If you're looking for some advice on that spiffy new screenplay you wrote, don't go to Josh Olsen. Because this is the response you'll get, "I will not read your [effing] script."
Olsen, the Academy Award nominated screenwriter for A History of Violence and the postponed Halo movie elaborates further in a hilarious but brutally honest rant in the Village Voice:
I'll make you a deal. In return for you not asking me to read your [effing] script, I will not ask you to wash my [effing] car, or take my [effing] picture, or represent me in [effing] court, or take out my [effing] gall bladder, or whatever the [eff] it is that you do for a living.
Before you write Olsen off as some sort of jaded prick, or this as a purely Onion-esque editorial, consider that he must get cornered into this type of predicament on a weekly basis. In the article, he recounts the story of what happened when the boyfriend of a friend handed him a two page synopsis.
How long can two pages take?
He asked himself.
Weeks, is the answer.
And this is why I will not read your [effing] script.
This definitely seems like something he's been meaning to get off his chest. Even his silver lining drips with distain:
If I can talk you out of being a writer, I've done you a favor, because now you'll be free to pursue your real talent, whatever that may be. And, for the record, everybody has one. The lucky ones figure out what that is. The unlucky ones keep on writing shitty screenplays and asking me to read them.
He spits out the anger and reels it back in with the reality of the situation. And he does it with a great sense of humor. He's tried to help people before. But people often aren't looking for criticism, they're looking for a pat on the head.
You are not owed a read from a professional, even if you think you have an in, and even if you think it's not a huge imposition. It's not your choice to make. This needs to be clear--when you ask a professional for their take on your material, you're not just asking them to take an hour or two out of their life, you're asking them to give you--gratis--the acquired knowledge, insight, and skill of years of work. It is no different than asking your friend the house painter to paint your living room during his off hours.
Although I'm sure you know exactly where he's coming from, you can't help but ask yourself, "Who helped you Josh?" Surely you don't owe all of your success to just being a great writer. Because let's face it, you need to be somewhat connected to make it in Hollywood. Somewhere down the line, someone had to have taken a chance on you.
To read the whole article, and I recommend you do, Click Here.
So what do you think of Josh Olson not wanting to read your effing script?