This is the start of a new series on Twittercism that looks at how individuals are successfully using Twitter as a business and marketing tool. If you have a great story to tell and want to be featured, please contact me with a brief outline of your business model here.
I first crossed paths with Matt Scutt (@mattscutt) in the spring of 2009. He’d joined Twitter in February of that year which, coincidentally, was the same month that I launched Twittercism. Matt was kind enough to retweet a few of my early posts (still the guaranteed way to get someone’s attention on the network), we exchanged mutual follows, and found ourselves frequently connecting around similar topics – music, film, science fiction, television, and the like. You know, geeky stuff.
A couple of weeks ago Matt emailed me out of the blue.
“I have just finished recording a new track with Tenacious D guitarist John Konesky,” he wrote, “It’s called Pale.”
My curiosity was piqued. When he added that this had led to further business with other members of Tenacious D, and that these relationships and projects had developed entirely through Twitter, I had to know more.
Who Is Matt Scutt?
Matt Scutt is a freelance graphic designer and a semi-professional photographer, film-maker and composer. Years ago, Matt trained as a technical illustrator but quickly moved over to graphic design – you can see examples of all of his work at his website, mattscutt.com.
Introduced to Twitter by a friend, Matt’s initial impression of the platform was mixed. “I recall not having any idea what its purpose was at the time, particularly when I only had one follower.”
Things quickly changed. “I was manic initially, tweeting and chatting practically every free moment. Once I had gotten the hang of hashtagging and being able to chat with likeminded people I found it great. I recall moaning about Heroes not being shown in HD at the same time as the standard broadcast, and others agreeing.”
Twitter Connects People
Early interactions with Jonathan Ross (@wossy) and Bill Bailey (@billbailey) were a positive experience for Matt, and he started to see how Twitter’s ability to knock down fences could be very beneficial for his career. Matt decided that the network would be the ideal place to launch his new website, and decided to see if he could enlist the help of some of his new contacts.
“Once my follower count start to rise, I realised it was a good way of getting my services out there. I approached Jonathan Ross, Rufus Hound, John Konesky, Peter Serafinowich and Simon Pegg to retweet my work. I chose Jonathan Ross, John and Rufus as I knew they loved graphic art and sci-fi and I had a number of pieces that I thought they’d be interested in.
I had a number of DM chats with Jonathan. I retweeted some of Rufus’ tweets promoting a show in London. John Konesky followed me as a result and frequently commented on my tweets and artwork.”
The Journey ToÂ Pale
These relationships opened a ton of doors, and conversations moved from Twitter to email, telephone, and face-to-face. Very quickly, Matt quickly found himself on the business end of a lot of work, including icon designs for the London Comedy Improv and Edinburgh Fringe festival posters for Tara Flynn (@taraflynn) and Chris Ramsey.
But it’s his work with the members of Tenacious D that’s really grabbed my attention. “I wrote Pale back in 2006. I had an idea for an epic musical build to crescendo in the centre, but I did not have, and did not know anyone who had, the dexterity to play such a solo, so it only existed in its rough form until now.
After I launched my latest website this year, Tenacious D guitarist John Konesky approached me to work with him to create Trainwreck‘s new website and associated forum, blog and merchandise site.”
(Trainwreck is a side-project of Tenacious D’s lead guitarist Kyle Gass, which includes Konesky and fellow D bass guitarist John Spiker. Gass loved Matt’s work, and Foo Fighters frontman and D drummer Dave Grohl is also a fan.)
Matt’s success with the Trainwreck build led to discussions of a music partnership with Konesky, who lives in Los Angeles. “We chatted via AIM in the hours we were both awake. Pale came about through a mutual respect for each other abilities.”
“I created a guide track where I played all of the instruments and explained as best I could how I envisaged the centre piece to be played. John really came through there and produced a blinding solo. After a bit of to and fro, I had everything I needed to mix the final track.”
Konesky also enjoyed the experience. “Working with Matt has been an absolute breath of fresh air. He has great ideas, and most importantly, he knows how to interpret the ideas of those who don’t have the technical knowledge to accurately describe their vision, while adding his own skill-set to make your project something more than you ever could have imagined.”
Drums were provided by Dave Clubb, and a vocal version of the track (featuring Tara Flynn) is in the pipeline.
“Without Twitter, this simply would not have happened. I’ve seen Tenacious D a couple of times, but can’t imagine being able to get John Konesky’s attention from the crowd!”
How Do You Use Twitter?
“I use Tweetdeck on desktop and the Twitter application on the iPhone. I’ve tried tweetdeck, twittelator and tweetie on the iPhone, but have settled with the official Twitter app now.
I tend to keep Tweetdeck open in the background whilst working, and I tend to reply to the push notifications on twitter for the iPhone. I tweet somewhere in the region of 10 times a day on average.
If I’m travelling, I use Twitter a great deal. Now that Twitter uses push notifications, I don’t run down the iPhone battery quite so quickly.”
I asked Matt about what’s next on his agenda. “Pale is now available to play on my website. I’ve had my music used by the BBC previously and am planning on providing it again for incidental music. With further exposure, I hope to gain further commissions for soundtracks. Both John and Dave have expressed interest in further collaborations. I am also in the process of submitting a pilot script. Again, this is in collaboration with Twitter folk.”
On the future, he’s upbeat. “If you are new to the market, as I was, you have to make every avenue of communication work, but without being too obtrusive. Be a person rather than a marketer. Target your audience and interact with them.”