There is bad news for budding writers this week, as Amazon Studios has closed its doors on unsolicited screenplays.
The online giant’s development arm has been undergoing a major shift in strategy these past six months, as Amazon seeks to produce bigger hitters and more mainstream successes, so that it can compete with HBO, Netflix and others. That ambition, though, is coming at the expense of smaller projects. While once wedded to a pilot system that let the public help choose its next originals, Amazon has scrapped that approach altogether, while a number of smaller projects, such as Mozart in the Jungle, have been quietly cancelled, despite bringing in awards success.
As part of its original, more indie-minded approach, Amazon Studios also allowed for open submissions from the general public. Launched in 2010, the scheme allowed aspiring writers to send in their scripts and concepts, with submissions reviewed and evaluated by Amazon, and available for others to read, as part of a writing community. Now, though, Amazon has closed its doors on open submissions.
“As we have grown and evolved over the last several years, we are making changes to our website and closing our open call for script and concept submissions,” reads a statement on the website. “As of April 13, 2018, we are no longer accepting submissions.”
Deadline reports that anything received before that deadline will still be reviewed and evaluated, and available on the website until the end of June. Amazon will still respond to all of these submissions, as well as providing its Storybuilder tool for writers.
The scheme has yielded one notable success for Amazon, in the shape of its first live-action original kids’ TV series, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street. Created by nursery teacher and first-time writer David Anaxagoras, it ran for two seasons.
“This is a dream I’ve had for a long time and the entire experience has felt natural and exciting – from my initial submission and the pilot being greenlit to working alongside talented minds pouring themselves into the project through the series’ production,” said David at the time.