There's a piece in the Village Voice by screenwriter Josh Olson (The History of Violence, which I haven't seen, so I'm opinion-less about it) called "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script" where he rants about friends who ask him to read stuff.
Maybe he's an awesome guy in real life, but, um, doesn't come across in this angry, mean, sad piece.
If no one ever read his stuff, he wouldn't have a career.
I mean, I'm sure tons of people-- friends and strangers-- ask him to read things, and if he agreed to read them all he wouldn't have time to do anything else. But it takes as long to say no as it does to read half a page, and as he says in the piece, you know after half a page.
And that's the thing-- you know after half a page. I'll read anything. I don't mean to open myself up as a volunteer reader or anything, but I've had blog readers-- strangers-- ask me to read things and something has to be pretty outrageous about the request for me to say no. I'm flattered someone wants my feedback, I read quickly enough that it's usually no big deal, and-- here's the thing-- the idea of being the guy who discovers a great writer, who's able to help in some small way validate what someone has put his soul into and has been trying and trying and trying to get in the right person's hands-- that's a tremendous feeling, and I'll gladly read the first page of 50 pieces of crap to find a gem that I can't put down.
Heck, more than once, on some random writer message boards I read, I've answered someone's post looking for readers-- usually based on some spark in the request itself that made me interested-- and read and offered feedback. It's not so much that I feel like it's a duty-- although to some degree maybe it should be-- and it's not so much that I'm trying to be nice-- although good karma never hurts-- but I'm genuinely interested to find good writing.
And you would think most writers would be.
So, yeah, of course it's rude to push, or to make people feel obligated to read something-- and it's certainly rude to expect more than what's offered-- I can't slog through someone's terrible screenplay and give them comments-- if I stop reading because I don't like something, I'm done, I'll tell someone what I thought of what I read, but I can't easily force myself to keep reading something I hate-- but I don't think it's all that unreasonable to be polite, and be willing to take a look if you're able.
And it's really disappointing that most of the feedback to that piece seems to be positive feedback. Really disappointing. People should be nicer.
That's all. Rant over.