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Hey Filmmakers! Amazon Studios Wants To See Your Shorts... To Turn Into Features

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by Tambay A. Obenson
June 28, 2013 6:35 PM
7 Comments
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Amazon Studios is inviting filmmakers to submit what they're calling "short concept videos" that could be expanded into theatrical feature films.

These short films should be 2 to 15 minutes in length, and will be evaluated by the Amazon Studios development staff and considered for option.

The process works like script submission: 

- You can submit publicly or privately. 

- There is a 45-day option and evaluation period. 

- Creators of projects added to the Development Slate receive a $10,000 payment.

So what is Amazon Studios looking for? 

Videos that express an idea that’s begging to be seen on the big-screen, in full-length, full-budget form. These could be bold, imaginative worlds, original premises, or unique perspectives. A great concept video doesn’t need to lay out the entire feature film in all three acts, but serve as a solid foundation to build on.

For the full story, go to the Amazon Studios Movie Development Slate website.

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7 Comments

  • R J | June 30, 2014 12:51 PMReply

    2014, and still a laughably bad operation. Not exploitative (like it used to be) necessarily, but peddling weird, false hopes to writers; nonetheless, it's interesting (for the wrong reasons) to examine. So, right out of the gate:

    Practically every single one of their movie scripts on the development slate is technically deficient to the point of being unreadable/unfilmable (fact).

    Mind boggles. (No, seriously, you're telling me the 27 scripts they have are the BEST a company with the pocket-depth of Amazon could find/option; then they are incredibly inept in the screenwriting analysis department.) As the work (screenplays not TV) is all objectively garbage by any professional standards, at the outset, then, it just doesn't make sense as regards what they think they are doing, or why. My GUESS, then, is as they seem to me to be VERY specifically choosing scripts that can never be made ("ZvG", for example, does not even have a story - no kidding! Go and read it!) then they don't want to make them. (C’mon! Seriously, guys. Not a single one of these scripts has a correctly written, standard industry logline/synopsis! ARGGHH!!)

    Thus, the "10k options" (for 18 months) on their oxymoronic "development slate" (as there are only 27 on it, as of 2014) is small change to them, and the Warner Brothers thing is pretty much a dangling carrot as WB has so far picked up not one of their projects. Not a good record for a company the size of Amazon after 4 years if they really DID want to make movies. However, what they do get is the perception of allowing the public to "get involved" in the creative business of movie making, hence getting people to stick around/subscribe/buy stuff as part of the "Amazon community". And buying stuff/subscribing is their main business: don't be fooled into thinking it is original content. (Some of the episodic stuff looks okay, but you only have to watch "After" to see how wrong they can get that as well; I mean, this show is mesmerizingly bad - and the creator on this one was Chris Carter!).

    So, Amazon, as your Amazon Studios “community” dwindles, and your vault of unreadable scripts groans under its own weight, love to hear your take on that. Oh, and while you're about it, get your creative consultants to read a bit more Aesop and Homer - hell, even Robert McKee, and they might trip over the definition of "story" at some point.

  • Peggy | June 29, 2013 8:29 PMReply

    It's a scam. Similar to the blacklist. They always end up picking a professional filmmaker or screenwriter. And yes, I've had a script up there for almost 8 months.

  • Katie | June 29, 2013 11:17 AMReply

    So, the approved storyteller gets ten thousand dollars and Amazon gets to own our stories? Something about that just doesn't seem right to me. We should own our stories and not give them up to white businesses. I wouldn't give my stories to them for more than that. It's the principle of the matter to me. But hey, whatever rocks ya boat.

  • JEFTCG | June 29, 2013 6:02 PM

    And therein lies the catch: you give up total ownership for a buyout of about $200,000 ($125,000 after taxes). So you miss out on royalties (amongst other benefits), which is where the real money comes in. And then you're still struggling to get your next movie made.

    Sign me up!

  • Dankwa Brooks | 'Nother Brother Entertainment | June 29, 2013 11:07 AMReply

    Yes there is always a catch. LOL. But mostly it's in the fine print. You MUST read the fine print and actually know what it means. But sometimes you gotta take a leap of faith. Your work cannot live in a vacuum.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | June 28, 2013 6:54 PMReply

    What's the catch? There's always a catch.

  • ScriptTease | June 29, 2013 1:47 AM

    "There is a 45-day option and evaluation period". That is the catch in my opinion because what I hear, whatever you submit to them, they automatically have the chance to option if they are interested, or something like that. So if you change your mind, it's a process you go through for them to release your script, but don't quote me on it.

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