The Brutal Truth About Asking People…

This article from the Village Voice is ripping around the Internet this week. If you have not seen it, you need to.

I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script

It’s by Josh Olson, who wrote A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and knows a thing or two about people asking him to read their material.

I cover this in my most useful book, in that I advise you to, if you are so lucky to meet someone “real” NOT to ask them to read your script, but talk about sports or tell them a great joke or talk about politics, religion, anything BUT your precious screenplay. Maybe they will bump into you again, later, and remember you DIDN’T ask them to read your script… and look kindly upon you. But, if you meet them and talk for four minutes and try to shove a script in their hands… they will not appreciate it. As Mr. Olson makes abundantly clear.

I have hung around with a lot of pro writers and this is how they feel. They just never say it out loud. But, boy do they feel this way.

I however, would be delighted to read (and give you notes thereupon) your screenplay.

You just have to pay me money.



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4 responses to “The Brutal Truth About Asking People…

  1. I remember reading this in your book and it makes total sense. A great reminder.

    I’ll pay you money when I get my draft done!

  2. Brett in Manhattan

    In your book, you mention that you’ve had no luck with query letters.

    So, if writing letters doesn’t work and you can’t ask anyone, personally, what else is there?

    There was a time when your “pro writer” friends were on the outside looking in, and, I’d be willing to bet they asked everyone and their plumbers to read their stuff.

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Yeah, no kidding. It’s monumentally depressing.
      Evan Smith, who wrote the excellent Writing The Television Sitcom, is big believer in cold calling. Using the Creative Directory, if you call 100 people and get 3 to read your screenplay, then you’ve got a decent track record.
      Every agent I ever had, came because someone I knew handed my script to the agent and suggested he read it.
      Eve Honthaner’s book Hollywood Drive has excellent information on networking.
      I have a former student, now in Silicon Valley, and he’s a headhunter. He says people seem to have forgotten the telephone. As an old telephone guy myself, I was sort of amazing. But he says young people send texts and e-mails and don’t call… so the cold calling thing may be a way to go.
      If you can get the assistant to laugh, you’re on your way.
      Good luck.
      It’s a tough row to hoe, that’s certain.


    Hello Mr. Akers,

    I have written a screenplay and have revised it 16 times. Recently, I met the acquaintance of a movie producer. He has connections (Tribeca Films) in the industry and has produced several low budget films. We talked at length about the process of movie making. He was very open and willing to answer some questions that I had.

    When I mentioned that I wrote a spec. he asked me numerous questions about the story. I gave him my pitch. He then asked me for my hard copy. I volunteered to send an electronic copy and he volunteered his email and phone number, encouraging me to keep in touch.

    He also asked me to have it registered. I did so.

    I informed him that the script has yet to be read by a consultant for notes. He said he didn’t care. “I’m intrigued, I want to see what you’ve got” was his response. I know you are very insistent about getting scripts read by a consultant.

    What are your thoughts on this type of situation. I fear that first impressions are everything and have concerns that my script wasn’t ready.

    However, he insisted on seeing it anyway?

    No, I ‘m not a busty female, just a regular straight guy.

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