Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Big Fat Social Network

I brought a Winklevoss twin to the Monday night meeting of the Storyboard script development group. Storyboard is a gaggle of writers and would-be writers, all with film industry connections, who gather each month to critique scripts that are actually (for some reason or another) being made into movies. I was this month’s guest moderator. Usually it falls to me to talk about a dumb comedy like Welcome to Mooseport or the hapless Sandra Bullock vehicle All About Steve.

This time, however, my luck was substantially better. I got to lead the discussion of this year’s Oscar winner for adapted screenplay, The Social Network. The room was full of people well above the age of Mark Zuckerberg, but virtually all of them have Facebook accounts. So much for the original goals of the Facebook founders! Their aim, as the movie tells us, was to be cool—and also to be exclusive. At first, no one without an Ivy League pedigree need apply. But somehow Facebook quickly became democratized. Today Harvard, tomorrow the world!

The Social Network is also worth comparing to this year’s best picture winner, The King’s Speech. The two films couldn’t be more different, yet both deal with one up-to-the-minute topic: the revolution in mass communications that marks the modern era. In The King’s Speech, that revolution involved the power of radio, and its transformative effect on the British monarchy at a time of national crisis. The Social Network, at the other end of the continuum, deals with a radical shift in private communications that have become (in many ways) all too public.

Adding a grace note to my talk was the presence of Josh Pence, a true golden boy who in real life rowed for Dartmouth. Josh played Tyler Winklevoss, but had the bad fortune to have his face replaced (as a sign of David Fincher’s technological derring-do) by the equally golden Armie Hammer, so they could appear on-camera as hunky identical twins. The behind-the-scenes documentary on the Social Network DVD explains the amazing process behind Josh’s loss of face. I’ve known Josh since he was five. Now he towers above me (not hard to do), and deftly charmed the Baby Boomers at Storyboard by discussing what it’s like to be a young working actor who’s featured but faceless in a hit Facebook movie.


  1. That's an amazing story - I didn't realize there were digital identical twins in the movie - as I've still not seen The Social Network - but it is coming up in my To Watch list. I'm glad your friend had the opportunity - even if it did come with the loss of face.

  2. It certainly didn't hurt his career any. For 2012 he has six films in the can, including The Dark Knight Rises.