Amazon Studios is developing feature films and episodic series in a new way, one that's open to great ideas from creators—and audiences—around the world. There are two distinctive characteristics of our process:
Our goal at Amazon Studios is to make theatrical motion pictures and episodic series from great stories. The Development Slate is a roster of promising projects we're actively developing to make into a movie or series. (See our current Development Slate for movies and series). The Amazon Studios development staff determines the projects to add to the Development Slate.
We have extended or exercised our option on these projects, and our development staff may work with the original writer to develop the script. For some projects we may also carry out audience tests. Based on the results, we will determine which projects to move forward.
We're looking for great stories well told. Stories of any genre could be successful movies—artistically, commercially or both. They should have roles that could attract talented actors, and enough story appeal and visual possibilities to entice an experienced director.
You can start a movie project at Amazon Studios one of two ways:
Whether you start a project with a script or a video, it must be wholly new to Amazon Studios and free of any elements from scripts and videos already at Amazon Studios. We call these original properties.
You can submit your movie project publicly on the site, or choose to upload it for private evaluation. Both private and public movie projects are evaluated by our development staff.
We want compelling new voices, characters that you can't find anywhere else and shows that have the potential to become hits. Specifically, we're seeking primetime comedy series for adults, as well as series for children between the ages of 2-14. We are not looking for sketch, reality or talk shows.
Generally speaking, we like character-driven ideas in well-defined worlds. We want comedies that are smart, original, loud in concept and most of all, funny; think Archer or Curb Your Enthusiasm. For live-action, we prefer shows with some level of serialization. All scripts should be within the normal television standards for content and language.
Children's series can be live action, animated, stop motion or mixed media. We are interested in preschool series for children ages 2-5 like Blue's Clues, Curious George and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Preschool series must have an educational theme or clear potential for one. We are also interested in ideas for children and tweens between the ages of 6-14 such as Phineas and Ferb or iCarly.
You can start a new series project at Amazon Studios by uploading a pilot script and/or a mini-bible that is wholly new to Amazon Studios and free of any elements from series ideas already at Amazon Studios.
For primetime comedy, you must submit a 22-minute pilot script that shows the series at its best. Your pilot script does not necessarily have to be an origin story that describes how the situation of the show began. A mini-bible describing your vision of the series is not required, but you're welcome to submit one if you have it.
For children's series, you must submit a mini-bible of between two and six pages explaining your vision for the series. A great mini-bible describes the main characters and the show in general; illuminates the world in which the series takes place; tells where the show is going and whether episodes are serial or standalone; and includes five or six episode ideas. If you have a script (11 minutes or 22 minutes) or video (such as a storyboard, animation test, or a pilot) you are encouraged to upload that as well, but it is not required.
Project creators must have full rights to the series idea and identify all individuals involved (e.g., writer and character designer) at the time of upload.
You can submit your series publicly on the site in order to start a project, or choose to upload it for private evaluation. Either way, it will be evaluated by our development staff.
Yes, you may submit your script, video, or series idea for private evaluation by Amazon Studios. After clicking "Start a New Project" you will be offered the choice of submitting your project privately or publicly.
If you submit your script, video, or series idea for private evaluation, only Amazon Studios staff will be able to access that project for evaluation. Your project won't be publicly displayed at Amazon Studios, but its title and premise may be included in a game on or off Amazon Studios that is intended to solicit audience feedback, like Premise War. Your privately submitted project will only become public at Amazon Studios if we pay you to extend or exercise our option, or if you choose to make it public.
When you submit your movie or series project to Amazon Studios, you grant us a 45-day option and evaluation period. We use this 45-day period to evaluate your submission and consider whether to extend our option and add your project to our Development Slate. If you add work to your project, or approve a collaborator?s request to add work to your project, your 45-day option and evaluation period will restart for that project.
See the FAQ "How do rights work under the Amazon Studios Development Agreement" for more information about the rights you grant us during this period.
Yes, you are able to remove your project using the 'Remove project' button on your project page after your complete submission has been on the site for more than 45 days, provided that Amazon Studios has not exercised our option to buy your project or paid you to extend our option within that time period. Note that the 45-day option and evaluation period (during which you cannot remove your script) restarts when you or, in the case of publicly-submitted projects, when anyone, submits a revision, even if the initial 45 day option period has already ended.
