Last year Amazon created a project called Amazon Studios seeking the newest greatest unknown screenplay promising (with the usual industry caveats) to turn it into a film. I have to admit, both I and DL Thurston looked on this with some skepticism.
Granted, I’ve seen crowd-sourcing do some amazing things but make a film? They got some initial heat for that and in the next updates allowed for the “locking” of scripts so a writer’s original intent could be retained. But overall, the reviews tended to vacillate between hopeful wonder to skepticism to outrage.
But from a recent article, it looks like our cynicism may be unfounded, or at least premature. Producers Denise Di Novi (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”), Bill Gerber (“Gran Torino”) and Academy Award winner Edward Saxon (“Silence of the Lambs”) have signed on to produce scripts from Amazon Studios. All have solid film resumes. This would give credibility to the Amazon Studios projects.
I can’t quite speak for the model yet and am given to understand there’s still some general community concern about writer’s rights surrounding the work. But having “big name” producers attached certainly draws my attention.
Also, another reason for my reconsideration was that I recognized one of the scripts, or rather the script writer. Touching Blue was put forward by Scott Mullen. I know him better as “Scott the Reader” ( and yes, I’m embarrassed to say that IS how I refer to him in conversations). But I digress. I’ve followed his blog of being an aspiring screenwriter – Alligators in a Helicopter – for years. It is great seeing someone you “know” get some well-deserved attention for their writing.
Also as a note, Scott the Reader (which is also what he does professionally, as well as being a writer), offers $60 Notes. Send him your screenplay and he’ll get back to you a 3-4 page breakdown. Although I haven’t personally availed myself of this generous offer (and if you explore other folks doing the same thing you’ll see exactly how generous it is), his breakdown of films on his blog and eye for structure and flow there makes me think it not just generous, but valuable.
So, in short, it’s exciting to see how Amazon Studios is proceeding and wishing the best to Scott Mullen.
More information available here:
John August and Craig Mazin Critique the Amazon Studios Venture
Two prominent screenwriters point out the flaws in Amazon’s effort to develop movie material with crowd-sourcing