Update: Josh should has plenty of time to read screenplay now. Hasn’t done anything since he said this. Interesting.
I came across an article online at Village Voice.com and saw a very potent discussion of it by a number of screenwriters both there and at Deadline.com, the excellent website started by famed Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke. The links in this paragraph point to the article and conversations on those pages.
The article is important because it was written by an Oscar-nominated screenwriter, Josh Olson, and has a lot to say about different people’s attitudes towards novices trying to break into screenwriting.
The point the author makes that sticks most with me is simply that if you’re going to ask for feedback, be ready to receive it. He argues that the careful feedback he gave wasn’t appreciated by the new writer. The writer seemed to be looking for a pat on the back or some other form of affirmation more so than true honest feedback. My first entry in this blog was called “Develop a Thick Skin.” That is true of all aspects of life in Hollywood. Hollywood judges artistic creativity on a daily basis. Whether someone is shooting holes in your perfect story, or yelling “Next” as soon as you flash your brilliant smile, rejection and criticism is part of the game.
But there’s another point the comments make that’s worth remembering as well. Josh spoke authoritatively on his own convictions about reading screenplays. Those are his opinions. If you read the comments, you’ll notice a lot of people agree–they hate reading scripts too. But hundreds of other writers disagree, including a number who’ve written their own blogs in response such as Franzine Kafka, and the screenwriter over at Hollywood Roaster. Once again the law of averages is in play. The simple truth is if you keep knocking on enough doors eventually one will open. Josh may not read your script, but there are tons of producers, writers, directors and agents who will.