If you submitted your project for public review at Amazon Studios, when you remove your project, the project page will be taken down, and the project will no longer be displayed to visitors of Amazon Studios. Though we discourage "mash-ups" of pieces from multiple projects (see our FAQ about "mash-ups"), because Amazon Studios is a community development platform, we cannot guarantee that elements of your project will not have been incorporated into other projects on Amazon Studios that remain on the site after yours is removed. (In another FAQ, we describe what you can do if you believe that your work has been copied). Also, after you remove your project, Amazon Studios may still make and distribute video clips of your project up to 10 minutes in length. We expect that Amazon Studios will help your project grow and improve, and we want to be able to show other visitors what Amazon Studios has helped you accomplish. See the FAQ "How do rights work under the Amazon Studios Development Agreement" for additional information.
If you submitted your project for private evaluation at Amazon Studios, when you remove your project, you will no longer be able to access it on the Amazon Studios site.
See the Help topic Removing a project for more details about removing your project.
Notable Movie Projects and Notable Series Projects have been identified by our development staff as having potential, but don't match the current needs of our Development Slate. We believe Notable Projects have the ingredients to be successful and we encourage their writers to consider reactions from audiences, get feedback from other writers, or collaborate with a partner to make their work even stronger.
When you upload certain content (like a script or series idea), you may be asked to identify any co-creators of the content. If you are asked to identify co-creators, all co-creators must have an Amazon Studios account, must agree to submit the content to Amazon Studios, and must agree to the terms of the Development Agreement.
In order to start a project with a video, or contribute video content (like a video or series promo) you created with partners, you must get everyone else who worked on the video to assign to you any rights they may have to the video before you upload it. We don't have a mechanism for co-ownership of videos. See the Help page Submitting video content for more details and forms you can use.
If you want to be considered for a paid opportunity, we'll need to know about your ideas for the assignment and the skills you have to pull off your plans. Details for each paid opportunity, including specifics about what to include in your proposal and deadlines, will be spelled out on the Amazon Studios Opportunities page.
The Amazon Studios site is not a signatory to any agreement with a collective bargaining organization, including the Writers Guild of America Minimum Basic Agreement. If you are a WGA member, we encourage you to have your agent contact our Los Angeles-based production company, Amazon Studios, Inc., in order to apply for paid writing assignments.
Yes. Feedback is crucial to the Amazon Studios process. We hope you will rate videos, watch test movies, watch pilots, write reviews and make comments in the project forums. Your insights can be very valuable and influence the movies and series we create.
Amazon Studios makes money by getting movies made, so while we can't guarantee it, our goal is to produce movies for theatrical release. To that end, we have established a first-look deal with Warner Bros., the biggest movie studio in Hollywood. Through the Development Slate, we invest in testing and improving stories that we hope will make successful Hollywood movies.
Your role will be determined over the course of development and at the time of production. Amazon Studios has an open door, so this is difficult to specify in advance as creators may have different skills and experience levels.
The open directing assignments for test movies and pilots are used to garner feedback in the development process. It is unlikely that any of the work would appear in the subsequent theatrical feature film or produced pilot. We do hope that these open directing assignments will help us discover new talent, and give them a place to demonstrate their skills.
The Amazon Studios Development Agreement is a contract that governs your and Amazon Studios' rights to the works you upload. If you want to upload a script or video to Amazon Studios, you'll want to make sure you read and understand it first. If you are comfortable with it, agree to it. If you're not comfortable with it or if you're not sure you understand it, we would not want you to agree to it. This FAQ (and a synopsis of the Development Agreement) is intended to be a helpful summary of major points in the Agreement but is not intended to replace reading the Agreement; remember that, if the FAQ or the synopsis are unclear or seem to vary from the Agreement, the Agreement is the actual contract.
The rights rules vary depending on whether you upload an original property, like a wholly original script or video, or upload a revision, like a new draft of a script, a video based on a script, or a script based on an original video. For original properties, the rights rules also vary depending on whether you submit your original property for public review or private evaluation.
Original Properties Submitted for Private Evaluation
If you upload an original script or video for private evaluation, Amazon Studios gets three important things with respect to your work:
And you keep these things with respect to your work:
Original Properties Submitted for Public Review
If you upload an original script or video for public review (thereby starting a new project), Amazon Studios gets five important things with respect to your work:
And you keep these things with respect to your work:
So after you submit a project for public or private evaluation at Amazon Studios, you can continue to do the things described above as rights that you keep, but you cannot otherwise display, sell or license your script elsewhere, or withdraw it for any reason during our option term. However, when the option term ends, if we haven't exercised our option and purchased your work, you will get back the rights to your original material.
