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Screenwriting : Amazon Studios Options on Screenplays by Stacy Gentile

Stacy Gentile

Amazon Studios Options on Screenplays

I spent some time finally looking at Amazon Studios and what hey are trying to do with optioning scripts. It's an interesting read. FAQ: http://studios.amazon.com/help/faq#about_rights_original Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FZe-lwNe6A I might be misunderstanding this but it looks to me like you give them a $0 option for 45 days. If they wish, they can forcefully extend that option for 18 months @$10,000 and then do it again for another 18 months and $10,000. That's a three year option for only $20,000. Reading further, they can totally bump you out of the process and credits. Am I reading this wrong? I also liked how they said they could buy it for $200,000 but what looks more likely is they extend the options / extensions while they develop it on their own for 3 years then pay you -- maybe. Anyone have any experience / stories / insights about Amazon Studios?

CJ Walley

Worth noting that since that thread Amazon have won a Golden Globe for their TV series Transparent, setup deals with Woody Allen and Charlize Theron, and brought in Ted Hope as their Head of Production. They have also let quite a few of their development slate options expire.

Stacy Gentile

CJ -- thanks for the link ... that was an even more interesting read.

David Levy

I need to add this to my long list of reading!

Erik Linthorst

that's actually a pretty good deal. I've optioned a lot of material to every level of company, and I've never gotten 20K in option money for any amount of time, and I'd take 10K for an 18 month option tomorrow on any of my available scripts. And yes, you'll get your purchase price when/if the project gets made. That's also standard.

Mike Leins

My friend got optioned at Amazon, got the 10k for 18 months and they really didnt ask him to do much after that. At the end of the 18 months, they didnt renew, but he got 10k out of it and a nice line on his resume which led to getting a manager.

William Joseph Hill

Sounds to me like it's not bad -- they've improved over the few years since they started soliciting submissions. I wonder what it would be like for actors with their own feature scripts looking to also be in the film?

Richard Toscan

I'm recalling an article, maybe in the NYTimes, about Ted Hope taking over Amazon Studios and concluding that he might move away from spec script submissions directly for features and going instead toward a more traditional Hollywood approach for getting scripts. Will be intriguing to see what he initially greenlights and if any of those come from spec submissions.

Arran McDermott

I submitted my anthology series pilot to Amazon just out of curiosity, but I'd say they've already moved away from optioning amateur scripts. The last one was about two years ago, I believe. AS is just like any other studio now. Their open door policy is pretty much a joke.

Elisabeth Meier

@David - yeah, me too. Wish days had 40 hours then I had more time to sleep and could handle the rest more relaxed.

CJ Walley

Amazon actually optioned amatuer script The Wall only at the end of last year and have already greenlit it.

Elisabeth Meier

Cool CJ. So, you made good experiences with Amazon studios? @Stacy Thank you for summarizing that stuff here as this was on my long reading list and I didn't get after my first read what is meant by optioning without paying and then paying but still only optioning etc etc. Actually it sounds like 'keep away from it' to me.

CJ Walley

My experience is detailed in the thread I linked to. All very positive. Since then they have featured me and one of my scripts on their Facebook fan page.

Stacy Gentile

Personally I would like to see RB from Stage 32 interview someone from Amazon Studios.

Laurie Ashbourne

I can say they are still very actively looking at spec material, both as video pitches on a screenplay and screenplays alone. What hopefully is fading is the 'community edited function' of material (that is my hope -- because it has been a mess). As always, when this topic comes up, I strongly recommend looking at the private submission vs. the public community submission.

Elisabeth Meier

So, would you all say Amazon Studios are worth a try?

CJ Walley

Yes, but only once your other available options have expired.

Melonie Zarko

Thanks for this topic. I too, will need to add this thread and the links it contains to my further reading list.

Kevin Doy Burton

I'm with amazon studios.I have a storyboard of my screenplay called Dominant Species on their site.

Virginia Brucker

Kathryn, is there a link on Amazon so we can read it?

John Luerding

I've used this a few times and have not seen anything in the way of production to come from Amazon. They announce green lit projects for T.V. and movies, but again I've yet to see anything come of it. They certainly stay clear of Horror.

Stephanie Ray

Has anyone seen Amazon g

Stephanie Ray

Whoops. Has anyone seen Amazon option animation scripts?

CJ Walley

They did option a wacky animated script once, but have since let the option expire.

Kevin Doy Burton

I just submitted one of my screenplays to them privately.

Elisabeth Meier

Kevin, why privately? I understood their system only works by public judge. So I don't understand yet how it then works when you submit yours privately.

Kevin Doy Burton

Submit privately Amazon Studios staff will evaluate your script. Your script won't be made publicly available at Amazon Studios, but the title and premise will compete in the public Premise War game during the 45-day option and evaluation period. Your script will only become public at Amazon Studios if we pay to extend our option on it, we buy it, or you choose to make it public.

Kevin Doy Burton

I decided to send that part of the agreement for stage 32 patrons as an option.I wanted to try it that way first and give them the 45 day option. I mean ,what do I have to lose?

Elisabeth Meier

You have nothing to lose. If they don't buy it then another one will or you make it public and the public votes for you and then Amazon will buy it. So, it sounds like a fair chance.

CJ Walley

Elisabeth, the community stuff on Amazon Studios hasn't proven to have any bearing on what they chose to develop. It seems it was only ever there to encourage community interaction.

Elisabeth Meier

Thanks for sharing this, Kevin!

Kevin Doy Burton

Submit publicly Amazon Studios staff will evaluate your script, and it will also be published to the Amazon Studios site for public feedback, including in the Premise War game.

Kevin Doy Burton

This is just a little information that I wanted to gather for any Stage 32 patrons who are interested.

Laurie Ashbourne

Submit privately.

Elisabeth Meier

I see, CJ. Thanks.

CJ Walley

Amazon are with the WGA now.

Arran McDermott

Kathryn, I'll take a look at your script. I have a couple of projects on AS myself.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Besides screenwriting contests, for a novice screenwriter like myself, It might be the only way, Major Studios do not take new scripts from unknown writers. Agents have their own clients that make them money. I am going to do both, All(6) major contests, and Amazon Studios,

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Kathryn- Not yet $$ tight rent and food first but I will I am writing every day and have (6) other scripts in the works besides "Hope Saves Manhattan"

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Kathryn-Write on!! (sorry about the pun) But, hey. whats life without whimsy?

Arran McDermott

Here are my two projects on Amazon if anyone's interested in checking them out: Izzie and the Bubble Dimensions (kids animated TV) http://studios.amazon.com/projects/77629 To Be Announced (comedy anthology show) http://studios.amazon.com/projects/66418

Arran McDermott

Thanks, Kathryn. I enjoyed reading your script, too. Good luck with it!

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