Have you heard about Amazon Studios yet? They’re the newest thing in television production. Yes, you heard me: television production. Sure, they started as a movie studio, but now they’re doing television, too. So far, they’re only interested in half-hour sitcoms and children’s programming, but don’t be surprised if they keep growing and start asking for a wider variety of formats. After all, they’re Amazon, and they want their fingers in everything.
What is this monster television studio that Amazon is creating? It certainly isn’t your traditional production studio. It only takes a quick glance to figure out that they’re doing just about everything differently from the traditional old-school (American) studios. But what exactly are they doing? And, more importantly, is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Or, to phrase the question as you’re probably really thinking it: Should I jump in or run away screaming?
I did a lot of research to figure out that answer, and I’m here today to tell you all about what I found and what conclusions I drew for myself.
Amazon Studios is based on the idea that, instead of letting network and studio execs examine potential series ideas in secret, the selection process can be a public one. A potential series creator offers a series idea on the Amazon Studios website, and anyone who wants to can read the offering, rate it, and comment on it. Although the Amazon Studios executives still make the production decisions, they (supposedly) rely primarily on the comments and ratings offered by the general public to guide their choices.
If it stopped there, I would be inclined to like this idea very much. Network execs and studio heads are often horribly out of touch with what people actually want. There’s no harm and a lot of potential good in asking people what they think BEFORE the studio spends lots of money on the concept. Plus, of course, critique is always good for the writer. You never know what comment might contain that nugget of gold that pushes the writer to the next level, or just helps the writer see the script in a new light.
Furthermore, Amazon Studios doesn’t require an agent or any credentials at all. Anyone who has created a series and put the necessary words on paper can play.
As a writer, I can only love that part, too. Someone has to leave the door open for the newcomers!
Unfortunately, there’s also a dark side.
TO BE CONTINUED…