Whoa, who would’ve thought online retailer Amazon.com would get into the movie-making business.
Amazon.com today launched a new initiative called Amazon Studios that might help budding filmmakers and script writers break into the intensely competitive and highly lucrative world of the movie business.
Aspiring movie makers or screenwriters, of whom there’s never been a shortage in the world, can submit full length test movies or scripts to Amazon Studios.
Amazon Studios intends to produce full length theatrical films based on the best projects submitted with Warner Bros. getting first access to any co-production with an outside studio.
If a filmmaker or screenwriter creates a project with an original script that gets released by Amazon Studios as a theatrical feature film, the submitter will receive $200,000. Also, if the movie makes over $60 million at the U.S. box office, the original filmmaker or screenwriter can expect a $400,000 bonus.
Projects submitted to Amazon Studios are open to feedback by the public.
To make the new initiative more appealing, Amazon is promising a total of $2.7 million in monthly and annual awards to the top submissions received by December 31, 2011.
Winning screenplays and full-length test movies are to be picked based on commercial viability that includes consideration of premise, story, character, dialogue, emotion and other elements of great movies.
Before you start salivating at the thought of becoming the next Francis Ford Coppola, RGV, James Cameron or Shankar, there are some negatives in the Amazon Studios initiatives for the content creator.
The major drawback is that for 18 months after an aspiring filmmaker submits a project to Amazon Studios, he cannot display, sell or license the script or test movie elsewhere, or withdraw it for any reason. During this period, Amazon Studios has the exclusive right to develop it.
Amazon can extend the exclusive period for another 18 months by forking out $10,000.
So you are locked into Amazon for up to three years, an eternity in a fast changing world.
Amazon Studios gets non-exclusive forever rights to show and distribute submissions and scripts and movies based on it. Amazon also can keep it up on its website and otherwise distribute it without exercising its option.
Worryingly, there is no “delete my stuff” button for submissions.
Then, there’s the issue of dealing with theft of the submissions. For instance, Indian moviemakers are notorious thieves and show no scruples in purloining others’ intellectual property.
For more information, visit Amazon Studios.