Hey Filmmakers! Amazon Studios Wants to See Your Shorts

Amazon Studios’ open door for creators has now opened even wider. Filmmakers are invited to submit short “concept videos” that present a compelling idea for a theatrical feature film.

These short films – 2-15 minutes in length – will be evaluated by the Amazon Studios development staff and considered for option. The process works like script submission: You can submit publicly or privately. There is a 45-day option and evaluation period. Creators of projects added to the Development Slate receive a $10,000 payment.

So what is Amazon Studios looking for? These should be videos that express an idea that’s begging to be seen on the big-screen, in full-length, full-budget form. These could be bold, imaginative worlds, original premises, or unique perspectives.

A great concept video doesn’t need to lay out the entire feature film in all three acts, but serve as a solid foundation to build on.

See the full Amazon Studios Movie Development Slate.

P.S. Seeking distribution for your short film? Amazon Studios is not a distribution channel – better options to consider include Createspace and Withoutabox.

Comedy Series: What Flavor of Funny Does Amazon Studios Want?

Earlier this month, Amazon Studios opened its doors to episodic series — specifically, primetime comedies as well as shows for children. Creators of series added to the Series Development Slate will get $10,000, plus another $55,000 if their show gets produced (with the potential for other royalties and bonuses).

Here’s a closer look at the kind of comedies Amazon Studios is looking for. (Learn more about children’s series here.)

Overview: Amazon Studios is seeking funny, edgy, smart, cinematic shows with a strong point of view.

Format: Series can be live action or animated with 22-minute episodes.

We like ideas in specific worlds. We’re open to anything, but all of our shows need to take place in specific, well-defined worlds. These should be places people haven’t seen before, that they’ll want to learn more about and, most importantly, tell their friends to watch. So a bunch of underemployed New Yorkers in an overly nice apartment is most likely not right for us (same goes for doctors/lawyers/cops). We’ve discussed worlds like Silicon Valley, video games, technology, sports, universities, politics, Hollywood, genre comedy but we’re open to anything new and interesting with a lot of potential.

The most important thing is that the audience should feel like they’re watching something they can’t see anywhere else.

Should episodes be serialized or self-contained? Serialized is good for live action, but not necessary.

How #@% much can characters swear? Don’t rely on curse words to sell the story, but otherwise, just keep it within normal television standards for language and content. Archer would be OK, for example.

What, no reality shows? No, and no game shows or sketch comedy either.

You can learn more about the details of the Amazon Studios series submission process here.

Children’s Series: What Amazon Studios is Looking For

Earlier this month, Amazon Studios opened its doors to episodic series — specifically, shows for children as well as primetime comedies. Creators of series added to the Development Slate will get $10,000, plus another $55,000 if their show gets produced (with the potential for other royalties and bonuses).

Here’s a closer look at the kind of children’s series Amazon Studios wants. (Find details on comedies here.)

Overview: Amazon Studios is seeking character-driven original ideas that speak to children between the ages of 2-14 — shows that parents feel good about letting their children watch, and can even enjoy watching along with them.

Format: Series can be live action, animated, stop motion or mixed media, with 11- or 22-minute episodes.

Do the shows need to be educational? Preschool series (for 2-5 year olds) must have an educational theme, or the potential for one. But that can take many forms: Blue’s Clues, for example, grew out of the question of what a game show for children might look like. Wonder Pets is, with its save-the-day heart, a superhero adventure. Whether a series is science-based, or focuses on creativity, or takes some other approach, the Amazon Studios philosophy is that kids are smart and have a great ability to absorb information – they don’t need things dumbed down.

For children aged 4-7, series can move more toward entertainment, like Wild Kratts, which combines action-adventure elements with zoology.

What about older children and Tweens? For 6-12-year-olds, shows may tend to be animated (comedies like Phineas and Ferb, or action-adventures like Avatar: The Last Airbender). For Tweens, live-action is more likely (comedies like iCarly or more dramatic fare, like South of Nowhere).

No matter what the age group, these should be series with strong characters, great storytelling and an innovative approach.

You can learn more about the details of the Amazon Studios series submission process here.