Amazon Studios is Shafting the Little Guyz

Uh-oh, don't get your hopes up. Gulp.
Uh-oh, don’t get your hopes up. Gulp.

…At least, so point the signs.

The in-house Amazon.Com production company originally intended to give new writers/directors/producers/et al a shot by developing online series for Prime Instant Video announced yesterday that it was greenlighting a pilot for ZOMBIELAND, based on the 2009 Columbia Pictures film of the same name and staffed by the original creative team, including writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

ZOMBIELAND joins 12 other pilots produced by established Industry types which will be shown on Amazon Prime so viewers, referred to by Amazon Studios boss Roy Price as “customers,” (hey, that’s a much more honest way to talk about it) can choose which shows they want to become series.

The announcement by Price makes no mention of what’s going to happen with content created by newbies, which indicates to us that he and the rest of the Amazon brass aren’t thinking in that direction, at least right now. Interestingly, though, it may not be just the professional production teams that will be getting the short end of the Amazon, um, stick. Insider sources say that the budgets for ZOMBIELAND and its ilk are in and around $1 million an episode, which is far short of what broadcast and cable networks pay. Even Netflix pays more – $4 million an ep.

As far as TVWriter™ can see, the only people who would be able to create high quality content on such limited $$$ would be newer, leaner, hungrier folk. Which means that we probably should add a third category to those getting the shaft: Amazon’s “customers.” AKA the viewers. And so it goes.