Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Update: $10,000 from Amazon Studios?

A while back I was considering submitting a screenplay or two, to Amazon Studios. But then I read some very negative things about them and decided not to submit anything to them. Not until they got their act together and became more screenwriter friendly. However as of April of this year, they seem to have made some changes that altered my view on them.

These two articles by Mark Violi helped to clarify things and I thought you might find them useful if you are considering AS. His Part One and Part Two articles on Amazon Studios, gleamed from his own experiences in submitting to them, has given us some insight to AS in both their old and knew format.

So now I am thinking about submitting something. Maybe a couple of somethings. They lock you up for forty-five days if you submit something. I have a couple of screenplays now with Inktip.com, on their site and in their catalog that goes out to studios, producers, etc. I'm not much of one for "pitching" a concept or film to anyone so I'm at a disadvantage to those other extroverts out there who are into it. The concept of having to "pitch" to someone, just annoys the crap out of me. I would much prefer to simply write.

But this has been an issue for some years now. If you want to be a writer, you can't just be a writer anymore. Now you have to become that extrovert. You have to meet the public, pitch to producers, becomes exactly what most writers aren't, public figures. We tend to write in quiet secluded environments where we feel most creative. But then when you have finished a project, you seem to need to be ripped from the womb to be put into the public domain and abuse arena. Yay! Lucky us.

Of course there will always be the exceptions to the rule, but you'd probably better be some kind of idiot savant, or literary genius for people to put up with that kind of reclusive behavior.

I've also over the years, submitted my works to other sites, Ben Afflack and Matt Damon's Project Greenlight, and Kevin Spacey's TriggerStreet.com, where you are being evaluated by your peers in a quid pro quo situation. You review others' screenplays and they do yours. But I spent an entire year rewriting my Ahriman screenplay nine times and finally quit because I realized that I had gotten so far beyond the original mark / concept that I was shooting for, that I needed to go back to the basics. It was such a shock of realization after so much work, that I didn't write much for two years after that. So be careful about peer reviews from peers who aren't already professionals and actively in the biz.

After that, I'm a bit careful about signing up to any of these things. Even though I monitor the free newsletter from InkTip.com it still took me years to publish on them, just to see what happens and not really expecting much more than the experience. For that so far, it's been entertaining.

I've been on Moviebytes.com for years and have gotten more from their free posting then from any other site. Because of my being listed on their free site, I have gotten two screenplay adaptation gigs (Dark of kNight and Sealed in Lies), and because of that connection I have gotten into two Horror anthologies in 2010 for charity (The Undead Nation Anthology for Cancer Research and Rhonny Reaper's Creature Features for Diabetes Research), ended up getting a few ebooks out (the popular and free on Smashwords, the popular and free ebook Simon's Beautiful Thought, Andrew, a novella that sets the stage for my first real book) and two books of my own published (Anthology of Evil a collection of my short Horror fiction, and my first real book and latest endeavor, Death of Heaven). The paperbacks are also available in ebook formats on Amazon and Smashwords.

So now I should consider submitting something to Amazon Studios. Right? The consideration of a $10,000 option extension payment that those on the Development side get, is worth at least considering. Of course getting that is a far cry from simply posting your screenplay on there. Still, if you are considering it, give Mark's blog a read through and then make up your own mind. But before you do....

[Update June 5, 2012] Before you run off to submit your screenplay to Amazon Studios, check out this blog piece by John August called, "Amazon Studios and the Free Option", that I just ran across from June 1, 2012. He's referring to Chip Street's article where he decides not to take the Amazon deal: "Amazon Studios and the Free Option".

So there we are, back in the morass of digital confusion and possibly obfuscation. If you do decide to submit, well, best of luck to you! For me now, I may find that my procrastination in putting things off may have been a lucky break. Or maybe not. How much do the issues that John and Chip really matter to a new screenwriter? If Amazon even mentions your name in connection with the videos J & C refer to, maybe that makes it worth it to you; if Amazon does, mention your name that is.

The point here isn't that you should submit or that you shouldn't submit. Rather it is that you do or don't with an informed decision, before you act (or don't act). All I can do is offer the information and wish you, the best of luck.[End update]

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