Amazon Studios takes a pounding from the Internets

It’s been about one week since Amazon announced its Amazon Studios site, pledging $2.7 million in grants and prizes to new screenwriters and filmmakers.

There’s already 1,078 projects posted.

I’m kind of surprised there’s not more. But I bet that will double in the next month, and then go up exponentially before that first January 31, 2011 deadline.

Reactions from bloggers have been flooding in, including a number of industry insiders.

Here’s some quick links…

John August (Go, Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory): “A bad line of code is obvious; it doesn’t do what it needs to do. A bad line of dialogue is a judgement call. A thumbs-up, thumbs-down voting system isn’t likely to fix this.”

…and a follow-up post “The myth of Hollywood is that there are giant walls to keep you out. Here, the walls keep you in, whether you like it or not.”

and a THIRD follow-up post! “One of the goals of the system seems to be finding a needle in a haystack. I wonder if they’re just getting more hay.”

Craig Mazin of The Artful Writer: “They put this whole “Hollywood is old and lame, and we’re the new hotness” vibe out there.”

Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood: “A growing echo chamber of Hollywood scribes is warning wannabes to beware because of problems with copyright, authorship, Amazon Studios’ free 18-month option… and rewriting by Amazon readers.”

Drew McWeeny of Hitfix (Drew is a produced screenwriter and formerly “Moriarty” from Ain’t It Cool News) “Line after line of the legalese on these pages just confounds me.”

Michael Ferris of Script Magazine: “Just imagine Triggerstreet.com on several cans of FourLoko.”

Dana Brunetti of TriggerStreet.com learned of Amazon Studios and posted on his Twitter and Facebook: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” He also posted that they had conducted talks with the Amazon people about their site and from his estimation, Amazon just decided to copy their model.

My current stance?

Wait and see.

I’m going to post a few reviews and take a look around the forums, but I’m not going to upload anything until I see proof that this system works.

I have a friend who currently has the most user reviews, but I know that’s because he’s doing an aggressive campaign on Facebook and in the many screenwriter forums he participates in. In short, he has a lot of friends. He may just win that January contest — now, he happens to be a good writer who has won many contests in the past and I’m sure his script is stronger than 99% of the others on there, but will he win for quality or number of reviews?

It just occurred to me that I’m not sure which is the better scenario for an experienced screenwriter: a great script is found and wins the January contest or an awful script wins? If a great script, then we know we need to bring our “A” game, which if we’re an experienced writer (or a professional one) then we know we can do.  But if an awful script wins solely on amount of reviews (from friends and backroom deals) then we can post any old piece of crap from our library and just spend all day and night trying to get friends to vote for it! Which I wouldn’t want to do, but it will be interesting to see who attempts to use this strategy and if it works.

I’m going to wait and see. Heck, it’s already a fun ride and we’re only one week in. Well, maybe not fun, but…interesting? Until next time…HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF MY AMERICAN READERS and…

Good Luck and Happy Writing.

-Dan

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