Screenwriting : Amazon Studios: My Experiment In Futility by Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Amazon Studios: My Experiment In Futility

I’ve gone on a bit of a blitz over the past few days. I’ve done three pitches for my new script at Virtual Pitchfest and two with Stage 32 Happy Writers. I’m still waiting to see if I net any script requests for any of these efforts. I’m cool with that because it’s all part of the ballgame, and my larger strategy of building a pipeline of contacts, options and shopping agreements. Over the past five months, I’ve signed two option deals and one shopping agreement. This week, I’m in the process of negotiating another shopping agreement with a major agency that has been involved with some big time television projects. 

Finally, in a move that demonstrates I’m a glutton for punishment, I uploaded my new script, logline and story synopsis privately at Amazon Studios. That was five days ago. My work is now in the evaluation stage and I have high hopes that I will break through Amazon’s anemic record of signing lesser known writers. In lieu of my many strong opinions about that very topic, I think it’s laughable to think Amazon will option this script. In fact, I may have a better chance of winning the Super Lotto or being struck by lightning on a sunny day. However, I am going to keep you S32 folks posted on my progress with Amazon. And, it they decide to do business with Uncle Phil, you’ll be some of the first to know about it. In the meantime, I’ll just consider this an exercise in futility.

Feel free to share your thoughts; particularly if you’re going to wish me luck.

Victor Titimas

Indeed, I wish you the best of luck! If your screenplay is good enough, won't they notice it and do something with it?:) I once submitted to Amazon, but it was my very first script and of course they didn't option it... I once even sent ideas to an actor's website... Never heard from him again. And I was so excited...

I remember walking into a store and thinking to myself:" Woow! How would it feel just buying everything I see around here? All this chocolate, these chips, these more expensive stuff like huge jars of chocolate or candy boxes with liquor? Not just regular shopping with just 1-2 such "items", but practically everything I see and like in one swoop!:)" But I was young and stupid back then...:(

Never give up or think that what you're doing is in vain.

Who knows? Someone must eventually "win" that Amazon thing(and the agency submission, and the contests and queries, and everything that can grant you access), or else they wouldn't exist in the first place or they were long gone, if they weren't legitimate(frauds)... And who says it can't be you? So best of luck to you!

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Victor:

Thanks for your kind words. A lot of factors besides just being good go into whether or not someone wants to option a screenplay. For is example:

1. Is it low budget?

2. Is it topical?

3. Is it marketable?

4. Could there be a franchise opportunity?

5. Broad range appeal?

I think my new has all those things. Only time will tell.

Doug Nelson

Phil - Best of luck to you but I'm sure you know that there's so much more involved than luck. I look at it like this: Every pitch is a swing and every swing & miss moves you closer to a hit. Keep swingin'.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Doug:

Absolutely agree. The Amazon thing is an after thought. I have a half dozen other pitches working for this project. It's definitely a numbers games and I'm hitting more now than ever.

Eric Christopherson

Good luck, Phil! I too recently submitted to Amazon, and they turned down the script in about 72 hours. (Found out today though that the same script made it into the quarter finals of Orb Media Group's China-Hollywood Screenwriting Fellowship contest.)

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Eric:

Great news on the QF spot. Well done!

Pete Whiting

good luck. I have submitted 3 scripts to them on private settings. had 3 downloads for each of them and two of them staying in 'evaluation' mode for over a month. But at the end of the day, got 3 rejection emails. Have not met anyone with success on amazon - not to say it doesn't happen.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

It's day six of my Amazon evaluation with three downloads. I think I may have this. I can't wait to cash my first ten thousand dollar check. I may even buy some stuff from Amazon.com.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Dear Diary:

Day seven of Amazon evaluation. What could be taking them so long? Don't they grasp that I'm the next Diablo Cody, or at very least Bill Goldman? Well, I'm resolute and will give AS a few more days to get it together.

Ingrid Goldberg

Well, about 2 years ago I submitted my script to Amazon and in less than 10 hours of submission......I was rejected! Do you think they read it.....I hope not. Would I ever re-submit....nope. So maybe your time lapse is a good thing.....or maybe they just went on a very long lunch break.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Ingrid:

Perhaps my sense of humor is so dry and my message so subtle that is being lost upon some folks. Though I did really submit a script to Amazon this week, I'm not aware of any writers that have ever had a script optioned via their open door program. I posted this thread primarily for humorous purposes, as I'm aware the odds of Amazon optioning my script are akin to winning the Texas Lottery. If you're interested, here something I posted in a previous Amazon thread the references a lengthy discussion"

"Charlie: Amazon makes it very easy to submit your Feature or TV pilot ideas. My suggestion is to make sure you have a very marketable idea, catchy logline around 30 words long and a good, clear summary of your story. Also ensure your script is proofread and professionally formatted. Note that there has been a lot of debate here at this forum over whether Amazon will really ever do much with any scripts submitted by unproduced writers. Here is a great thread about this topic you may want to read https://www.stage32.com/lounge/screenwriting/Amazon-Studios-11

And here is a link from a comment posted at Amazon with an interesting POV.

https://studios.amazon.com/discussions/Tx1D2DMPS42GL3Z

Ingrid Goldberg

Thanks Uncle Phil. I am laughing. Can't stop writing or laughing.

