I got this email about a week or so ago:
Let me start by saying that I do not consider myself even a remotely professional writer. I pulled together some funny stuff that has happened in my life & put it into a "script". I am a great story teller not so much a writer. I have faith that people will find hilarity in my story I just need help getting it to them. I'm thinking maybe a collaboration??? I will be more than happy to send a sample for you to see if it's something you'd be willing to read. Please let me know your fee & hopefully we can work something out.
The person who sent it may have been well meaning, but this is the kind of email that writers hate getting. But don't take my word for it - hear what screenwriter Geoff LaTulippe had to say about this on this edition of a Broken Projector podcast (the relevant material starts at 20:45):
I've probably covered this on the blog before, but there is so much more to writing than just coming up with the idea. Hell, in most cases getting the idea is the easy part. The hard part is breaking it down, structuring it and putting in the time at the keyboard. Pro writers don't want to work on your idea - they have plenty of their own. Usually, when a writer wants to collaborate, it's going to be with someone they know and THEY will be the ones to initiate contact.
This particular email has the additional red flag of the author informing me that they aren't really a "writer" and then invites me to read what they have done. Well gee, when you make it sound so enticing...
I'm not interested in collaborating with writers who aren't as good as me, and I'd bet most writers would agree with me on that statement. In any partnership, there are bound to be areas of screenwriting where one writer's strengths are greater than the others, but I've never seen a successful collaboration where one writer was vastly ahead of the other writer in development.
An email like this really says that the author wants to ride the coattails of a better writer. I probably don't need to explain why so many writers find that concept offensive.