Amazon Studios Options Orbit, a Sci-Fi Thriller

Amazon Studios continues to expand its film slate with an exciting new project – Orbit, the story of a salvage crew that finds itself with the fate of the world in its hands when aliens approach.

“Orbit emerged out my love for the alien invasion genre, a genre which I have adored my entire life. When it comes to what may happen if aliens wander into our neighborhood, the possibilities are infinite,” said Orbit writer Bruce Guido.

Amazon Studios has an open-door development process, for film as well as original series. Learn more about how to submit your script.

Details on the newly optioned project:

Orbit

Writer: Bruce Guido

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Thriller

Logline:  When an immense alien spacecraft threatens life on Earth, a small crew of astronauts aboard a salvage and collection ship must destroy the alien menace to save mankind.

Why we optioned it: While it’s a contained story involving only a handful of characters, the scope and stakes of the movie are enormous. This is a movie about the end of the world, but it’s played out entirely with a cast of six people. 

The writer’s perspective: As I was looking at a photo of Earth, sitting lonely against a sea of black, it just hit me — what if the story was told outside of Earth? …  What if we experienced worldwide destruction from the point of view of characters who are isolated, watching from the outside? What would it be like to see our home, our loved ones, everyone we’ve ever known, annihilated from a distance with us powerless to stop it?

See the full Amazon Studios film slate.

Amazon Studios Writer Q&A: Sci-Fi Movies, and the Intersection of Smart and Popcorn

Writer/director Omar Naim embraces the notion that science fiction allows us to observe present-day issues and human quandaries from an outsider perspective.

His award-winning 2004 film The Final Cut explored questions of memory and reality in a near-future world where people can have their babies implanted with chips that record every moment of their life.  Now he’s exploring the science fiction-thriller genre further, by rewriting the Amazon Studios Development Slate project Children of Others.

Children of Others is about a barren woman who miraculously conceives with the help of a mysterious fertility clinic, only to discover that she’s bearing an alien baby who may be the precursor to invasion – or the only hope for mankind. Veteran producer Edward Saxon (Silence of the Lambs, Adaptation) is attached to the project. 

We spoke to Omar about his inspirations, his own film, and the challenges and opportunities that come from working on a project created by another writer.

How did you get involved with Children of Others?

OMAR:  I pitched a couple of times and showed how passionate I was about the material as I put a lot of work into it and I think that we all sensed that we all wanted to make the same kind of movie, a smart popcorn movie. There are very few of those.  We are trying not to segregate smart and popcorn as there is no reason for that to happen.  They can and must co-exist which has been proven by people like James Cameron with the Terminator films and even more recently with a film like Rise of the Planet of the Apes which was well liked and was a big fun and smart science fiction adventure. 

What attracted you to the material?

OMAR:  I have always liked thrillers as they are always good at testing characters in a heightened way that still feels natural.  I also love science fiction and I believe there are a handful of human quandaries that the genre deals with really well.  The quandary of this film is pregnancy and parenthood and the responsibilities of a parent.  I feel that science fiction has never quite created a definite statement of it in terms of film, and with this script I felt it was a great opportunity to explore those ideas in an enjoyable way.

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Star Trek to Writers: Go Boldly
Classic Star Trek sounds a lot like 21st-century Star Trek: “We maintain a fast pace … avoid long philosophical exchanges or tedious explanations of equipment. And note that our cutting technique is to use the shortest possible time between idea and execution.”
From slatevault:

Producers of the original Star Trek series distributed this photocopied guide to the show’s writers in 1967. They were all on a major mission to avoid cheesiness and scientific error. (Also forbidden: uniforms with pockets.) http://slate.me/YToqxJ

See more from the classic writers’ guide here.

Star Trek to Writers: Go Boldly

Classic Star Trek sounds a lot like 21st-century Star Trek: “We maintain a fast pace … avoid long philosophical exchanges or tedious explanations of equipment. And note that our cutting technique is to use the shortest possible time between idea and execution.”

From slatevault:

Producers of the original Star Trek series distributed this photocopied guide to the show’s writers in 1967. They were all on a major mission to avoid cheesiness and scientific error. (Also forbidden: uniforms with pockets.) http://slate.me/YToqxJ

See more from the classic writers’ guide here.

Reblogged from slatevault

Amazon Pilots Inside Story: John Ross Bowie and Kevin Sussman (Dark Minions)

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John Ross Bowie and Kevin Sussman are part of one of the most famous nerd ensembles in entertainment history – the cast of the hit series Big Bang Theory (Bowie plays Sheldon’s rival Kripke, and Sussman is comic shop owner Stuart). But they’re not faking their love of sci-fi and superheroes. It’s who they are, and their influences run deeply through Dark Minions, the show they’ve created for Amazon.

“Make no mistake – we are on Big Bang Theory because we are authentic nerds,” John said. “High functioning nerds – more Leonards than Sheldons – but nerds nonetheless. Kevin worked at a comic book shop IRL. I watched all the Star Wars DVDs one New Year’s Eve AS AN ADULT.”

Dark Minions is one of 14 Amazon original pilots now playing for free at Amazon Instant Video and LOVEFiLM. Viewer response will help determine which of these children’s shows and comedies return with full seasons.

We asked John and Kevin about their show, their inspirations, and what the Big Bang Theory characters might think of Dark Minions.

How do you describe Dark Minions? 

Kevin: It’s about two regular guys, Mel and Andy, who get jobs onboard an evil space station. Maybe in a better time they’d take a principled stand against working there, but Mel’s got alimony and Andy doesn’t have a college degree, so they’re willing to lower their standards just a tad. It’s a workplace comedy that deals with the bullshit of corporate bureaucracy, inter-office politics, and the deluge of paperwork involved in enslaving various alien species.

What made you want to tell this story with these characters, in this world? 

Kevin: We’re fans of the genre. We set out to do a straight up sci-fi thriller, actually, but neither of us could refrain from giving the villains silly names.

Are any of the characters based on real people?

John: Mel and Andy are loosely based on Kevin and I. Before we knew each other, we both worked for huge, rather nefarious companies in the late ‘90s and though a lot of the work that was going on was unsavory – mass firings, circumventing environmental regulations – Kevin and I needed the jobs. It was not unlike working for an evil space station.

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