What are the chances these films will actually be distributed theatrically? I'm curious to know what everyone thinks on this site.
What characteristics would really have to stand for Warner Bros. to say..."Okay, that's the one! Green light it."
They have plenty more projects that are not from Amazon Studios. Don't you think it'd still take years just to even begin development on one of these scripts here on this site, given that they were actually chosen?
Do you think there's any chance of one of these scripts would be so good, Warner Bros. would have to let it cut in line to get made?
I don't feel the movie industry is reaching it's fullest potential in regards to a lot of things: Acting, writing, directing, etc, etc. Is Amazon leading the way for a new era? I hope so.
A Participant says:
Amazon has its own money for production, they're just associated with WB for their distribution. I believe WB is the biggest distributor in the industry; they control a lot of territories overseas. WB distribution is so big, several major studios have international distribution deals with WB.
Domestically, WB provides deals to roughly 30 production companies (not all the contracts are structured the same). WB probably distributes 2 to 3 films per month. So that's 24 to 36 films per year; therefore at least 1 film per prod. co. per year. And remember, this is based on each prod. co. contract.
If you're funding your own projects, you can make as many as you'd like, but if WB is funding the project, I would say 24 films per year.
That's great odds in any pro game.
If 24 films are made in year... that means roughly the 12 monthly winners and 12 wild cards.
This game still looks rosey to me :-)
Amazon Studios has the money or access to money to produce whatever they want. They also have the connections to get them distributed. That's why I'm here, they have the resources. But resources are useless without knowing what you want and most people don't know what they want until they see it.
I believe to get anything done you need a "champion" who knows what he or she wants(vision) and the will to make it happen. And that is always an individual not a committee. The question you have to ask yourself is that do you know what you want? Do you believe in that project enought to "champion" it come what may? Given resources your chances are better than anyone else if you do.
Part of the process of making a studio film is finding a champion for your project within the Executive Chain at the studio who will keep pushing your project ahead of others. That's part of why in-house projects fare better than ones brought from the outside: an Executive has a personal passion for a subject (or a financial obligation) and fights for it, despite its flaws.
I don't see the types of connections that Amazon currently has yeilding a big budget studio film. I do see the potential for Amazon to begin cultivating the relationships needed to become a player in the system, but I don't know that the folks at Amazon understand the social dynamics of how it works. It's not like retail or silicon valley politics, where you can discover a product, market it and turn a profit on sales and have any staying power. You have to cultivate relationships with creative and financial partners not simply by waving cash in their face (which they will gladly take, laughing at your gullibility as they deposit the check) but by embedding in the culture, developing projects and ultimately making movies. It's not about making widgets and making a profit. It's about stroking egos, appealing to vanity, promising art and making money all rolled into one. And it's a huge collaborative process...
... that can all fall apart overnight when the studio chief you were dealing with gets axed, or the star changes her mind or the script sucks or the marketing exec didn't get laid last night or the Creative Exec's mistress' psychic's live-in dog groomer didn't like your haircut.
I think Amazon Studio's best chance of becoming a force in the Entertainment Industry is to pick a small slate of projects that they can do for $15 million each, develop them, then put three into production (one comedy, one horror, one award-capable drama) with a name cast with solid Indie producers running them bankrolling it with established partners who have a financial incentive to guide it through the sales and marketing process.
Lionsgate would have been a better partner for AS than Warner's starting out but you can't explain that people outside the business who have more money than experience and want to jump into the deep end before learning how to swim.
As far as scripts here go, I don't know that anything they've championed so far is anywhere near ready to carry the banner of flagship project.
They shouldn't make Origin/Species, because it will be compared to Cujo... and badly.
They shouldn't make Ben Franklin because period is a hard sell. Period comedy is a harder sell.
Gladiators/Zombies is good for Syfy Channel, not your flagship product.
Original Soldiers is box office poison because it deals with old guys as the leads and I'm sorry, you can do that if you're gonna get Jack or Clint or Harrison or Tommy Lee Jones, but AS won't get them without spending more money than Amazon Studios should spend on the ENTIRE budget of their first film.
Touching Blue needs a page one rewrite with a pro writer before going any further. Also if that's the concept they like, they should look at and license a series of successful books by Stephen Woodworth called "Through Violet Eyes" that does this concept, does it better and would make a kick as franchise.
The Gideon's Law project isn't worth pursuing as anything but a money sink.
Ideas that are solid here and worth developing:
I Think my Facebook Friend is Dead. Comedy. Great concept. Script needs work but with the right level of raunch and good casting this can be done cheap and be a hit just because of the concept.