If you revise your own script or video with original material, the rights to your original revisions are considered part of your original script or video and the rights in the original revisions go with the rights in the original script or video. Your contribution of the revision will also cause our 45-day option period on your original script or video to restart, even if the initial 45-day option period has ended.
If you revise someone else's script or video, or create content based on an Amazon Studios project you didn't initiate, you assign all rights to the script or video to us forever. You won't be entitled to option payments or other fees. The reason for the difference between the rights for original scripts and video and the rights for revisions is that there is only one original script or video for each project at Amazon Studios, but there's no limit to the number of revisions for each Project. It would just be too complicated to make films from projects if rights were divided up between contributors of revisions.
When you remove your work from Amazon Studios, if we haven't exercised our option, we give you the right to use revisions to your work that were contributed to Amazon Studios by other users, but only to the extent those rights belong to us, and only for use in developing and distributing your original work. If you sublicense the rights to your property to anyone else, you must tell them how you got those rights (e.g., without any guarantee from Amazon Studios).
We have prepared a synopsis showing what you give and what you get depending on what you upload and whether you submit publicly or privately, which you can see on the Development Agreement page.
Start by contacting the original writer on the project, via StudioMail. It may be helpful to compare notes. You should also confirm the writer's plans for keeping their work publicly available on the site, so you are not creating a revision, video, or promo for a project that may be removed unexpectedly.
Projects on the Development Slate may be closed to collaborative revision (though they may have paid assignments available instead).
One benefit of a publicly available project at Amazon Studios is the chance to discover creative voices that share or expand on your vision. If you are contacted by someone who is interested in contributing a script or video to your movie or series project, we encourage you to share your plans for the project. If you do not intend to keep your project on the site beyond the 45-day option and evaluation period, you should let them know. On the other hand, if you expect to keep your project publicly available at Amazon Studios, collaboration can be a great way to improve your work, and all substantial revisions will be considered again for the Development Slate.
Because you get to approve or deny all collaboration requests, you control who can contribute new work to your project. Keep in mind that any new work added to your project will cause our 45-day option and evaluation period to restart, regardless of whether that work is contributed by your or someone else. Please see our FAQ "Who else can revise my work?" for additional information.
No. If you created a project with an original script, video, or series idea, you not only granted Amazon Studios the exclusive option to your script, video, or series idea for 45 days, but also the right to extend that option for two additional 18-month periods by paying you $10,000 for each extension. You cannot decline the extensions, even by refusing payment.
If you contribute an original script, video, or series idea to Amazon Studios and you see that someone has directly copied it (by copying text verbatim or lifting footage) and contributed it as an original script, video, or series idea on Amazon Studios, or used it in another project, please let us know (by clicking "Contact us" on the bottom of most pages) and we'll determine appropriate action. However, Amazon Studios is an open development platform and it's inevitable that there will be similarities between scripts, series ideas and video content. You should not report mere similarities.
If you believe that a project on Amazon Studios has copied your work from outside of Amazon Studios in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please contact Amazon Studio's copyright agent as specified in the Conditions of Use.
No. As intriguing as mash-ups may be, the rights issues just become too complicated for us to accommodate at Amazon Studios at this time. Whatever you add to a project should include only elements already in that specific project, plus your own original contributions.
Success at Amazon Studios has helped talented writers and filmmakers get the attention of the Hollywood community.
No. There is no charge to participate at Amazon Studios.
Yes. Script drafts or video revisions don't replace each other; they just exist simultaneously on the site. This is not like a screenplay competition or film festival, where you submit your work once and then you're done. We believe that feedback and revisions can make your project better, and encourage you to revise your work as much as you want.
If you have submitted your project for public review, you have control over which Amazon Studios participants can contribute to your project.
When you upload an original movie script or video for public review, you can choose whether to allow anyone to add scripts or videos to your project on a per-request basis.
When you upload an original idea for an episodic series for public review, you can choose whether to allow other Amazon Studios participants to add pilot scripts, mini-bibles, promos, or pilot videos to your project on a per-request basis.
Here's how it works:An Amazon Studios participant who has received your permission can add a revision (like a script or video) to your project. You may not revoke approval once it is given.
