Everyday, Hollywood is moving further away from the members-only, closed door machine it has notoriously been. The world of entertainment is more competitive than ever, and the popularity of content across the vast array of media presently available, has everyone on their toes, hoping to create the next big show with enough virality and excitement to keep the attention spans of the internet generation. This race to create content versus mere syndication of older shows, has been embraced by everyone from Netflix to Youtube, and even the major networks have upped their collective game, as I mentioned in my previous blog. Hence, there is a lot opportunity for aspiring writers looking to break into the industry.
In an attempt to solidify its product as a real competitor to Netflix, and with similar services popping up from the likes of Tidal, Amazon is making this process of acquiring talent a little bit easier and a lot more exciting. Just weeks ago the company launched its screenwriting app, which not only formats stories into screenplays as one types, it employs an offline feature, and enables uploads of common formats.
Of course, Amazon is not the first to develop a scriptwriting app. There are others, like Final Draft and Scriptly. However, what differentiates the product from others is that it allows users to submit the content created on the app directly to Amazon, to be considered for new shows and/or movies for the company’s Amazon Studios.
Prior the launch of this service, the company did allow individuals to submit scripts for consideration, but only those pertaining to feature films, comedies and shows for children and adolescents. With the Amazon Storywriter App, however, scribes will have the opportunity to submit dramas to the studio, as well; and if scripts are selected, writers will have the option of selling to the studio for an amount equal to a writers’ guild minimum–somewhere in the ballpark of $200,000 for a movie and around $50,000 for a TV show.
This new app creates a marketplace for experienced writers, who just need the right opportunity to showcase their talents, as well as for novices, who may not have as much experience but have great ideas for a story. It also puts Amazon slightly ahead of competition, putting the company in position to get first dibs on material created on the app, in addition to generating interest and positioning its content as being open to everyone.
Nevertheless, as arstechnica.com warns, writers should have their intellectual property adequately protected. By law, Amazon may have the right to produce and publish similar content, so long as the material isn’t “substantially” similar. It would behoove any interested party to establish an understanding of what substantial means and to what they are agreeing by granting the company rights to their work.