The Carpool. (I think that was the title). Drama. A group of women get together to drive up to visit their men in prison. This is the best Indie award-magnet idea I've heard in a long time. Put Alfre Woodard behind the wheel, Jennifer Hudson riding shotgun, Emma Stone in Back and get Oprah to endorse it and you're off to the Academy Awards.
Memory. Okay, so it will be compared to Memento, but it's a cool concept that could be done with style like Seven and really generate some buzz. But it needs a new title, a David Fincher-esque director and a hunky lead who looks good with his shirt off.
Children of Others. It has potential if it can tap into what made Rosemary's baby work, without feeling like all the other Alien/Devil got me pregnant movies.
Hollywood movies may not always hit on all cylinders, but I don't think Amazon Studios is going to reinvent the wheel. And if they try, I think they'll only discover what a money-suck filmmaking can be. Better to get their feet wet and just do it though than sit around and play the games they have been playing to date.
Just my 2 cents.
it's never going to happen, a major studio is not risking project money on New writers and artis, they never have in a big way every now and again it happens! here is the truth, there still is no News from Amazon Studio on what is to happen with their over blow contest, 2. not one film or script have been made into a movie from this sight has been relese to the cinema at this time! that's a fact...there are a lot of artis on this sight waiting for the door to open it has not happen yet !..even the few who won are not really working in the gut of the business they are winners with some cash that's all !!!!....the studios are not breaking the door down to get to them.... to me the process is beyond slow it's NOT MOVING AT ALL Iam almost 50.....better to express your true craft of who and what you are than to Waite in line and hopes to be discover,when in that truth it will never happen to the bulk of the wannbe's...Iam not looking to break in I gave that up long ago!! I could careless...Iam already were I need to be....enjoying my art/craft. R.G.
Would you be willing to give us your take on writing for TV (streaming video) as opposed to writing for films??
A Participant says:
David, I like your POV. I would increase it to $20 mil per flick and add a RomCom to the list. Also, I hope AS doesn't pay too much attention to a leads age; this can be misleading and bad for business. Clint and his Malpaso Productions have a deal with WB so Clint's availability would and could be in AS's favor. One of my scripts, THE GEEZER BANDIT, the lead is 65 and IMO the main story and subplot works well. So age shouldn't be a factor in no ones business making decisions...it's all about story and skills.
Anyway, I like reading your posts.
The age thing only applies to tent-pole, big studio projects. Some of the best films (and succcessful) have been made with older actors. I was simply addressing, studio-think.
Unforgiven, Oh God, Sunshine Boys, Space Cowboys, On Golden Pond, Driving Miss Daisy, Cocoon... there's a whole list of older-actor projects that have cross over appeal.
Geezer Bandit could easily fit into a niche and do well. Winter's Discontent is a fun script floating around town now that is generating buzz and it's a raunchy comedy set in a retirement home.
TV generally requires bringing in revenue through sources other than ticket sales. Whether that's through traditional markets like broadcast television where advertisers pay for broad exposure, cable markets where advertisers hit more focused demographics, pay cable where subscribers pay for exclusive content, streaming where advertisers pay on a per hit basis (or fixed fee) and On Demand, where subscribers pay for content choice and series serve as means to entice new business and retain customers.
If AS moves into the series market, presumably they'll target streaming/On Demand. This boils down to either owning their own pipeline and hoping to generate revenue through subscribers or individual point purchases or selling ads on a per-view basis.
Of these options, consumers are not going down the point of purchse sales route. Consider your own viewing habits: do you pay for TV shows on the web? Heck no. You want it free. You want it now.
So that leaves selling a series as exclusive content with an On Demand pipeline or advertising hits.
Now the big difference betwen TV and features is you need to retain an audience in TV. If they watch a one half hour segment and tune out for the rest of the run, you've wasted your money. Also, you need to provide the content in a manner that people want to spend money to see (or at least want to sit through commercials to see).
That means you need to advertise your product and make it a MUST SEE EVENT. HBO is very good at this. Showtime is very good at this. Hulu and Netflix suck at this. The name of the game here is hype. You can't just put a product out there and expect people to come. You have to advertise, spend money promoting, generate buzz.
And contrary to popular belief, the internet is not the best way to generate buzz for a TV show. Because the people who are onthe internet are not watching TV... they're surfing the internet.
So, how does that affect how Amazon should be approaching new media and how writers pitching to them should approach their projects?
Is this going to be EVENT programming (big budget, spectacle to gain viewers) or FILLER programming (low budget, niche material to retain viewers with self-generated content).
Event programming should be rare. Spend huge bucks, hire big names, advertise the crap out of it. And make a twelve episode season arc. Run time should be one hour. The budget should not exceed $5 million per hour of programing. $6 if you have a REALLY big name in it.
