Sunday, September 13, 2009

this sounds great!

Characters wander around aimlessly, do things for no reason, vanish, reappear, get arrested for unnamed crimes, and make wild, life-altering decisions for no reason. Half a paragraph is devoted to describing the smell and texture of a piece of food, but the climactic central event of the film is glossed over in a sentence. The death of the hero is not even mentioned. One sentence describes a scene he's in, the next describes people showing up at his funeral.

Josh Olson, however, was unimpressed.


Mithridates said...

Wow. I’m a successful writer who is plagued by wannabes! Lord. Especially problematic are friends and acquaintances who take advantage of the connection. Sheesh! It’s so hard being a successful screenwriter (and director)! It’s so haaarrd! I mean, two piles—-two fucking piles of scripts! Can you believe that! Can you even imagine three? I shudder to think of it. And, you know, I might have told you how I broke into the business, as this would appear to be a semi-useful piece of information! So I won’t tell you! (It could also compromise my position if it turns out that I too imposed on a professional writer-friend for help.) Anyway, here is the point: I want friends and acquaintances to stop bothering me! So I’m going to write about it in the Village fucking Voice! This, by the way, is absolutely nothing, nothing, like having a friend in need ask for advice on his resume and then complaining about the poor destitute hopeless cunt over a glass of Cristal Brut 1990 at Le Bernadin. No. It’s completely different! Anyway. So wannabe writers, yeah. They’re so frustrating!! And I can’t be civil about it, or, you know, put my problems in perspective, because my piece for the Village fucking Voice wouldn’t be as interesting! Christ. Remember my film, A History of Violence? That was awesome. Now, of course, my job was largely a matter of condensing and reshaping someone else’s story. And yeah, the original graphic novel did settle matters of character and character development, motive, pacing, the-uh dramatic arc or whatever (if you take a writing class you’ll learn all about this), and, you know, stuff like when characters should be on or off stage, etc etc. But! But!!! I know how to write, dammit! I must, because all these LOSERS keep asking me for help. Here, here, here: here. Let me show you I know how to fucking write (--and that’s the other thing! I use the word fuck a lot! I’m fearless! I’m rough-edged! I’m not your typical sissy polite civilized, you know, human-being writer. I’m a fucking WRITER). So here, watch: “So. I read the thing. And it hurt, man. It really hurt.” See how I use sentence fragments and repetition? And the word “man”? Unimprovable. And I don’t use clichés. None. Like: everybody’s got their talent. Or: real writers know right away when something’s bad. Or: real writers can’t be discouraged from writing. See how fresh and insightful all this is? I’m just so angry! And people who are successful like me know how I feel! And people who don’t will just be mad! Can’t you see how useful this article is?

And let me repeat: “you're not just asking [your writer-friend/-acquaintance] to take an hour or two out of their life, you're asking them to give you--gratis--the acquired knowledge, insight, and skill of years of work. It is no different than asking your friend the house painter to paint your living room during his off hours.” –Right! No different: because what you’re asking me isn’t how to find the best paint and brushes, how to do the best job: you’re asking me to paint your house. The analogy is perfect! You're asking me to give you a script when you ask me for criticism. This is what you're asking for. Obviously.

I mean! What needs to be hammered into your head is: I have completely bought into a system that values individual achievement and personal gain over cooperation and mutual aid. And now that I’m part of the Network, I want to make sure that life is just as hard for other people outside the Network as it was for me. (Or maybe it wasn’t so hard for me, I haven’t made this clear, as I’ve said, and with good reason: I am stupid angry tone-deaf cunt.)

Mithridates said...

--Love, J. Olson

Helen DeWitt said...

I don't know Olson's work. Seems as though one could offer an honest opinion, which is what was asked for, without giving a critique.