Yesterday's post on Amazon Studios has already become my all-time third most popular post, so clearly there's a lot of interest in the topic. Most curious of all is that there are absolutely no comments on this post. I get that there's a lot to digest there, so why not just start with this simple discussion point.
Do the changes in Amazon Studios make you:
1) make you more likely to submit a script?
2) make you less likely to sumbit a script?
3) have no impact on your prior opinion?
I'm going with #3. Had these been the terms of the program when they first emerged, I might have believed that this was a great opportunity. However, the initial conditions of the contest were so wrong-headed and betrayed such a naivete about the business, that I have no confidence in those running the program. I don't think the people at the top understand or respect the creative process. I think they displayed astounding arrogance, both in thinking their early policies were in any way appealing and later in taking so long to correct course long after the feedback was drastically negative.
The odds of any such program finding even one brilliant script are incredibly long. If you don't believe me, ask Trigger Street, which has been taking open submissions for years. The peer review process has yet to find a script that even made it into production, much less a success. Furthermore, even if Amazon Studios managed to find a single, or even two solid, well-written, commercial projects, it wouldn't "revolutionize the industry" as so many of its Kool-Aid drinkers believe.
At best, Amazon Studios would become a second tier avenue for projects, a mini-independent shingle. And frankly, I don't see them finding the material to make that viable, nor do I think their executives show signs of being anything other than dilettantes.
So that's why I'm going with #3. I grant that the contest terms are no longer the abomination they once were, but I have no faith in those steering the boat and I have no interest in putting even some of my dead ideas into their hands.
If you want to submit your scripts, be my guest. But don't delude yourself into thinking you're on the front lines of a film revolution. Even if you're the next F. Scott Frazier (four specs sold in two years), there aren't nearly enough GOOD undiscovered writers out there to give Amazon Studios the foothold it needs to remake the industry.
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