4 posts tagged development
4 posts tagged development
This world has seen some amazing educators, people who inspire their students and have it all together. But those people need to get their own show. The latest comedy added to Amazon Studios’ Series Development Slate is Those Who Can’t, the story of some teachers with a lot to learn.
The show was written by Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland, and Benjamin Roy, and was inspired by their web series, The Grawlix. They knew they had funny characters, the school setting is where they really clicked. Just as things have clicked for these guys in Denver, where they’re based.
“The Grawlix spawned out of our previous live show, Los Comicos Super Hilariosos, and it’s really cool to look back and see how far it’s come,” Orvedahl said. “We began the show in a tiny dive bar, entertaining literally like 7 people, and now we sell out this awesome theater, and have the most loyal, awesome fans. It’s been a lot of work every month, but I couldn’t be prouder of our live show. As for Denver, I think we easily have the best comedy scene outside of New York and L.A. There are several A clubs, some B and C clubs, and then plenty of other rooms. A comic can get a lot of stage time here, and the scene is pretty supportive overall.”
A grawlix, by the way, is the replacement of swears with symbols. Explains Orvedahl: “So when you’re reading the newspaper comics and a character yells, ‘!@$#&%’ that’s a grawlix. We have a pretty great explanatory bit we do when we take the show on the road, where we ‘translate’ grawlixes in comic strips.”
About the project:
Creators: Andrew Orvedahl, Adam Cayton-Holland, Benjamin Roy
Series Concept: A comedy about three juvenile, misfit teachers who are just as immature, if not more so, than the students they teach at a failing high school in Denver.
Why we like it: This is the most realistic portrayal of high school that we’ve ever seen. At least we think so. We never actually graduated.
It’s also an irreverent, hilarious look at supposed authority figures that had us laughing from the first to the last page. We love how unpredictable the comedy in this script is.
- Stephanie Reid-Simons
Amazon Studios, the movie-development arm of Amazon.com, today announced that it is expanding into episodic series — specifically primetime comedies and children’s shows.
TV writers and creators are invited to upload series proposals that will be reviewed by the Amazon Studios team and, potentially, added to the Development Slate. The best series will be distributed via Amazon Instant Video.
“Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.”
Of course, writers and filmmakers are still invited to submit their full-length feature film scripts for consideration at Amazon Studios. Creators of original movie scripts or series projects added to the Development Slate will receive a $10,000 payment.
To be considered, a series project must have a pilot script for a 22-minute episode (or 11-minute episode, if it’s a children’s series) and a series mini-bible — a project description 2-6 pages in length. Within 45 days of submission, Amazon Studios will either extend an option on the project or invite the creator to add it to the Amazon Studios community. If a project is not optioned, creators may remove their idea from the Amazon Studios site or leave it to get community feedback.
Each month, Amazon Studios intends to option one promising new series and add it to their Development Slate. If Amazon Studios produces a series, the creator will receive a $55,000 payment, plus 5 percent of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and T-shirt licensing, and other royalties and bonuses.
Amazon Studios offers a variety of opportunities for writers, directors and animators. Currently, there is a Promo Video Contest with a total of $7,000 in awards for the best visual representation of a series in 10-60 seconds. Amazon Studios also intends to regularly fund pilots for testing and issue calls for proposals to turn a series on the Development Slate into animated or live-action pilots.
WGA members can learn more about opportunities offered through Amazon Studios’ production company, The People’s Production Company, here. The People’s Production Company is signatory to the Writers Guild of America and to The Animation Guild, Local 839.
“I’ve never had a meeting with a studio exec before and wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” Gardner said. “As it turned out, it was very comfortable and easy and Courtenay was generous in offering ideas, connections and resources to help as my career moves along and perhaps branches off into other arenas as well. She even had some thoughts on how to use the prize money.”
Gardner also met with the Amazon Studios story department and said the notes he received were “spot-on.” Now he’s looking forward to seeing what the future holds for his project, a musical about a farmboy trying to save his royal love and her sisters from a diabolical fairy queen. The second version of 12 Princesses was better than the first, Gardner said, “but I knew when I finished the second that there would be a third. And a fourth. Maybe a fifth, sixth, etc. I’m excited to see what those versions will look like.”
It helps that fate seems to be on his side. Gardner said the fortune cookies he got at lunch with the Amazon Studios team reminded him of creating a sound effect for the first 12 Princesses test movie: “When I cracked open the cookie in front of the microphone, I read the fortune and it said something to the effect of: ‘An exciting musical opportunity awaits you.’ It certainly did.”
— Stephanie Reid-Simons
Matthew Gossett took his first-ever Hollywood meetings last week, including one with Warner Bros.Courtenay Valenti (a benefit of winning Amazon Studios’ Best Script Annual Award for Origin of a Species). “It’s exciting,” he said. “She told me what she thinks would be a good way to proceed on Origin, how big studios would approach it.”
He said it was an inspiring conversation, with his nervous edges smoothed by his manager, Noah Rosen, who discovered him via Amazon Studios. “It’s great to have him on my side.”
Gossett, who lives in Brooklyn, also has engaged in detailed discussions with Amazon Studios about his script, which is the story of Jim, an ex-cop who must find it in himself to save a town that’s being terrorized by rabid dogs — his dogs — while his wife Bonnie carries on with one of her students.
The Amazon Studios story department “sent a ton of notes and at first I was like, ‘Oh no!’,” Gossett said. “But all their notes are really great.”
So what has he learned? “The main thing I need to accomplish is really defining Jim and Bonnie’s characters,” Gossett said. And now he’s got the time to make his story even stronger. With $120,000 in awards from Amazon Studios he said “I’ve been able to quit my terrible job. It’s nice to feel like I have a direction.”
“I’m focusing on writing full-time. … The stuff I’m going to work on next is going to be great.”
Children of Others moving forward: Oscar-winning producer Edward Saxon met recently with Barrington Smith-Seetachitt, writer of Children of Others (an Amazon Studios award-winner that Saxon is attached to produce). “We are making progress,” Saxon said. “Deepening the characters, making the visuals even more compelling. Our prize-winning script is getting even better thanks to Barrington being eager for ideas to make it better and Amazon Studios having plenty of ideas.”
Smith-Seetachitt says the energy they have is contagious. “I come out of each meeting feeling inspired to dive deeper into the script — really getting to know everything about the characters, and figuring out best way to plot their story.”