What is Amazon Studios?
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:
We have an open door for creators.
There are a lot of great ideas in Hollywood, but not everyone can be there or get their work into the right hands. Amazon Studios is open to ideas from around the world. We are proud to have recognized talented writers and filmmakers in the US, Canada, the UK, China, Zimbabwe, the Dominican Republic and other countries. Great ideas are out there.
We invite the audience in early.
Amazon Studios seeks feedback about projects and ideas, even in their earliest stages. And to reach the most people, we try to shape stories into a form that is short, or visual, or both. We will test premises, storyboards, posters, videos, test movies, pilots, promos, and other formats to see what people think. Scripts are critically important in development, but they are just not accessible to most audiences.
What is the "Development Slate" at Amazon Studios?
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.
What kind of movie projects does Amazon Studios want for its Development Slate?
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.
How do I start a movie project at Amazon Studios?
You can start a movie project at Amazon Studios one of two ways: upload an original full-length screenplay, or upload a 2- to 15-minute video.
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.
What kind of content is developed for Amazon Original Series?
How do you decide which pilots become Amazon Original Series?
Where can I see Amazon Original Series?
What kind of series does Amazon Studios want for its Development Slate?
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.
How do I start a series project at Amazon Studios?
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.
Can I privately submit a script, video, or series idea for evaluation at Amazon Studios?
Yes, you may submit your script, video, or series idea for private evaluation by Amazon Studios. 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.
What is the 45-day option and evaluation period?
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.
Can I remove my Amazon Studios project?
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.
What are Notable Projects?
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.
How do I submit works I created with a partner or partners?
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.
I love movies and TV, but I'm not a screenwriter or filmmaker. Can I be a part of what Amazon Studios is doing?
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.
Is Amazon Studios really going to get theatrical movies produced?
Amazon Studios makes money by getting movies made, so while we can't guarantee it, our goal is to produce movies for theatrical release. Through the Development Slate, we invest in testing and improving stories that we hope will make successful Hollywood movies.
If Amazon Studios produces my series, what role will I have in the production?
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.
How do rights work in the Amazon Studios Development Agreement?
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:
The exclusive right to buy it (and its associated rights) during the 45-day term of the option, for $200,000 if it is a movie script or video and for $55,000 if it is a script for an episodic series, plus other possible bonuses. The 45-day option and evaluation period restarts each time you submit a revision to the project, even if the initial 45-day period has ended. We can also extend this option for two additional 18-month periods by paying you $10,000 for each extension. If we extend the option, we will receive all of the rights we receive for properties submitted for public review, as described below.
The right to evaluate it during the option term (without sharing it outside of Amazon Studios and its subcontractors).
The right to include the title and premise of it in a game on or off Amazon Studios that is intended to solicit audience feedback, like the "Premise War" game currently at Amazon Studios.
And with respect to your work, you keep the right to continue to revise it until we exercise the option (if we exercise the option).
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:
The exclusive right to buy it (and its associated rights) during the 45-day term of the option, for $200,000 if it is a movie script or video and for $55,000 if it is a script for an episodic series, plus other possible bonuses. The 45-day option and evaluation period restarts each time anyone submits a revision to the project, even if the initial 45-day period has ended. We can also extend the option for two additional 18-month periods by paying you $10,000 for each extension.
The right to develop it and make it available for community development (for instance by putting it up at Amazon Studios and inviting people to review it, by making test movies based on it, by showing it to test audiences for feedback, by making and distributing comic books based on it for no charge, and by revising it), until you exercise your right to remove it from the site using a tool we provide you to do so, which you will not be able to do until after our option period ends.
The right to show and distribute it (and scripts and test movies based on it) until you remove it from the site using a tool we provide you to do so (which you will not be able to do during our option period). We do not have the right to charge for showing it or movies based on it, but we can keep it up on our website and otherwise distribute it without exercising our option. During this period we can also include video content based on it in ad-supported and subscription-based video on demand services, such as Amazon Prime Instant Video, and, as long as we do not charge a fee for the rental or sale, in a la carte rental or sell through video on demand services.
The right to include the title and premise of it in a game on or off Amazon Studios that is intended to solicit audience feedback, like the "Premise War" game currently at Amazon Studios.
The right to make and distribute trailers based on it, up to 10 minutes in length, forever.
And you keep these things with respect to your work:
The same rights that you would keep if you submitted your work for private evaluation (see above).
Unless and until we exercise the option, the right to make a video trailer or "pitch" video of your work, up to 6 minutes in length, and to distribute it until we ask you to stop, as long as you provide a link back to Amazon Studios wherever you display it.
Unless and until we exercise the option, the right to enter your work into contests and festivals, as long as you do not to give up any rights in your work that you are granting to us.
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.
What's the best way to collaborate on a project that I like?
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.
What if someone wants to collaborate on my project?
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.
Is there a way for me to prevent an extension of the initial option on my original script or series idea?
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.
What should I do if someone has copied my work?
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.
Can I "mash-up" pieces from multiple projects, like an interesting character from one and a specific plot element from another?
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.
Can Amazon Studios help me get an agent/manager?
Success at Amazon Studios has helped talented writers and filmmakers get the attention of the Hollywood community.
What can I do to protect my rights under copyright in my original, uploaded script or video content?
Do I have to pay to participate?
No. There is no charge to participate at Amazon Studios.
Can I revise my work?
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.
Who else can revise my work?
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.
Why does Amazon retain the right to revise my script or video?
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.
Can approved revisions later be vetoed?
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.
I've entered my work in a contest. Can I submit it to Amazon Studios? And can I enter my work into contests and festivals after I've submitted it to Amazon Studios?
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's contest rules, but from our point of view you can enter your original work into 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 a 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.
Can I upload my series if I already uploaded an episode or episodes to another website?
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.
Can I put the video I've submitted to Amazon Studios on other websites?
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.
What if I'm a member of the WGA?
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. 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.
How can I be involved if I am under 18?
Some laws do not allow minors to sign binding agreements, and to make movies and series we need binding agreements. Therefore, minors cannot create accounts at Amazon Studios, which means they cannot submit projects, 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 them to participate at Amazon Studios in the future.
Can I or should I upload a script, video, or series idea that is not in English?
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. To get the complete details, please read the agreement.
Where can I see my project’s option status?
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.
What is Evaluation Tracker?
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.
What do the steps in Evaluation Tracker mean?
This means we got your submission.
This means that your submission is in our queue for evaluation.
This means that someone on our team is currently evaluating your submission. This could be one of our experienced, trained analysts, a development executive, or even our studio head.
This means we're deciding if we want to extend the option on your submission and add your project to our Development Slate.
This means that we've completed our evaluation of your submission, and you'll receive an email from us within 48 hours of the end of your project's option period. (For more information on your project's option period, see this FAQ topic.
What types of submissions does Evaluation Tracker appear on?
We currently show Evaluation Tracker on scripts and videos (for movies), pilot scripts (for comedy series), and mini-bibles (for children’s series).
One of my scripts has been “queued” for 5 days, but another one was only queued for a day. Does that mean that one has better prospects than the other?
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.