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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.

Amazon Studios Greenlights Three Original Comedy Pilots for Prime Instant Video

Building on a successful first round of comedy pilots last April, Amazon today announced it has given the green light for the production of three new half-hour pilots.  

 New pilots include Mozart in the Jungle written by Academy Award-nominee Roman Coppola (The Darjeeling Limited),  Jason Schwartzman (Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore) and Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher), The Outlaws written by Jeremy Garelick (The Break-Up) and Jon Weinbach and Transparent written and directed by Emmy Award-nominee Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under). Customers will be invited to watch, provide feedback and help determine which pilots should be produced as series to air exclusively on Prime Instant Video and Amazon’s LOVEFiLM in the UK in early 2014.

 “We are thrilled to be working on these pilots with such talented creators with passionate visions for new shows,” said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “We are excited to hear what customers think of the shows.” 

Mozart in the Jungle

Mozart in the Jungle was written by Oscar-nominated writer and director Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdom, The Darjeeling Limited), actor and musician Jason Schwartzman (Saving Mr. Banks, Moonrise Kingdom, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World), and Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher). The project is based on the memoir Mozart in the Jungle by Blair Tindall. Mozart in the Jungle is all about sex, drugs—and classical music—and shows that what happens behind the curtains at the symphony can be just as captivating as what happens on stage.

“Many shows are in a single world; Mozart in the Jungle is an unusual show in that there are two worlds fused together. On one side is the high-level skill and sophistication that comes with classical music, and at the same time it’s a story that includes people rising up from the bottom, trying to make it in the big world. I love the sense of contrast, the high and the low, the refined and the more base—I hope audiences will love it too,” said Roman Coppola, co-creator of Mozart in the Jungle. “Amazon has been incredibly supportive and they have given us their blessing to make this show. We are very much in harmony and we feel lucky to be working with a partner that is so in sync with us and what we want to do.”

The Outlaws

Written by Jeremy Garelick and Jon Weinbach,The Outlaws is all about the ins and outs of a professional football team from the perspective of both the players and the back office. The Outlaws creative team also includes Matt Alvarez and Michael Strahan, former football player for the New York Giants and host of Live with Kelly and Michael.

 “Jon Weinbach and I could not be more excited about The Outlaws. We have an amazing director, and it’s been great transforming this story into a pilot with the help of Amazon,” said The Outlaws creator Jeremy Garelick. “We have found Amazon’s support for original and edgy content to be second to none; the opportunity to blend crushing comedy and hits is endless. We want to make The Outlaws the show that everyone will love— not just football fans.”

Transparent

Written and directed by Emmy-nominee and 2013 Sundance Best Director winner Jill Soloway (Afternoon DelightSix Feet Under and United States of Tara), Transparent is a darkly comedic story about an LA family with serious boundary issues. In this exploration of sex, memory, gender and legacy, the past and future unravel when a dramatic admission causes everyone’s secrets to spill out. Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Gaby Hoffmann, Amy Landecker and Jay Duplass star in the pilot.   

“With my astonishingly talented cast and crew we created an incredible pilot,” said Transparent creator Jill Soloway. “I hope we’ll be making a full season very soon. I am so grateful to Amazon for their trust and for allowing this story to unfold onscreen in such a human, organic way. They have provided me with one of the most creative experiences of my career.”

Learn more about submitting your script via the Amazon Studios open door process

Joss Whedon on Getting Things Done

Joss Whedon’s wisdom, when it comes to productivity, starts with something akin to “eat dessert first”:

I used to write chronologically when I started, from beginning to end. Eventually I went, That’s absurd; my heart is in this one scene, therefore I must follow it. … I always believe in just have as much fun as you can so that when you’re in the part that you hate there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that you’re close to finished. …

I have a reward system. I am the monkey with the pellet and it’s so bad that I write almost everything in restaurants or cafes [so] that when I have an idea, I go and get chocolate. …

The last piece of advice … is fill the tanks, fill the tanks, fill the tanks. Constantly watch things and things you don’t [normally watch]. Step outside your viewing zone, your reading zone. It’s all fodder but if you only take from one thing then it’ll show.

Amazon Studios Adds Maker Shack Agency to its Kids’ Series Pilots for Prime Instant Video

Maker Shack Agency  follows the exploits of 13-year-old inventor, Angus Wolfe aka “Wolfie”, and his two best friends and fellow “makers.” These three teenage thinkers and tinkerers use all the branches of science and personal ingenuity to solve their client’s problem by making a new invention every episode.  

Writer: Arland DiGirolamo

Why we optioned it: At the core of this series, we have a young, ambitious boy who’s not afraid to fail forward to try and achieve his goals.  We think it’s an important and relevant trait to model for kids in our rapidly changing world. We also want kids to have fun thinking about new and different ways to solve life’s problems and then actually do it, hands on.

The Maker Shack Agency  producers and writers will team up with research and development company, Applied Minds, and their group of scientists, engineers and programmers to design and build exciting gadgets that will be featured in the show to inspire a new generation of inventors. 

From the creators: “We are incredibly excited for our first initiative with Amazon and we look forward to inspiring the next generation of makers,” said Drew Buckley, Chief Operating Officer and Head of Digital for Electus. “With Maker Shack Agency, we hope to inspire kids to think about new and different ways to solve life’s problems and to never be afraid of failure—as Wolfie always says, ‘Fail Forward.’”

Learn more about submitting your script via the Amazon Studios open door process.