Amazon Studio’s new venture isn’t getting much love from the screenbloggers. Craig Mazin thinks the deal is grotesque:
Here’s where Amazon kind of disgusts me. They put this whole “Hollywood is old and lame, and we’re the new hotness” vibe out there. In their intro video, their hip spokesman with the spiky haircut is an inclusive, welcoming voice. Hollywood is represented by a fat old Jew at a desk.
Funny thing, though. The actual terms of Amazon’s “studio” are so much worse than those offered by Hollywood studios, it’s grotesque.
As I’d hoped, Craig digs in on the terrible financial upside of the deal, including the lack of credit protection or residuals. Even if your movie gets produced, another writer could easily get the screenwriting credit:
Or…and here’s the kicker…WB could hire a WGA writer under a WGA contract to rewrite the script (if they hire any writer directly at all, it must be under a WGA deal). At that point, the Amazon work becomes source material, and the original writers are not eligible for ANY WGA credit at all. Just a “based on a screenplay by” credit. The WGA writers–even if they only wrote five words–would be the only writers eligible for WGA credit and residuals.
Michael Ferris is impressed by the marketing, but sours on the details:
Amazon touts this whole “revisions” thing as a type of love nest/commune of artist’s collaboration, when in reality we screenwriters view it as a pack of dirty kindergartners sticking their grubby little ravenous fingers into the beautiful pie we just baked.
I honestly looked for some positive reviews, but haven’t found them.
As I write this, the Amazon Studios site shows 994 projects. But is there one worth making? Could their system spot it? 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.