Remember that new work by other participants does not replace your existing material; it will simply be additional material in your project.
If your project is added to the Development Slate, Amazon Studios will manage any revisions to your work.
Collaboration permissions do not limit other changes to your project permitted under the Development Agreement (like revisions to your script we may make through open writing assignments) or otherwise affect the rights that you grant us in your Original Property under the Development Agreement.
We need the ability to explore your project's potential, and this may involve, among other things, making storyboards, creating audio tracks, making test movies, making pilots, or even rewriting or hiring other writers to rewrite your script. Any studio interested in making your script or video into a movie or series will need to do the same.
Project collaboration permissions let creators approve or deny individual requests from other Amazon Studios participants to add work to their movie or series project. However, once approval to submit a revision has been given, the project creator may not revoke that approval.
Yes, Amazon Studios will accept work that has been in festivals and contests as long as you still retain 100% of the rights in your work. We can't speak to anyone else's contest rules, but from our point of view you can enter your original work into other festivals or contests after you upload it at Amazon Studios so long as you do not give up any rights that conflict with the rights you grant to us under the Development Agreement. For instance, during the option period, you give us the exclusive right to distribute your original work online. If another contest requires that you grant someone else the right to distribute your original work online during the option period, you may not enter that contest.
In most cases, yes. The important thing is that you have all the rights to the series idea so that you can enter into the option agreement.
In most cases, the work for a paid assignment involves an underlying story property that you do not own and thus cannot use elsewhere. In practice this will limit what you can reuse from your proposal. However, if you introduce an element that is wholly original to you—like a new character Giza, the talking robot Egyptian cat—you may reuse that element in your own work so long as you don't use other material from the Amazon Studios project.
No. During the 45-day option and evaluation period, it's important that people view your video at Amazon Studios so they can leave feedback. We encourage you to post links to your video on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you like.
If you are a WGA member, we encourage you to have your agent directly contact our Los Angeles-based production company, Amazon Studios, Inc., in order to submit your original script or to apply for paid writing assignments. Amazon Studios, Inc., is a signatory to the Writers Guild of America Minimum Basic Agreement. However, the Amazon Studios website is run separately, and work submitted by writers to the website is not covered by the WGA.
Some laws do not allow minors to sign binding agreements, and to make movies we need binding agreements. Therefore, minors cannot create accounts at Amazon Studios, which means they cannot upload content, write reviews or participate in discussion forums. We know there are a lot of young, talented people out there, and we hope to figure out a way to allow you to participate at Amazon Studios in the future.
The common language for the Amazon Studios development staff is English. So unless your script, video, or series idea has English description and dialogue (or the text for English subtitles to non-English dialogue) throughout, it will not be evaluated for the Development Slate.
Note: Above we discuss and summarize parts of the Amazon Studios Development Agreement and the Contest Terms and Procedures. To get the complete details, please read the agreements. They can be found here:
Amazon Storyteller is a new application from Amazon Studios that lets you turn a movie script into a storyboard. You choose the backgrounds, characters, and props to visually tell a story. A successful storyboard can tell the full story of a script, or capture its essence in short form, like a trailer. Either approach can be a great way to build an audience for your story and see how people respond to it.
Amazon Storyteller is brand new, and is limited in the kinds of scripts it can visualize. For example, we don’t have robots and spaceships, but maybe we should. We need help from storytellers like you to make it better. During the Beta period, we’ll regularly ask for feedback on how Amazon Storyteller works for you, and ensure it delivers an even better experience in future releases.
That’s really up to you. You can visualize an entire screenplay scene-by-scene, or you can make a trailer-length storyboard that conveys the basic story in highlights. Whether you create 10 panels or 100, you can choose how best to visualize your story.
Visit any movie project that has an RTF version of the script. Near the top of the project page, there’s a button that reads “Create storyboard”. Click it to launch Amazon Storyteller.
This is because the script(s) in that project are not in RTF format. If it’s your project, you’ll need to upload an RTF version. If someone else created the project, you can contact the project owner via StudioMail and request that they upload an RTF version of the script.
Yes. Amazon Storyteller only works with scripts that are available on Amazon Studios. It works with scripts that are public or private, though only project creators can create storyboards for private scripts.
Anyone can create a storyboard with Amazon Storyteller for a public script on Amazon Studios (as long as it contains an RTF). However, you will need the project owner’s approval to publish the storyboard. You may consider reaching out to the project owner via StudioMail before you begin so that they know you’re interested in developing a storyboard.
