×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amazon Studios Shuts Down Open Script-Submission Program

Since its inception in 2010, Amazon Studios has touted a technocratic approach to entertainment development — with an open submission process for scripts and projects promising to let anyone break into showbiz, and potentially have their idea turned into a movie or TV show if it was up-voted to the top of the pile.

Now, Amazon Studios’ crowdsourced-script program is dead, a tacit acknowledgement by the ecommerce giant’s entertainment division that it will only produce stuff greenlit the traditional, Hollywood way.

As of April 13, 2018, Amazon Studios is no longer accepting unsolicited submissions. It will continue to review and evaluate submissions it’s already received through June 30, according to a notice on its website.

Here’s how Amazon Studios explained the move: “As we have grown and evolved over the last several years, we are making changes to our website and closing our open call for script and concept submissions… Thank you all for your contributions.” The division’s FAQ now includes info about the shutdown, telling visitors, “At Amazon we are always reinventing ourselves and looking for ways to become even more efficient.” The shutdown of the program was reported previously by Engadget.

The open-submission program had been championed by Amazon Studios founder Roy Price, who last fall was ousted after sexual-harassment allegations surfaced against him. In February, Amazon named Jennifer Salke, formerly president of NBC Entertainment, the head of Amazon Studios.

Even before Price’s exit, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was pushing the studio division to strive for higher-profile, buzzy dramas with global appeal (a la “Game of Thrones”). That directive led to Amazon Studios’ most ambitious — and by all accounts most expensive — project ever: It won the rights to a multi-season adaption of “Lord of the Rings,” a deal that also covers potential spinoffs.

For all the hype about its over-the-transom submission program, Amazon Studios appears to have greenlit only one screenplay to a full series: children’s series “Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street,” from first-time writer and preschool teacher David Anaxagoras. The studio produced two seasons.

Currently, Amazon Studios lists 20,694 movie and 6,973 TV series projects on its website.

Initially under the program, Amazon Studios automatically took a free option on every submission, promising payment if the project was ultimately produced as a film or series. In late 2015, it ended that practice in a bid to attract members of the WGA and Animation Guild but it isn’t clear whether the change yielded many offerings from Hollywood pros.

In its FAQ, the division points creators to other options for pitching and distributing their work. The suggestions include: submitting videos and scripts to film festivals via Amazon’s Withoutabox.com; signing up for IMDb Pro (also owned by Amazon) to “connect and share your work with other professionals”; and publishing videos via Amazon’s Prime Video Direct program, which offers royalties based on user viewing.

Amazon said its Storybuilder “virtual corkboard” tool for screenwriters is still available, while the Storywriter script-writing tool is still available via web browser but will no longer accept script submissions.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Rachel Brill - BR Studio -

    Bleacher Report Taps Epix's Rachel Brill to Head B/R Studio

    Rachel Brill is departing Epix to join WarnerMedia’s Bleacher Report as senior VP and general manager of B/R Studio, the digital sports division’s recently formed original programming arm. As head of B/R Studio, Brill is tasked with building a slate of mid- and long-form content aimed at Bleacher Report’s millennial and Gen Z-skewing audience. She [...]

  • Variety Tastemaker honoree Ayesha Curry

    Ayesha Curry's Impact Ranges From Family to Food to Philanthropy

    Ayesha Curry — wife, mother, restaurateur, author, executive producer and CoverGirl — literally does it all. Receiving Variety’s Inaugural Tastemaker award at the 2019 Napa Valley Film Festival, the entrepreneur is being recognized for her social impact in combining entertainment, philanthropy and her culinary lifestyle. Curry holds her cookbook — her first step toward a [...]

  • Joe Anthony Russo

    Russo Brothers Creating Marvel vs. DC Docu-Series for Quibi

    Anthony and Joseph Russo, who have been key creative members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are now bringing a new show to Quibi documenting the decades-long rivalry between Marvel and DC. Quibi, the mobile TV subscription startup founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, greenlit “Slugfest,” a documentary series executive produced by the Russo Brothers, whose directing credits [...]

  • Nobu Hotel Palo Alto

    High-Tech Flourishes Help Hotels Thrive in Silicon Valley

    To thrive in Silicon Valley, hotels must be up to par, technology-wise. “The Nobu brand marries the east and west to create something entirely new — it’s approachable luxury,” says Andrew Tilley, VP of hotel openings. Nobu Hotel Palo Alto (180 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, 650-666-3311, nobuhotels.com) is the latest retreat from chef Nobu Matsuhisa, [...]

  • sirius xm app on phone

    SiriusXM Starts Publishing Daily Videos From Dozens of Shows

    SiriusXM is doubling down on video: The satellite radio service officially announced a new initiative called SiriusXM Video Wednesday, with plans to publish daily videos from dozens of shows to paying subscribers. Some of the SiriusXM hosts you’ll be able to see more from include Kevin Hart, Jenny McCarthy, Joel Osteen, Karen Hunter and Jason [...]

  • Disney Plus user interface home screen

    Disney Says Disney Plus Has Over 10 Million Sign-Ups One Day After Launch

    Touting “extraordinary demand,” Disney announced that Disney Plus had signed up over 10 million users in just one day since launching early on Nov. 12. Analysts had projected Disney Plus would achieve upwards of 8 million subscribers by the end of 2019, helped by Verizon’s free one-year giveaway to unlimited wireless customers. While the 10 [...]

  • Streaming Wars

    Listen: Can the Internet Handle the Imminent Streaming Explosion?

    Cloud computing company Akamai hit a milestone last month when its content delivery network experienced volumes of data exceeding 100 terabytes per second for the first time ever. What was massive enough to clog the Internet’s pipes? The rollout of the second chapter of Fortnite, the video game world’s reigning sensation. But gaming-related software is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content