When filmmaker Laurie McGuinness discovered Dan Duval, a pharmacy assistant from Victoria that would fly to Los Angeles and sit in on talk shows and later become an internet sensation due to his funny social media posts, he knew he’d found a subject for his film. “Funny Tweets,” an insightful and entertaining documentary about the power of a comedic tweet, is available on VOD this week from Upstream Flix.

Laurie recently discussed this funny and exciting project via an exclusive interview.

Filmmaking, movies, and plots

Meagan Meehan (MM): What inspired you to become a filmmaker, sir, and is “Funny Tweets” your big break?

Laurie McGuinness (LM): I like telling stories. I tried writing comedy, but it was uneven at best, terrible at worst. I found w a doc I could use my own voice, and just follow an interesting story. I hope this is my big break, but we'll see. It’s based on a true story, it all really happened!

MM: How can you script or plot such a movie -or do you?

LM: I interviewed Dan once, and that became the narrative spine of the whole movie. He was this guy working at a pharmacy in Victoria, who would then fly down to LA and sit in the green room of the Conan show. I just followed that story.

MM: Can you talk about some of the people featured in the film?

LM: Andy Richter was a huge part of this getting off the ground.

We interviewed him on the Warner Brothers lot, which was amazing. But his participation helped us get other people to talk to us; it gave us some cred. Also, he's a really nice man. Kind.

Danny Zuker of Modern Family was another guy who was great. Came down to the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Blvd, and talked to us in a temporary studio we set up in a suite.

Super helpful, willing to talk. Matt Selman from the Simpsons came there too. He was hilarious. The staff at the Roosevelt suspected we were shooting a porno. Sadly, no. And Alec Sulkin very generously had us by the production offices of "Family Guy." Cool to see.

MM: Anyone you had to cut out of the movie due to time constraints and what was your goal with the film?

LM: No, we just left in whatever was needed to move the story along. With streaming, it doesn't matter how long or short your movie is. And in hindsight, I could have cut some more. Our goal was to show how social media gives a writer access to an audience that he or she otherwise would not have. How it can change someone’s life.

Advice, Twitter, and Reddit

MM: What kind of rewards can come from Twitter as a result of putting out good posts?

LM: Friendships with other funny people. An audience. Some people can monetize the skill of tweeting, but really, it's just another platform to use to reach people. It's cool how someone on the phone, in any corner of the globe, can make a stranger laugh somewhere far away.

It's really lovely. Making someone laugh is the second nicest thing you can do for them.

MM: What’s next for you--like where do you see yourself in a decade and what advice can you offer others?

LM: A doc on Reddit; how people there come together, anonymously, to make each other laugh. There's this shared sense of humor on Reddit, and I just want to explore that. Hopefully, in ten years, I will not be dead. And making more docs. This is awesome!

My Advice is to do it yourself. Find a way. Use your damn phone to shoot the thing. Ignore the industry side of it when you start, as they're going to ignore you first. As I went along, I had incredible help from people, and I think a lot of that was because I wasn't waiting for permission from anyone.