Putting the (computer) screen – into screenplay

Nov 19, 2010

Every aspiring movie writer knows the well-worn path to success: submit a script to the studio and pray for a green light. Sometimes, many deals and drafts later, the finished product finds its way to a theater near you. Now online retail giant aims to apply digital technology to the arcane process of pitching feature films with the launch of Amazon Studios. In their new, democratic model, writers can submit their scripts at no cost to the website and readers are invited to review, revise and rate their potential. The same goes for moviemakers, who can upload rough versions of their works-in-progress. Amazon promises to award a combined $2.7 million in prizes over the first year of the project; grand prize winners will be presented to a major studio for a chance at that elusive green light. Amazon Studios director Roy Price says the company hopes to foster unknown writers, creative collaborations and experimental material. Will turning movie-making into an “American Idol”-like contest make for better box office? Or, in the case of the creative process, is democracy overrated?

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