What You Need to Know Before Submitting Your Comedy Series Project

Get your primetime comedy series made. Amazon Studios is developing new original series for Amazon Prime Instant Video. If we choose to develop your series, you will get $10,000, plus another $55,000 if your show gets produced (along with potential writing fees, royalties and bonuses).

Before you submit, take a closer look at what we’re looking for.

Overview: We are seeking smart, cinematic, serialized series for adults. They can be dark comedies, genre comedies, dramedies or smart sophisticated comedies as long as the concepts and characters are original. Think high budget, premium shows that that you might see on pay cable.

Format: Series with half-hour episodes. Live-action single cam is preferred, but we are open to animation or multi-cam (although we’d want a fresh take on the format).

We like ideas in specific worlds. We’re open to anything, but all of our shows need to be grounded in specific, well-defined worlds. These should be worlds that audiences haven’t seen before, that they’ll want to see on TV and, most importantly, tell their friends to watch. So a bunch of underemployed twenty-somethings in an overly nice apartment is most likely not specific enough and therefore not right for us. For examples of worlds, note that Alpha House is set in the world of politics, Mozart in the Jungle in classical music and Transparent is set in the worlds of family and sexuality.

The most important thing is that the audience should feel like they’re watching something they can’t see anywhere else and that the writing is funny, smart and compelling.

What are some examples? Watch the pilot episodes for free from our current slate of comedy series: Alpha House, Mozart in the Jungle, and Transparent.

What don’t you want? No reality shows, game shows or sketch comedies.

You can learn more about the details of the Amazon Studios series submission process here or start a new project.

The Songs of “Spellbound”: Q&A with Producer Kevin Bannerman

imageSpellbound, the animated test movie from Amazon Studios features five original songs. We asked producer Kevin Bannerman (Anastasia, Ice Age) about the role the songs played and how they shaped the film.

How do songs help shape a movie?

It helps shape the movie’s tone. They can often show screenwriters a side of the character that hasn’t been explored. With a lyricist, the characters can develop a sense of humor and personality through their songs.

What song is the most pivotal in the movie?

Each song is unique in its own way because each individual song has its own special reason for being. “New Breeze Blowing” is important because it takes the relationship between Lottie and Bastien to new heights (pun intended). But “The Road to Riches” is just as important for several reasons: it gives us an insight into Horace, it allows Lottie and Horace to have some fun at Bastien’s expense, and it shows Bastien slowly developing a relationship with Lottie and Horace.

What you don’t want are songs that feel superfluous, repeating information the audience knows or just being funny without moving the story forward.

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Behind the Scenes: The Character Designs of “Spellbound”

In the world of animation design, it’s typical to go through multiple iterations of a character before landing on the right look. Every aspect of a character’s design is important - the clothes, the posture, the eyes, and even the facial expression tells you who a character is in one look.  

In the early versions of new Amazon Studios test movie, Spellbound, Bastien started out as the dastardly bad guy, not to be trusted. As the story developed, so did the character - he went from being a villainous accomplice of the story’s antagonist to a rogue out for himself, to a rival for Lottie’s affections, competing against another suitor, to the guy we meet in the Spellbound test movie, who thinks he’s only in it for himself, but discovers he’s a hero inside.

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The Making of “Spellbound”: Q&A with Producer Kevin Bannerman

Spellbound, an animated feature film story is the latest test movie released by Amazon Studios. Test movies are videos that help an audience imagine what a story will be like as a finished film. We asked producer Kevin Bannerman (Anastasia, Ice Age) how he approached Spellbound and the evolution of the story. 

How did you approach making the test movie?

The test movie allows us to see if audiences will respond to our “big picture” questions. Specifically, if the movie were to be produced as a full-animated feature, would our viewers be interested in going to a movie theater to see it?

We worked to get the script to a point where the story is clear; we are aware the story still needs further development. Character designs were created early in the process because seeing how the characters look and what their attitudes are help inspire both the screenwriters and the songwriters.

Did direction change from the start of it to the end?

The core story stayed the same but many changes are implemented over the course of development. Originally we had a competing love interest for Lottie but the scenes felt too crowded and we cut that character. The character of Werner was a late addition; Innusha needed someone to talk to so the audience would know what she was thinking.

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Help Amazon Studios Build the Next Blockbuster

Your opinions can influence the movies we make. Watch new test movies for The Detourist and Spellbound and help us decide if they should be seen on the big screen.

More on the movies:

The Detourist

image Charlie thought his biggest challenge was finding a job to support his family…until he stumbles upon a GPS device with the location of a priceless stolen artifact. Will Charlie’s wild Hawaiian adventure to find this treasure with his family solve all his problems?

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Spellbound

image Lottie loves magic more than anything in the world but when her best friend and eleven fellow royals are kidnapped by a vengeful and powerful sorcerous, it’s up to Lottie, a rakish bandit and a traveling salesman to rescue the princesses before the sorcerous can unlock the most powerful talisman in all the land.

Watch now