Monday, April 2, 2012

Trend Watch: Rough Drafts For Sale

Considering how much I write about television I certainly don't watch very much of it. It's only now and then, when I am knocked out with a head cold or some such, that I begrudgingly settle down on the couch and channel surf. Once I'm done channel surfing (I don't have cable) I turn to the Roku box and see what's in the Netflix queue, then the Hulu queue and finally whatever is on the Amazon Prime instant video queue.

Amazon Prime subscribers have access to a certain library of material that you can watch for "free", that is, without paying anything above your Prime membership. I've been dipping into this trove for a couple of months now, ever since I realized I am paying Amazon for a membership. Did you know that the original The Fly, starring Vincent Price, is right there waiting for you? It is! And others more recent.

But something I didn't realize until just this weekend is there is a thing called Amazon Studios, that exists.

Amazon has a development arm! You submit scripts and if they like them, they will take it to the next step. It could mean producing an animated storyboard, or shooting a low-res video. That property is made available to subscribers, who can watch it, and I think comment and vote and so on. Possibly somewhere down the line, Warner Brothers has a first look option. You could do worse!

It's really no more than a version of market research, a way to crowd-source your testing for free. It's pretty interesting. As usual with online contests, you're encouraged to examine the terms of submission VERY carefully, because it's probably not the best possible deal. I think maybe I'll bust out one of my long-forgotten scripts and put it up there - it's not doing me any good sitting on a virtual shelf, collecting the virtual dust. If I do, I'll report here on the progress.

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