Mega online retailer Amazon wants a piece of the producer pie. They've created Amazon Studios, which allows hopefuls to post their scripts, movies, storyboards, and other film schtuff on their site. After that, Regular Joes can swoop in and dig into the projects -- offering their feedback, rating it, and even revising it as they see fit (potential disaster ... ). The highest rated material gets eyeballed by a panel of judges -- including folks like 'Top Gun' screenwriter Jack Epps, Jr. and 'Bottle Rocket' producer Michael Taylor. These top picks may be passed along to Warner Bros. who has the first look option, but other studios may take a peek if the studio passes.
Ok, so what about the Benjamins? Amazon isn't paying writers and directors for their work outside of some monthly/yearly prizes, which will apparently total $2.7 million by the end of 2011. They have promised to pay $200,000 if a script or film is actually released by a studio -- which is about as likely as one of us driving our car across the Atlantic Ocean.
Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope website served a similar purpose. People were able to post their screenplays (after reading a certain number of other submissions on the site) and get feedback from the community of aspiring writers. The highest rated scripts potentially got a look from Coppola's staff to see if they had cinematic potential. This was a pretty big deal at the time, because screenwriting was like the new lottery. If a writer could option a screenplay, they could make a lot of money even if the film never got made. While many screenplays were posted on the old Zoetrope site, it seems as though Coppola never found one worthy of his time. The same thing could happen at Amazon Studios.
Ultimately this is a fun idea for filmmakers and writers with big Hollywood dreams, but the reality is you'd have better odds winning the Powerball than breaking into the film industry this way. Will Amazon Studios be privy to your latest project?
[via L.A. Times]