Filler programming should be cheap, compelling and... did I mention cheap? It should hit a target demo and generate around 24 episodes a season and cost no more then $200,000 a 1/2 episode for scripted, $100,000 for reality/documentary. Run time should be 30 minutes.
There's a market out there for four to six minutes web series. There's just no real money in it. Places like Crackle.com are making a go of it, but they need to crack the On Demand market to become revenue generators. And you can't do that with webisodes. You need audience commitment and subscriber/advertising dollars.
All in all, now is a magical time to be entering the On Demand content world. But there's going to be a lot of headaches, because the revenue models are not fully developed yet. But that will happen, and when it does those on the ground floor will do very well.
I do pay to view TV, $8.00 a month on Netflix and love it. But I also know they can't keep providing content at that amount. I really hate having ads break up TV shows. I would much rather weight until the DVDs get on Netflix and watch them there.
If on line folks wanted to read out to be they would charge a reasonable fee, not more than $15 a month, and do unintrusive advertising, say on the pages where you look for things to watch. That way advertisers can reach folks who are interested in the product, rather than get irate over messages shoved into your face.
Sounds to me like you have a pretty good look at what the future may hold in Net streaming. Nobody really knows what's going to happen of course. Cable will die out eventually unless they really lower their prices. But other than that the next few years are going to be an old west gold rush.
A good time for those interested saying something on film me thinks.
sorry for all the mistakes. guess i should either take a nap or start proofing my posts.
sorry for all the mistakes. guess i should either take a nap or start proofing my posts.
Thanks for the tip re: Violet Eyes - it looks interesting (though I'm happy that the ability the main character has in that book is different from my script).
Touching Blue is absolutely currently going through a page 1 rewrite - by me (with involvement by Amazon and my producer), though I like to think I can prove my chops by writing the hell out of the new take :-)
Yeah, I love my Netflix too. The biggest problem facing them is now that so many competitors are entering the fray, the price they have to pay for content is skyrocketing and their subscribers freak out when they try to raise their prices or shed the cost-death-suck of mailing out hard copies of the DVD's.
There's a great story about how a guy was sitting at a bar watching a bartender mix drinks. He watched the guy do a couple of splashes of Angostura bitters into a whole bunch of different drinks, then asked the guy to make him a drink with the two splashes, then with four. They tasted exactly the same. He got an idea, made a few calls and finally got a meeting with the folks who make Angostura. He told them he had an idea that would double their annual sales. If it worked, he wanted a piece of the profits. If it didn't he wouldn't ask for a dime. The execs went back and forth for weeks considering his proposal. Finally curiousity won out, they signed the papers and waited with baited breath for his idea.
The guy looked across the table and said simple, double the diameter of your hole. They did and their sales more than doubled within a year. The guy made a fortune.
I could tell Netflix (or Amazon) in one 15 minute seminar a simple fix to make the Netflix/Hulu model work. But I'm not pulling down a consultant fee here.
The point is, the Network Affiliate system that allowed broadcast TV to flourish for fity years if dead. The affiliate system is crippling the major Networks, but they're so lost in their old model they can't see how to get away from it (and quite frankly the contracts that hold them hostage would probably destroy them if they tried to change). The media giants have made significant strides moving into the cable venues, most notably ABC/Disney, but again, they face significant cost disadvantages compared to what Amazon could become if they understood the model they need to follow. Amazon does not understand the model, because of the fundamental world view they bring to table, specifically that of a retailer/reseller. It's a fundamental philosophical hurdle management needs to undertake if it is to succeed in an amazingly lucrative field.
The money is there, the market is there, the technology is there and the material is there.
They'll figure it out eventually. Till then, they can serve their martini's a splash short.
I also figured Neflix understood that people have a mindset of free when it comes to the Internet. Online publicans have faced this since day one of the Web. This is why I thought they set their online fee for streaming so low. I think their mistake was in how the tried to make the transition. And I was pretty sure all those folks cancelling would someday come back at that price. The trick will be to raise their fee with a lot of new services coming on line with low introductory fees.
The advantage Amazon has is an exposure base like no other thanks to all the customers who come to buy at Amazon. I think they really need a steady stream of original content, most of it low cost, that's entertaining enough to want to take their service. Amazon could do this using established pros, but also continuing through AS to develop their own talent which works only for them like the old studios.
Their usual lack of communication, and the dead zone AS has fallen into, make me doubt they can pull that off in the near future, however.
Wondering what you've been up to lately Scott, power on!
I like your response. Thanks, Tony!
Tony, we don't know how much money AS has access to. I suspect Bezos will make the decision on how much and how it's allocated.
The only way these ideas will get to AS's staff is if someone clicks the Report This button.