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  • How Amazon is Trying to F*ck You

    January 13th, 2011

    I will try to put together a more cohesive and expansive blog on why the new Amazon Studios deal is the worst deal out there for writers that I’ve heard in a long time. But for now, since it’s a hot topic, I thought I’d just quickly weigh in.

    I understand the temptation to upload your script to Amazon and hope that you grab that 20K prize or even better- that your script gets the most votes and gets sent and made by Warner Bros, with whom they have a first look deal. But here’s the thing…it’s not going to happen. And if it does, it’s not going to open any doors for you. Why? Because you’re not guaranteed to even get writing credit on YOUR script. It’s not guaranteed that any OTHER producers or agents will see it. No one except other clueless writers is voting on which scripts are worthy. And the second you upload your script to Amazon, YOU LOSE ANY AND ALL RIGHTS TO YOUR SCRIPT. FOREVER.

    It’s an 18 month FREE option, which isn’t a bad thing, except after those 18 months are over, they own your idea FOREVER. You cannot get it back unless you’ve got some really good lawyers. You can’t sell it, you can’t option it elsewhere, you can’t even rewrite it. I just saw that over 1000 scripts have been uploaded already…that means 1000 scripts are now dead and those writers just wasted every second they spent writing them.

    Why? The Amazon Studios deal allows for ANYONE – any fucking po-dunk town idiot who has never even SEEN a movie, much less written one, to REWRITE YOUR SCRIPT. And you can’t do anything about it. Let’s say your protagonist is a 40 year old black man who is looking for love. Joe Schmo can change your character to a 13 year old Asian girl looking for a unicorn. And you can’t do anything about it. And if enough of your script changes, you won’t even get credit for it if it sells (except a “based on a screenplay by” credit). You won’t get into the guild, you won’t get any residuals or benefits – even if your script IS made and makes $50 Million (which it won’t) – you won’t see another dime except the $200K they pay you.

    Now, I know – $200K sounds like a lot of money. And it is. But not nearly what you would make if you got your movie made in Hollywood any other way. And I know, your spec script is just sitting there anyway and you don’t have any Hollywood contacts or referrals and you don’t know how to break in. So, what’s the harm, right? That’s exactly what Amazon is betting on – your utter desperation and lack of knowledge! This is a company that is praying on the desperate, the uneducated, and the downright ignorant.

    Once you hit the upload button, you can’t enter that script into other contests, you can’t send it to other producers. It’s OVER. Forever. And if Amazon never ever makes the movie – now no one else can either. You are throwing away your script for nothing.

    For more info on the downsides of Amazon Studios, you can read John August’s blog or Craig Mazin’s website article (www.artfulwriter.com). I don’t often agree with Craig, but he’s spot on about this one. Studios, writers, producers and consultants all agree – this new Amazon Studios deal is NOT GOOD FOR WRITERS. So, do your homework and read the very very small fine print before you sign away your script!

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