Amazon.com has gone Hollywood.
Debuting yesterday, the new Amazon Studios is looking to make commercial motion pictures based on scripts and movies submitted by budding screenwriters and filmmakers.
Anyone with dreams to make it big in the big-screen business is invited to submit a full-length movie or script. Through both monthly and annual awards starting in 2011, Amazon plans to offer cash to the best submissions and develop the top projects as commercial movies through Warner Bros. or another Hollywood studio.
Filmmakers can upload their movies at the Amazon Studios Web site. Movies must be full-length--at least 70 minutes--and be based on an original idea or a script submitted to Amazon. They don't have to be full-scale, full-budget theatrical productions, so no expensive crane shots or Lucas-like special effects are required. Amazon Studios is currently showing five sample movies on its site to give people an idea of what they can submit.
Beyond competing for top awards, movies will be go through a public screening process whereby people can go online to view and comment on the work. Amazon is hoping these test screenings can help guide the development of the film and offer insights on its potential as a commercial release.
Writers can also submit scripts and then pitch their idea through a short video with the goal of generating buzz about their screenplays and convincing people to download and read them.
"We are excited to introduce writers, filmmakers, and movie lovers to Amazon Studios," Roy Price, director of digital product development for Amazon Studios, said in a statement. "Full-length test movies will show stories up on their feet and attract helpful feedback at an early stage. We hope that Amazon Studios will help filmmakers experiment and collaborate and we look forward to developing hit movies."
The winning scripts and movies will be chosen based on commercial viability, according to Amazon, and judged by a panel of people in the business, including Jack Epps Jr., producer of such films as "Top Gun" and "Dick Tracy"; Mark Gill, former head of Miramax; Mike Werb, screenwriter of "The Mask" and "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"; and Michael Taylor, producer of "Bottle Rocket" and "The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper."
Scripts and movies vying for the monthly awards must be submitted by the end of each month, starting with January. Those looking to compete in the annual competition must upload their work by December 31, 2011.