Following in the footsteps of its competitors Netflix and Hulu, Amazon has officially announced that they are in the process of putting together sitcoms and children’s programs for inclusion in its online streaming service. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the company’s adventure into producing original content is that they are accepting submissions from writers, filmmakers, and animators who are looking to leave their mark on the industry. All projects will be released via Amazon Instant Play, though I’ll touch more on that in a second.
Although Amazon is encouraging creative types to submit their own ideas for possible production, there are a few guidelines that they’ve set in place for each genre. For instance, if you plan to submit a pilot for a sitcom, the piece should be 22 minutes long, while children’s shows can be anywhere from 11 to 22 minutes. Obviously, if you’re planning to undertake a kid’s show, the property should be geared towards pre-school children. The show should also be entertaining as well as educational, or, at least, have the potential to be educational.
If you fancy yourself a writer, the submission parameters are a little different. In addition to a “mini-bible” — which is, essentially, a two-to-six page treatment detailing the plot, characters, episode ideas, and other important aspects of your creation — writers must submit a pilot script. Single-spaced entries should clock in at 36 pages or fewer, while double-spaced scripts should be no more than 54 pages. The initial script doesn’t have to origin story, though it should represent the program’s finest qualities. In short, this one episode should blow them away.
It’s also worth mentioning that submitting material for consideration will be 100% free, meaning you will not have to pay Amazon a fee for uploading your script, video, or animation. That’s always a good thing, and suggests that the company is serious about getting as many people as possible to participate in the program.
Regarding distribution: Amazon Studios is planning to option one idea per month and toss it directly onto the production slate. after which it will be tested for audience viability. If the company decides that the project is worthy of distribution, they will order the full series and pay the creator $55,000. Additionally, this lucky individual will receive 5-percent royalties on toys, t-shirts, and other merchandising related to your creation.
If they decide that your pitch isn’t what they’re looking for, fear not: you can easily remove your creation from the site or, alternatively, allow others to critique your work. However, if your idea was rejected by the folks at Amazon, the last thing you may want is to read are responses from other people about how awful your work is.
Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea. Not only does this process give creative types an opportunity to submit their work to a company that can make their dreams become a reality, it also allows the company to connect directly to those who would enjoy their service the most. If handled properly, this could spawn a fantastic community of writers, directors, and animators, all of whom are attempting to achieve the same goal. The possibilities for collaborations, as well as content for Amazon Studios, are pretty much endless.
For more information, swing by the official Amazon Studios page. If you’re ready to throw your idea into the mix, you can head to this location and upload your work as soon as you believe it’s ready for mass consumption.
What do you think about Amazon’s latest endeavor? Is this a wonderful idea to find emerging talent, or is it a cheap way to develop new content? Let us know in the comments section.