This is not an on line Video game where you can just badger the GM's into changing the game so you can win.
Amazon Studios' selling point to novice screenwriters is: someone capable of writing a check will read your script within 45 days. From a writer's perspective that is a real opportunity.
Writers have two choices:
1) Give Amazon free ideas, for which they might pay $33,000. If the film is produced they will pay 100,000 dollars only.
2) Submit a copyrighted full script - which if your proposal wins you will have to write anyway - and within 45 days someone competent may provide intelligent, thorough notes on how to perfect your own work, along with $10,000. If the film goes into production you will earn $200,000 straightaway and another $400,000 if it makes more than 60 million. If the film is not produced you can still sell your work elsewhere.
If you are confident in your writing the 45 day copyrighted original writer path is the way to go. Given the quality of this current script any alternative original script easily has just as much "shot at being made."
By choosing the 45 day option you could make an additional $100,000 to $500,000, retain rights to your unique ideas, and may receive notes from a professional who genuinely understands storytelling.
Road trips are a common genre - from Ice Age and Finding Nemo to Easy Rider and Thelma and Louise, the field is varied and wide open. Confused personalities, disguised characters, and deceptive identities have been the staple of comedies for millennia, from Sophocles to Shakespeare.
Be confident. This zany mess is unsalvageable. Go for the half million, submit an original script.
Ideas are not copyrightable and cannot legally be owned. They are not "yours" in any legal sense.
A.S. is WGA signatory and their system is in accordance with the Guild's practices, designed BY writers FOR the protection OF writers.
I suggest the O.P. (and really, everyone here) subscribe to the Craig Mazin/John August podcast and catch up on their back episodes. They do a good job of educating about how writing works in the film industry.
Because that's something that doesn't often happen in the real world of Hollywood. If you're so busy, work on your own material and hoof it outside Amazon.
Sam knows what he's talking about and Eric does not. That is all.
If you see a movie based upon my work you will understand why a writer would want to embed unique ideas in a copyrighted full script rather than pass them on for free to a "team of writers" in a proposal.
As Sam says, "Doing a rewrite is assumed to be just as much work as doing an original script." If that is the case why leave half a million on the table? The current script is 100% unprofitable - as the notes for it acknowledge (the notes by the way are the most intelligent writing on Amazon's site...their authorship ought to be attributed, I would like to know who their author was...it is worth submitting original work just to receive such feedback, hopefully.)
A month ago I sat down and tore through dialogue, rewriting as quickly as I could read - ruthlessly. It was easy, of course. The characters aren't cool, intelligent, witty or sophisticated. Clipping a few worthless distracting weird contrived scenes went well - until around page 40, when the urgency of finding Jessica was lost, and, of course, as others have mentioned, at page ~60 when suddenly ugly unworkable racist overtones came into play. Then I seriously questioned why I was helping some other person with such attitudes rewrite.
After having put in a few hours of work, I stopped writing and read the rest of the script straight through. To be frank I cannot remember what was in the script and what I must have dreamt in the meantime because it is such a convoluted bizarre disaster. "Zany" as the notes say. That is an understatement.
So, after wrapping my mind around a contemporary romantic comedy road trip based upon age old identity conflicts - the staple of Shakespearian comedy - I thought, why the hell not write - rather than rewrite - this entire script? Cliff can become a good writer. This is not personal, even what I sincerely still take to be insensitive racist overtones - which others have noticed - can be overcome. Cliff can be a good writer. I hope he becomes one. Our culture needs as many as possible.
But I looked a second time at the compensation differences between an original script and this rewrite "opportunity." It didn't make sense to share in a writer's proposal unique ideas for a script (which would eventually have to be written) without embedding them deeply in an original submission. They are very unique.
I am not "hard to work with" - well to a certain extent I hope we all are, with integrity - but, it is important to be clear, not to pull any punches, when writing a review or rewriting someone else's horrific ridiculous work. That's just the way it is.
I hope you will understand when, if, you see my ideas. That's as sincerely as I can state it. Good luck to all who submitted proposals.
If I could make a suggestion to Amazon...the last place crowd sourcing makes sense is in writing. It is difficult to imagine how Hamlet would have been improved by multiple writers. Crowd sourcing makes sense in the creation of trailers, pre-viz, and even in readings by actors who are characters in their own right, in real life, like Burbage ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Burbage ) ...it would be an honor and rare privilege to work with such people, even online. Assume you first have Hamlet in a rough draft though...orient the online workflow then to polishing and moving forward to filming. Preference has to be given to the original writer. Not a cheap 45 day guaranteed read for novices - like myself - but give consideration to how to attract and retain world class original authors. AS is phenomenally set up to build upon a vision but the original script cannot be crowd sourced. Most writers do not want to create trailers, sound tracks, pre-viz and so on - outsourcing that is the strength of an online studio. Original visions cannot be crowd sourced. Respect the writer. Compensate accordingly. As vain as it sounds, assume you are working with Shakespeare - what then? Enable their vision. AS is uniquely positioned to attract such talent.