On expectations, being a dick, and how things really work

By now everyone even tangentially connected to writing for a living has seen Josh Olson’s reasons why he will not read your fucking script and all the subsequent responses, both reasoned and otherwise.

Many people seem to be deeply offended by Olson’s article. I’m far more offended by the astounding, profoundly selfish sense of entitlement displayed by posters who feel they are somehow owed a leg up from successful professional writers they’ve never met. Which probably makes me a dick, just like Josh.

I have a question for all the other published authors and produced screenwriters out there. Did any of you get your start in the business by asking a stranger to read your unpublished / unproduced work? I’m not talking about a legit submission to an editor or publisher, I’m talking about an unsolicited email (or paper letter) sent to a writer you’ve never met.


Because I certainly didn’t.

I got my start by working my ass off, writing and publishing short stories and small press novels until I got good enough to get recommended for novelization gigs. Not by a random stranger I bullied or shamed into giving me a leg up, but by someone who admired my published work. Work they had already read because they liked it, not because I asked them to. After that, I got asked to write for Hard Case. Then my agent asked to represent me. The few scripts I’ve written so far have been done for people who asked me to write them. Never the other way around.

Of course, that’s just my story. Maybe there really are tons of successful writers out there who would have never been published or produced if not for the kindness of strangers. If that’s how it happened for you, post a comment, and let me know.

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