Archive for the Showbiz Category

Dr. X. Ample and the Fucking Script

Posted in My So-Called Life, Showbiz with tags , , on 25/09/2009 by phyrbyrd

Please excuse the couple of days’ gap in posting here* – I am flying and falling, tumbling in turmoil, but not bouncing into Graceland. No, my life decided to LEVEL UP RITE NAO DAMMIT and, due to a rather unexpected decision by my landlord, I am moving out on my own for the first time ever. I’m on top of things for now, but things like blogs take a bit of a back seat to things like rent deposits and benefits forms.

Anyway, that’s not what I’m talking about today. If you read the title and are not a clam-examiner, you have likely worked out what this is all about. This. Or, if you prefer the Seussian version, this. In case you’re not clear, Josh Olsen doesn’t want to read your fucking script.

Tenured Radical is pretty offended by this. She says that since Olsen is rich and has connections in the film industry, it is his duty to help talented young screenwriters get their break. She points out the incredibly true fact that it’s almost impossible to get into Hollywood – or publishing, or big theatre, or the fashion industry, or any other creative job – if you don’t know someone who’s already there. You have to be a friend of a friend.

I know this. Hell, I know this – my brother, the Boil, just finished a film degree. He spends hours storyboarding films, dedicated to the execution and the planning. We have a family friend working at the BBC, but that’s not going to get him in cinemas. All that’s going to get him is maybe the fact that she knows somebody who can help him, and so it goes. In the art world, it’s hard not to be resentful of some of the artists already there, especially when you don’t see the point, and they’re being paid vast sums while you can’t give your work away.**

So, yes, talented amatuers need help. Oh, so desperately do they need help. And who better to help them than those at the top?

I agree with what I just said. I also disagree with the main content of Tenured Radical’s post because of the slightly controversial belief that, yes, rich people and people who are successful in their field are humans too. For the record, I don’t like the phrase, ‘Dr. X. Ample is human too,’ or the variants, ‘Misc. Mook is a person as well’ and ‘Person Ecks has feelings too’. It is a begging phrase. It asks me, not to bring the subject to the same level of consideration as everyone else, but in some way *higher*. It begs pity, even where none is necessarily needed.

I do not use it in that sense. When I say that Josh Olsen is human, I am not asking you to pity him. He is successful, he has everything he needs and he seems*** happy. He doesn’t need pity. However, does need sleep and rest, time to eat, time to spend with his family and friends, time to do his own work. Is Tenured Radical seriously suggesting that he do his job and spend every second remaining in the day reading amatuer scripts and writing reviews? He must get hundreds of these things! And even if he only gets a few a week now, if word got out that Josh Olsen would read your screenplay for you, he’d get thousands of the damn things. And up till now I’ve been talking about ‘talented amatuers’ but the vast majority of amatuers are DIRE. Think about it. Would you like to spend five hours every day reading and reviewing every single fanfiction on, thoughtfully, professionally and with a view that the author really, *really* wanted your *honest* opinion and thought *such* a lot of you, but honestly, if you told them how bad their work really was, would never forgive you? Because that’s what it amounts to.

Josh Olsen is not morally obligated to read anybody’s script. He is not contractually obligated to anyone who simply hands him a script and asks him to read it. The fact that he is successful does not make him evil.**** There is no debt of success to be paid to those who haven’t made it yet. The people giving him scripts act as though he owes it to them to read it. Almost all the time, he owes them nothing, not his time, not his opinion, nothing. It is his choice whether to read the damn thing and nobody has any right to flounce about whether or not he does so.


* – Goodness, I’m apologising for a posting gap of three days. Bet that won’t last…

** – My personal target of bafflement is currently Tracey Emin. Somehow I can’t help but think that the real art is getting the art world to accept this. But if anyone else can see beauty or intelligence in her work, I will not tell you that you’re a moron or lack taste, partly because of the Eye of the Beholder clause, and partly because I hate it when people say that kind of thing to me.

*** – Although, not actually being psychic, I wouldn’t say for sure.

**** – There will definitely be a post on alignments eventually. It’s one of my great controversial rants.