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Introducing Amazon Storyteller - New Tool To Help Writers, Filmmakers Bring Stories To Life

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by Tambay A. Obenson
June 7, 2013 12:44 PM
5 Comments
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I remember when all Amazon.com did was sell books. Now they sell just about everything, with a new push into the grocery business, a tablet to compete with the iPad, and, of most interest to this blog, not only a content distributor/exhibitor (with an online VOD streaming film and TV service), but also a content producer/creator, via their recently launched (2010) Amazon Studios, which was created to develop feature films and episodic series.

And now Amazon wants to help content creators bring their stories to life, with the introduction of what it's calling the Amazon Storyteller - a free online tool that content creators (writers, filmmakers, etc) can use to quickly and easily turn their scripts into storyboards, all part of the company's ongoing efforts to add features and tools that help content creators get their movies and television series made.

I haven't used the new tool yet (it was just announced today), so can't offer any useful commentary on it at this time. But feel free to check it for yourselves, and let me know your reactions to it.

In the meantime, here are the details via press release from Amazon:

SEATTLE -- Jun. 7, 2013 -- (NASDAQ:AMZN) - For years, Amazon has been developing new programs, services and features to make it easier for content creators to make and distribute their work. Amazon Studios, the original film and series production arm of Amazon.com, today announced a new innovation for writers and filmmakers - Amazon Storyteller. Currently in beta, Storyteller is a free online tool that turns scripts into storyboards, complete with characters and dialogue that can then be shared with others for feedback.

"We've found that many writers want to see their story up on its feet in visual form but find it harder than it should be to create a storyboard," said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. "Storyteller provides a digital backlot, acting troupe, prop department and assistant editor - everything you need to bring your story to life. We want to see great stories turned into movies and television shows and we'll continue to develop new features and tools that help people develop great stories."

Storyteller begins by scanning a movie script that has been uploaded to Amazon Studios. It identifies the scenes, locations and characters from scene descriptions, and "casts" them from a library of thousands of characters, props and backgrounds. Filmmakers can recast or change locations, or they can upload their own images. Storyteller places the cast in front of the right background so that filmmakers can focus their time on the emotion and energy of scenes by using pan and zoom, changing the facial expressions and positions of characters, adding vehicles or props or adding captions with descriptions or additional dialogue. Once completed, the storyboard can be published on Amazon Studios where other users are able to view it and give feedback on the project. Amazon Storyteller is free - anyone can visit AmazonStudios.com and use this new tool to visualize their movie script and share it with others.

More information about Amazon Storyteller is available at www.amazonstudios.com/storyteller.

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5 Comments

  • Mark and Darla | June 13, 2013 11:34 PMReply

    The concept is a dream come true for screenwriters to attract the attention of movie studios but understanding the ‘Development Agreement’ tell me, once I upload my script I lose everything. Not going to sell my soul for the lure of $200.00.

  • Marie | June 10, 2013 1:11 PMReply

    I find this service another nail in the coffin of true artists and shows a complete lack of understanding as to what a storyboard is and the skills required to create it. This service implies that storyboarding is a simple task of placing people in front of backgrounds surrounded by props. In actuality, storyboarding involves determining the best and most communicative way to stage scenes. There are numerous considerations involved that only a human being can make based on their interpretation of the script. The creator of this service is a former animation executive, NOT an artist, which explains the desire to remove the artist from the process. As an animator who's drawn storyboards, I can say confidently that an automated storyboard service is only capable of creating a sterile, unimaginative storyboard.

  • ScriptTease | June 7, 2013 5:48 PMReply

    I love it, I love it, I love it. So far you're only able to view three Storyboards. I'm sure by the end of the month, more will be added. I doubt I will submit a Feature length, maybe the first ten pages, or maybe a short. My understanding is once you submit anything with Amazon Studio, then they pretty much has a say in your script as far as optioning goes. Now I'm not sure if things have changed, but that was the case over a year ago. Any who, I am feeling this new storyboard. I have yet to find a tutorial, but just glanced on Youtube and Amazon website.

  • Aaron | June 7, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    It's just what I need for my vision.

  • JIHUDI | June 7, 2013 12:52 PMReply

    Amazon is changing the game. They're giving filmmakers like myself access to their marketplace to distribute our films, especially films with a niche market. I'll be checking out this storyteller to see how I can incorporate it into my visualization toolkit.

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