My Amazon Studios Experience: Diary Of An Aspiring Writer - Part 1

Part 1 in my diary of experiences submitting a script to Amazon Studios.

From the depths of despair comes a ray of hope. Amazon has, for two years now, had their own production forum for aspiring writers and filmmakers. Working in partnership with Warner Brothers, is a potential gateway for hidden talent into Hollywood. Like an X Factor or American Idol for the creative, Amazon Studios could be the future of talent spotting. Late last month, Amazon Studios announced that they will now be taking submissions for TV shows as well as film scripts. So I have taken the chance to submit my own TV pilot €“ White Noise. If the script will get picked up; only time will tell. But I thought it would make for an interesting article series to chart my experiences of submitting an idea to Amazon Studios. Just under two weeks ago I put together my redrafted script, making sure that it adhered to the strict €™22 minute€™ outline. I then had to create a €˜mini-bible€™ as per the demands of Amazon. The €˜mini-bible€™ is a...well, bible for the shows outline. The purpose of it is to map out character development and any key plot details. This seems like a reasonable demand for anyone considering buying my project. However, at this early stage, I cannot imagine that it is overly helpful in determining if my script is a viable venture. But rules is rules, and ironically my map for the show was already a vivid spider€™s web in my brain. So after a short while of spewing brain to page, I tightened up a few details and the €˜mini-bible€™ was complete. Once the script and €˜mini-bible€™ were ready for uploading I had to decide which option I was going to choose for submission. Amazon offer two options €“ the first is an exclusive €˜for your eyes only€™ style set-up. The agreement is that only producers and staff from the Studio look at the script, and then decide based on initial thoughts. The second option adds a public domain to the previous. You essentially put your work out into an open forum where anyone can download, rate and review your work. Whatever option you choose, Amazon gets exclusive rights to your work for a 45 day period. If by the end of that period they want to develop the project, you get a buyout with options for further bonuses upon the show/film being made. If they are not 100%, there is an option to pay you $10,000 to keep the project in their exclusive portfolio for a further 18 months. If there is not interest, you get to take back your project rights. I don€™t know how influential the public opinion forum is to your project, but I figured that any and all feedback is helpful, so I went with option two. Within a few hours of my script being up, I had three people downloading and reading my work. I felt a very real sense of nervousness. It€™s one thing to send your scripts to a publication house or agent, not knowing when and if your work is being read. But to very clearly see a number next to your script, knowing that at that very moment, someone is either loving or hating your writing, is quite un-nerving. I get some feedback. Len Lobby, of goodness knows where, gives White Noise three stars. He declares, €œGreat topic, and interesting that you're doing it as a mockumentary. But I'm not sure I love the dialogue. € It€™s a fair comment, and I have the option to clarify with Len what exactly he didn€™t like about the dialogue. So €œnote to self€, take a second look at the speech patterns and language used by each character, and improve. There will be opportunities to make these changes after my 45 days are up. Self promotion is key when uploading to Amazon Studios. So I beg, borrow and steal endorsements from friends and family. Getting Facebook referrals and €˜likes€™ where I can. The lack of response is hard to take. It€™s quite an ask to get people reading scripts, especially when the writer is a nobody, and reading is a dying pastime these days. But a few rise to the occasion, and I€™m grateful. One week in, and I€™m only at eight downloads. I get a sudden panic, €˜what if White Noise is crap?€™ I am quite a perfectionist, so the fact I find the script funny, made me feel that others would too. Maybe it€™s just one giant private joke? Please don€™t let that be the case!

To take my mind off of things, I head over to Amazon Studios €˜opportunity€™ section, and notice that they have jobs available on some previously purchased scripts. One story, 12 Princesses, catches my eye. I see that there is a plethora of ways to get yourself noticed in this game, and feel a pang of excitement. White Noise still has a good few weeks left before I find out if Amazon wants a part of it, so in the meantime I decide to take a stab at putting together a proposal for a re-write on 12 Princesses. Hell, I don€™t want to put all my eggs in one basket. White Noise is now at nine downloads and, you can read it for yourself at As for 12 Princesses, it was quite a fun experience. But you will just have to wait until my next update to found out what that was like.
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Part critic-part film maker, I have been living and breathing film ever since seeing 'Superman' at the tender age of five. Never one to mince my words, I believe in the honest and emotional reaction to film, rather than being arty or self important just for cred. Despite this, you will always hear me say the same thing - "its all opinion, so watch it and make your own." Follow me @iamBradWilliams