The Amazon Storyteller library of backgrounds, characters, and props currently works best with contemporary dramas or romantic comedies. You can also upload custom backgrounds of your own. We’re working to add backgrounds, characters and props that will help Storyteller better visualize other time periods and genres.
Amazon Storyteller is free to use for anyone on Amazon Studios.
Yes. When an Amazon Storyteller storyboard is added to your project, by you or a collaborator, the exclusive option you granted Amazon Studios on the script the storyboard is based on will be automatically extended for 45 days. This gives our creative development team adequate time to review your work.
However, if you’re just working on the storyboard and haven’t published it, no option is granted.
To learn more about Permissions and how to control what gets added to your project, see this FAQ topic.
You resume an Amazon Storyteller storyboard the same way you started it. On the project page, under the "Create storyboard" button, there's a link showing how many storyboards you have in progress for that project. Click it to see a list of your in-progress storyboards, then click "Resume" to launch Storyteller.
You can also see all your in-progress storyboards in the "My Work in Progress" area of Your Studio.
At this time, you’re the only one who can see a storyboard that you are creating until it’s published.
Amazon Storyteller storyboards are currently only available on Amazon Studios.
Amazon Storyteller storyboards live on Amazon Studios, but you can share the link to a completed storyboard on Facebook or Twitter from the last page of the storyboard viewer.
Only you can see your in-progress storyboards.
If you are creating a storyboard for a project that you don’t own, you will need to get the project owner’s permission before you publish the storyboard. Follow the instructions on the publish screen to request permission. You may consider reaching out to the project owner via StudioMail before you begin so that they know you’re interested in developing a storyboard.
If a project has been removed from the site, you will no longer be able to publish an Amazon Storyteller storyboard to that project.
Storyboards created with Amazon Storyteller can be viewed with the Amazon Studios storyboard player from your project page (if your project is public). Our storyboard player lets viewers rate and leave comments on each panel. Initially, Amazon Studios will use that data to help better understand audience reaction to Storyteller storyboards posted on the site. We hope it will evolve into a tool we can use to identify great stories and improve projects we’re developing.
Comments and ratings submitted in the storyboard player can only be viewed by Amazon Studios.
We would love to hear what you think about this brand-new application. Send us feedback about your experience with Amazon Storyteller at any time by clicking "Contact Us" at the bottom of most Amazon Studios pages.
We’re using a survey to collect feedback from beta users to help us improve Amazon Storyteller. After you finish your first 5 panels in Amazon Storyteller, a link to take the survey will appear on the screen. This survey will help Amazon Studios learn what you like about Amazon Storyteller and where we need to improve.
Make sure you’re signed in to Amazon Studios. At the top of your project page, under the project’s title, is the project’s option status. If the project is within its 45-day option and evaluation period, you’ll see what date that option is set to expire.
Only the project owner and any co-creators can see a project’s option status.
We appreciate the opportunity to consider all the work submitted to Amazon Studios, and each submission goes through an evaluation process. Evaluation Tracker shows the status of certain types of submissions as they go through this process.
The person who uploaded a submission can see Evaluation Tracker for that submission. Additionally, a project owner can see Evaluation Tracker for all work in that project, even if it was submitted by someone else.
We currently show Evaluation Tracker on scripts and videos (for movies), pilot scripts (for comedy series), and mini-bibles (for children’s series).
Not at all. We carefully evaluate all materials submitted to Amazon Studios within their 45-day option and evaluation period, but the exact timing of when a script is read (or video is watched) depends on the amount of material in our evaluation queue.
Though scripts are critically important in development, they are not accessible to most audiences. To get broad-based feedback on ideas, we try to get the stories into a form that is either short, or visual, or both.
We will test premises, posters, trailers, storyboards, pilots, promos, comic books, and other formats to see what people think. We will also create test movies, which are inexpensive videos that tell the whole story of a script in a compelling way.
The key, no matter what techniques are used, is to help an audience imagine what a story would be like as a finished film or show. Is it something people want to see? What would they change if they could?
Can't draw? No problem. With Amazon Storyteller, anyone can turn a screenplay into a storyboard.
This new (and free) tool "reads" a script and selects characters, backgrounds, and shots. Then you turn it into the perfect panel, create more panels, and share your storyboard with the world.