Doug Nelson

Uncle Phil - no matter what, Diablo Cody is still gonna look better in a dress than you.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Doug

I'll concede that only if Diablo agrees to a runway model, side by side comparison.

Linda Hullinger

Phillip, I read your post a few days ago and thought why not? So I sent them a horror feature at 1:01 pm. I wasn't sure it went thru so i went to my dashboard to check. By 1:04 it was already in "deciding" and it hadn't even been downloaded yet. I thought wow they mustve just loved my logline! Lol! By 1:11 it was downloaded once. And today at 2:01 (exactly 49 hrs later) I received a thanks but no thanks email. Soooo maybe since yours has reached day seven you may be in the running. Best of luck with it. : )

G.R. Barnett

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy I wish you the best of luck, man. I tried a couple of years ago with amazon studios and I didn't actually get anywhere. :/ But hey maybe you'll be one of the lucky ones. :) Good luck!

-G.R.B.

Dan MaxXx

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy cut the computer line and hit up Adam k.

Amazon bosses know him.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

MaxXxy:

Good suggestion and done.

Shawn Speake

Way to get down, Uncle Phil!

Julian Jr. Merrier

Awesome. I'm currently rewriting a pilot screenplay I posted on Reddit in which I received a few well-needed critiques about it. The people who had responded were very respectful and only added a few things wrong with the script that I am revising. Going to post it on Amazon Studios once I'm finished. Thankfully, there weren't any gripes about the story or characters, which I loved. Hope that bodes well for me too. Can't wait to hear what Amazon will do with your work.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Dear Diary: It's day eight and still no word. I hope Amazon doesn't wait too long to option this script. I'm considering all offers. And if I get one, I'll consider it.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Shawn Speake: Mah man in Colorado!

Kevin Carothers

Hi Uncle Phil.

One thing that's a little disconcerting to me (I'm super paranoid) is that www.virtualpitchfest.com (as a website) has been around since 2005 but a lot of their movie thumbnails are movies from the late 1990s.... Can you give a little personal feedback about them?

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Kevin:

Your timing is impeccable. I was just searching for two more producers/agents to pitch to on VPF. And yes, a lot of their so-called executives are a bit stale with recent work. I look everyone up on IMDb before I pitched. And, I haven't used them in over a year and signed up for a 50 dollar special for seven pitches. So that's about $7.14 per pitch. I've pitched to five so far and gotten back three passes, one saying very professional pitch but material not suitable for them. The Script I'm pitching is a low budget romcom. I've gotten better responses using Inktip and got a read request for this same script last week from a fairly big production company. So, I'm probably not coming back for seconds anytime soon.

Julian Jr. Merrier

Phil:

I've sent a screenplay to a nearby production company that made their most famous TV Show called Blackstone. They currently are busy from what I can tell and I'll be waiting for their response. Sadly, I don't see much of an outcome since I was too hasty and sent them a pretty bad screenplay in my opinion.

Although, I do plan to still revise the pilot and send it off to Amazon. Maybe even other places if you happen to know any. But other than that, you're just waiting 8 days and maybe even more, I also hastily contacted the company after about three weeks after I sent the screenplay and it's awesome that the owner of the company personally reads the screenplays, however, he is busy at the moment as I mentioned. I still have high hopes regardless of the screenplay with it's few flaws that the people from Reddit pointed out.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Hey Julian:

Good luck with your script. Just keep working on the badboy. As far as Amazon, they're like the other streaming guys and inundated with established writers vying opportunities. As I've said several times in this forum, getting optioned by Amazon is like being a Salmon attempting to swim up Niagara Falls. If it happens, I would declare it a miracle and have the Vatican dispatch someone to certify it. I'm pitching to other folks and already have some interest.

Renee Buck

I've heard that Amazon, Netflix and other streaming are just like any producers and studios these days - you need representation to cut through the clutter.

Matthew Corry

My feature script has been on Amazon for 99 days as of now and has been in "deciding" since day 4 or 5 with 3 downloads. I contacted them again just the other day and their chat agent said she'd send a request through for an update but I haven't heard back yet. You just keep writing and pitching anyway because, to a point, its a numbers game.

G.R. Barnett

Francisco Casals Shit, man, I didn't know that by submitting stuff you gave amazon rights. Kinda glad that they rejected me now.

Also what is amazon's scriptwriting software called?

-G.R.B.

Matthew Corry

They're the same "rights" you give any other company when they read your script. It's basically to protect their own butts so they don't read a vampire script, release a vampire movie 12 months later and get sued.

Raymond Zachariasse

I do wish you luck :) It's a real rat race and I'm just beginning. I do hope you will make it and break the chain.

Bill Costantini

Phillip: if you're not happy with Amazon, you should consider the Blacklist. (Ducks and runs. Heh-heh.)

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Dear Diary: It's day ten and Amazon is in the deciding phase. Not too fast and not too slow. Praying to Ares and Artemis for good tidings. Or an option offer would be fine.

Phillip "Le Raconteur" Hardy

Bill C:

I love Amazon and Blacklist. They're just waiting to find the next Carl Foreman or Charlie Kaufman. I'm rising to meet the perceived challenge. Whatever the hell that means.

Shara Maude

Best of luck!! I've submitted a couple of times to them. No bites, but so it goes. Here's hoping it's good news!!

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