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Amazon Studios launches free storyboarding tool

The online store's film and TV arm introduces Storyteller, a program that will scan a script, populate it with characters and backgrounds, and let users comment on the end results.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
Amazon's Storyteller program updates the process of storyboarding a script. Screenshot by Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Only a handful of the thousands of scripts plugged into Amazon Studios have gotten picked up, but the company has set up a program that could help breathe a little more life into the stories.

Amazon Studios, the "Hollywood" division of the online shopping giant, launched a free online tool Friday that will let aspiring film and television makers create storyboards for scripts, complete with characters and dialogue that can then be shared with others for feedback.

"Storyteller provides a digital backlot, acting troupe, prop department and assistant editor," Roy Price, the director of Amazon Studios, said in a statement.

Amazon Studios has seen 14,000 movie scripts and 4,000 series pilot scripts submitted in the two and and a half years since it launched. Storyteller scans those scripts, or will import one of your own, and identifies scene descriptions and possible "cast members" from a library of characters, props and backgrounds.

Once completed, the storyboard can be published on Amazon Studios where other users can comment on the project.

Currently, 25 movies from Amazon Studios are on the development slate and in the processes of being tested with audiences.

Last week, Amazon Studios greenlit its first original programs that will premiere exclusively on Prime Instant Video, a bid to contend with Netflix's recent original programing push.

This old-school pencil storyboard was created by Jan Pinkava to map out Pixar's "Geri's Game" short. Daniel Terdiman/CNET