Yup you read the title correctly.¬† Amazon, as in the online store, has created it’s own “film studio” for the internet.¬† Yes this baffles my mind as well..
Amazon says that this is “a new online business that invites filmmakers and screenwriters around the world submit full-length movies and scripts to make money, get discovered, and get their movie made.”¬† Amazon goes on to say that they are going to hold monthly and yearly awards showcasing the best of the best giving up to 2.7 million dollars split up amongst the finalists.¬† Now at first glance I thought, wow that sounds pretty cool maybe I should think about this.¬† Then I searched around their website and other websites and started to become more and more disgusted with Amazon’s idea.
After reading the confusing development agreement (which you sign when you submit your work to Amazon Studios) here is what I can understand:
1) Amazon does not pay for you to submit your work to them.¬† This means that they are getting all of these amazing ideas for free.
2) When you submit a script or a “test movie” (which is an absolutely idiotic idea by the way) you are giving Amazon an exclusive 18 month option for your project for no pay.¬† This means you cannot pitch or sell your script or “test movie” for 18 months because Amazon owns the right to it.¬† Also during this 18 month period Amazon gets to do whatever it wants with your script.¬† The can completely change it to their liking, create a mash up of multiple scripts, create their own movie off the script, create a book off your script or any other derivative.
3) If Amazon decides to option your script or “test movie” you can be given up to $200,000 for it, which sounds amazing right?¬† In this case its not so amazing. ¬† In Amazon’s contest rules section they state that they reserve the right to split up this amount to multiple individuals that submitted their work.¬† This means that if someone provided feedback to your script or submitted a script similar to yours Amazon can divide the cash prize amount and you could end up getting nothing at all.
4) When it comes to “test films”¬† Amazon says that you can’t always tell what a movie is going to be like by just reading¬† your script.¬† So they suggest that you create a “test film” to showcase what your script is about.¬† This “test film”¬† according to Amazon should be ‚Äú an inexpensive, full-length movie that tells the whole story of the script in a compelling way, has very good acting and sound, but that doesn‚Äôt necessarily have polished production values.‚ÄĚ¬† So you want me to make my entire film by myself with no budget?¬† Are you kidding me? ¬†¬† Oh and as an added bonus.. Amazon reserves the right to sell your test film to a studio and kick you out as the director or screenwriter.
Trust me, I know that breaking into Hollywood is hard but this is jut not the way to do it.¬† To me this sounds like a huge marketing/pr scam for Amazon to get their hands on some free ideas and do whatever they want with them.¬† If anyone knows someone that has submitted their material I would love to here about their experience.