives on the short and sweet. So it's a testament to Gavin Speiller that he has more than 30,000 followers for @UnfinishedS, because he cheats like crazy. Instead of 140 characters, Speiller tweets a photo of the first page of a screenplay, easily a couple hundred words. Most of them are clichs. Not to mention the fact that Speiller's photos are glarey smartphone shots of his laptop monitor.
It wouldn't work if Speiller's Unfinished Scripts weren't really funny. A performer and improv coach with the Upright Citizens Brigade, he starts each script with a question: "What are two movies that would be tough to put together on the same page?" Then he does it. Since he doesn't have to see these ideas through to their conclusions -- they are just one page, always one page -- there's no limit on his imagination. The outlandish premise of Face/Off is far more bizarre when it's mashed into a mawkish scene about a failing marriage. The Silence of the Lambs is more heartwarming when combined with a Bad News Bears like football team in need of adult supervision.
Twitter has proved invaluable for comedians. "You're told immediately if people think this is funny or not," Speiller says, comparing retweets and favorites to the laughs and chuckles of a live performance. And he appreciates that his fans take the time to read his Unfinished Scripts the second they're tweeted. "There's some guy waiting on line for the bathroom at Applebee's reading them," he says. "Applebee's. Not Red Lobster. Not Sizzler."