Follow Friday – Movie Review – Newport Beach Film Festival

‘Follow Friday The Film’ is a documentary from filmmaker, Erin Faulk (@erinscafe). It premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival. After an expected layoff from her law firm job, Faulk embarks on a social experiment and travels to 11,000 miles around the United States in 45-days to meet in person – for the first time – her friends on Twitter.

Faulk’s cross country journey starts in Los Angeles and ends at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco. This road trip consists of Faulk; her friends-cinematographer Matthew Sordello (@msordello), Evans Knight(@evansknight), Anna Schlegel (@annatschlegel), Hassan Khan (@hassankhan); a car donated by Audi; and stops in cities like Las Vegas, Austin, New Orleans, Newark, New York, Chicago and Denver. Her ultimate goal is to have her twitter followers sign a petition and present it at Twitter headquarters for a shot at her account being verified.

In ‘Follow Friday The Film,’ what starts off as a cross country road trip turns into an informative documentary on Twitter as a social media tool and its potential to do good in society. The film is divided into chapters about what Twitter is: community, politics, marketing a business, social causes and more.

There is a right way and a wrong way to use Twitter. Faulk shows that it is more than providing updates about your day and the food you eat. It should be a conversation between you and your followers. Her travels across the country are an attempt to meet her friends, even though she never met them in person. The danger is that her friends are not how they portray themselves on Twitter, and she finds that, for the most part, they are. She also takes us to Twitter gatherings of a circle of friends who occasionally meet at one another’s homes.

She also shows the amazing power of Twitter to raise money for a good cause. Along the way, Faulk knew that she wanted an interview with Newark Mayor Corey Booker. Because he personally runs his Twitter account, Faulk was able to ask him “personally.” Soon, one of her Twitter friends said that if Booker would do the interview, he would donate $250 to one of Booker’s charities being New Jersey charter school system, Uncommon Schools. Almost instantly Booker tweeted back and said he would match the donation. Soon, other friends of Faulk tweeted with their donations and Booker match their donations. Soon, Booker found himself committed to an interview with Faulk and committed to pay $17,000 to New Jersey Charter schools.

In a time of public tragedy, Twitter was a tool to bring the community together. Faulk’s crew arrives in Aurora just days after the shooting at a midnight screening of Batman in Aurora. The eerie tweets of the victims of the shooting leading up to the tragedy and the tweets of the victims’ friends and family leave a powerful impact on the timeline of events.

The movie ends at Twitter headquarters, where Faulk hopes to become verified by presenting her cross-country petition to the powers-that-be. As excited as she was about touring Twitter headquarters, Faulk learns the difference between the personable employees of Twitter and the cold, impersonal corporate gods of Twitter.

‘Follow Friday the Film’ is a great movie about Twitter and its potential in your life. It’s an inspiring tale about using Twitter to broaden your circle of friends and experience new things. It can be used to rally people around a cause such as support during hard times, to raise money in a Kickstarter campaign to complete your movie and show off the personal side of your business.

During a road trip portions of the movie, Erin Faulk comes off as funny and likable, and it shows as she meets with her friends for the first time. A problem with ‘Follow Friday the Film’ is that there is not much time spent with the actual interviews of friends along the way, which is the initial premise of the film. For example, the first friend she meets in Las Vegas, we are shown video footage of the meeting, but no interview. I get that maybe it’s the quality of the interviews and the difficult task of editing them in an interesting way may warrant its exclusion from the movie.

Also, this is a positive tale of the power of Twitter. Yes, Twitter has done amazing things in the world as a force for positive change. But Twitter has also been used as a tool for bullying and trolling. But I get that that’s not what this movie is about.

Erin Faulk’s ‘Follow Friday the Film’ is a great start of the Women and Film category of the Newport Beach Film Festival.