Attention, wannabe writers: Josh Olson won't read your f***ing script. Last week in the Village Voice, the History of Violence screenwriter posted an open diatribe against amateur writers who seek the counsel of professional scribes with script/outline/treatment in hand, an expletive-filled rant that caught on like wildfire on the interwebs. This week Olson's manifesto got an added boost from his friend, the notoriously cantankerous writer Harlan Ellison, who recorded a dramatic reading of the essay after it was adapted into Dr. Seuss-speak by writer Steve Jarrett:
"I will not read your f***ing script
I will not read it in a car
I will not read it in a bar
I will not have it in my house
I will not click it with my mouse
I will not read it here or there
I will not read it anywhere
I'd rather be tied up and whipped
Than have to read your f***ing script" – Excerpted from Steve Jarrett's "I Will Not Read Your F***ing Script"
[Above center, Olson and Ellison (along with Elvis Mitchell) at SXSW 2008. Photo by Jette Kernion.]
Jarrett whittled Olson's 1800-odd words on the subject down to four eloquent stanzas of verse that might have made Theodor Geisel himself proud. More importantly, it's easier and much more fun to read! Olson apparently liked the poem and asked Ellison to give it life in a recording. (But wait, Mr. Olson. How did Jarrett get you to read his poem?) Listen to Ellison's reading here.
All of which is just fine; professional writers have a right to defend the tools of their profession, their untarnished and verifiable original thoughts, as explained further in this insightful Olson defense by screenwriter David Gerrold. (He wrote the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode of Star Trek, so he knows a thing or two about the dangers of uninvited parasites.) But whether it's in rhyming verse or raging prose, what do you think of Josh Olson's rant? Should the guy accept every wannabe scribe's fledgling effort, or does he have point in declining to offer his thoughts and feelings about a potential, if unlikely future film script?