“I will not read your f–king script!” – how not to get ahead in Hollywood
I can’t think of a better five-minute introduction into how not to get ahead in Hollywood than this brilliant article by screenwriter Josh Olson published today by New York’s Village Voice newspaper.
The author (above), who was BAFTA and Oscar-nominated for his 2005 film A History of Violence, uses his bully pulpit to explain - in plain English – why he’s sick and tired of being constantly asked to read putative scripts by young hopefuls eager to break into the film industry.
Part rant, part social comedy, Olson’s piece explains how he was recently strong-armed into reading a script proposal written by the boyfriend of an acquaintance. He spent several hours crafting an email that tactfully explained the myriad things wrong with it, only for the author to take huge offence.
“For all the hair I pulled out, for all the weight and seriousness I gave his request for a real, professional critique, his response was a terse ‘Thanks for your opinion.’ And, the inevitable fallout… a week later a mutual friend asked me: ‘What's this dick move I hear you pulled on Whatsisname?’”
In LA, where every waiter (who isn’t an out-of-work actor) has a script poking out of his back pocket, Olson and many like him are constantly being put into Catch-22 situations: if you refuse to read someone's script, you look ungracious. If you agree to read a script, and offer an honest reaction to it, you still look ungracious.
The piece is now making waves. Some readers have expressed delight that someone has at last gone public with something most film-industry power-brokers will only say in private. Others call the lengthy tirade bad form – noting that all would-be writers need a leg up at the start of their career.
Either way, the fallout should ensure that the potty-mouthed Olson will get fewer "f–king" scripts to read in future…Tagged in: josh olson, screenwriter, script
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