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Amazon Studios Director Roy Price Talks Second-Year Changes

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 6, 2012 at 4:29PM

It's more than a year since Amazon Studios launched its radical new approach to making movies. Where are they now? Well, Amazon Studios director Roy Price has finalized a development slate of fifteen projects in the works.

Three of the test films are in the development slate of 15 projects, one of which won the Amazon Studios best test film contest prize of $1 million, family Grimm's Fairy Tale musical "12 Princesses," from USC music grad Rob Gardner, who made it on his own. "It's going into rewrite," Price says. "We have an open writing assignment on that now. People can apply for that through the website. Agents can call People's Production."

Roy Price
Roy Price

"I Think My Facebook is Dead" is a contemporary comedy about the impact of social media on real world dating. And script-winner "Alchemist Agenda" is an action adventure. "We're getting better at soliciting and understanding the moviegoer point-of-view and fan feedback," says Price.

Will Amazon have a movie in front of cameras before the end of the year? The clock is ticking on a serious financial outlay and overhead to date--in contests alone, $1.9 million. Maybe yes, maybe no, says Price: "Once we get the script right it takes time to find a director and put the project together." They'll get there.

Here are the new rules:

Original scripts:

o   As before, writers can submit a script for review publicly on Amazon Studios, but now they also have the option to submit privately to the Amazon Studios team.

o   Following a 45-day option and evaluation period either:

§  Amazon Studios will add the project to their Development Slate by purchasing the script or paying $10,000 to extend the option; or

§  The writer gets back their rights to sell the script.  The writer can also choose at this time to remove the project from the site or leave it on the site to receive feedback from the creative community.

Open Writing and Directing Assignments

o   Amazon Studios will regularly offer open writing assignments for projects on the Development Slate. Currently paid writing opportunities are available for 12 Princesses and I Think My Facebook Friend is Dead.

o   Starting today, test movies will be funded by Amazon Studios.  Amazon Studios will occasionally offer paid directing opportunities for projects on the Development Slate.

WGA Agreement

o   People’s Production Company, an Amazon Studios production company, is now a signatory to the Writers Guild of America Minimum Basic Agreement.

Here's the letter Amazon posted on their homepage to their community:

Filmmakers, Screenwriters, & Movie Fans –

Thank you to everyone who supported Amazon Studios in our first year. Over 7,000 scripts and 700 test movies were shared with movie fans around the world. Today, we launch our second year of development with some exciting changes.

We are changing the script submission process in three ways. Starting today, writers can submit scripts publicly on the site, as before, or privately to our development staff. When you upload your script, we have a 45-day option and evaluation period. If, during that time, we don’t buy your script or pay you $10,000 to extend our option, you get back your rights to sell the script

In 2012, we will regularly offer Open Writing and Directing Assignments for projects on our Development Slate. Paid writing assignments are currently open for 12 Princesses and I Think My Facebook Friend Is Dead. Visit the Opportunities page for more information. Filmmakers, stay tuned.

Fifteen projects discovered on the Amazon Studios site in 2011 comprise our Development Slate. Throughout the year, we intend to continue adding projects to the Development Slate and attaching top talent to help advance these promising stories.

If you are a  WGA writer, you can learn more about opportunities offered through Amazon Studios production arm, People’s Production Company here.

We look forward to working with you to turn original stories into great movies!

The Amazon Studios Team

This article is related to: Web/Tech, Amazon, Stuck In Love

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.