Filmmaking / Directing : Amazon Studio's Development Slate by Charles K. Frazier

Amazon Studio's Development Slate

I've sent 5 different types of scripts to Amazon Studios for consideration and all 5 were passed on (no surprise there) with them saying,

"...we have determined that it does not meet the needs of our Development Slate at this time. If you have other material...."

Why won't they just say what they are looking for instead of having people sending things that aren't right for their development slate, whatever that is?

M L.

If they aren't specifying what to send in then they either are open to everything or they aren't actively looking at this time. To put this in perspective, The Happy Writers pitch program here could easily be a database of pre-recorded pitches where you pay to upload a pitch and any executive could access it at any time if they were "actively looking". However if S32 implemented this, guess how many videos would actually be watched if it were completely up to the executives to look at their own pace on their own time? Zero.

Don't get me wrong. Everyone wants a great story and it can come from anywhere. A bartender, an Uber driver. Everyone knows this. So if you have a great story it'll get repitched. But the overwhelming assumption from the eyes of someone in development is that you do not. They've heard a million horrible pitches and will only hear them if they are forced or paid to. haha. Reading a script? Forget it.

Apple is diving into content production full steam and are going straight to Hollywood for projects. There are tons of shows and scripts that are ready to go with people already attached. Check out Slated.com and you'll understand what I mean. Everyone actively working in Hollywood already has full slates of films they want to make. From actors to writers, to producers.

Not to discourage you but I wouldn't get at all frustrated or disappointed by pitching or submitting scripts unsuccessfully. It's like getting mad at the weather. Pointless. Think of it as a scratch & win lottery ticket. Nothing more.

Patrick G

It sounds like they might not be entirely sure of what they are looking for, but they will know it when they see it.

Charles K. Frazier

Thanks for the reply & feedback, Michael. My point is that Amazon Studios asks for submissions, saying that they are looking for new material. They could also be more specific in stating WHAT they are looking for, so that we/they won't waste anyone's time. If I know that my script is NOT what they are looking for, I won't bother to send it to them.

Charles K. Frazier

Hey Patrick, I agree with you. They should state that, LOL!

M L.

Amazon also requires that you relinquish all copyright claim on submissions I believe. So as to protect them if they go into production on something similar to your script. This is the catch22 and why I never submitted anything.

Stating what they want would make sense. As would having people here upload video pitches so as to not waste our time but our time is worthless in the eyes of people in development. We don't matter. Their time is gold. They are not to be bothered, contacted or approached without invitation. The hours you spend on a script or a pitch don't matter in the slightest.

Imagine from their perspective. Having any legit contacts in the business puts you immediately in the firing range of thousands of people looking to break in. Which is why a lot of people in development will lie about what they do for a living. Dentist, CPA, etc. Anything to avoid being pitched at a party or event.

The reality is that most people hearing pitches, reading scripts are very low on the totem pole of any company and their salaries are also quite low. I've looked into this myself as I've been researching development and forming a company. The projects that are packaged and secured for development are those with people attached. It's rare that the parent production company has enough income to put into something that's a wild card themselves and also, who's gonna read it? If they know it's coming from an unrepped, unproduced source, it's immediately tagged with that kinda label. If anyone reads something like that, it's a favor and a personal connection.

Like I said, it's a lottery card. You have the right project and the right person reads it at exactly the right time, they might pass it on to an actor or director that they know personally who is looking and would be a good fit. Extremely unlikely. But this is all just one guys opinion after a bit of homework. There are always exceptions to everything. Just don't ever count on being that. Expect disappointment and you'll never be disappointed. ;)

Charles K. Frazier

Michael, I didn't expect to get picked up by Amazon, I just expected them to have a bit more class.

Regina Lee

A studio might be targeting certain genres, but if the execs read an awesome script in a different genre, all bets are off. No studio wants to take themselves out of the running for receiving something unexpected and awesome.

Rob Alicea

Charlie, see if you can get coverage on your materials. There are things beyond a great script that have to be on point- like your pitching materials. If your treatment isn't in a great place they may never consider your work- even if the script is amazing. So just keep that in mind- there are some resources online that give treatment samples. Good luck!

Rachael Saltzman

Because all they're looking for is good. That's one of the most polite form letters I've seen.

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