Amazon Studios have just sent around an email announcing the end of the open call for submissions. In the past, it was possible to submit a screenplay directly via website without an agent.
Amazon Studios now turn their back to a rather unusual project acquisition method as production companies usually protect themselves by a shelter of gatekeepers, which usually are agents.Many studios and producers don’t accept so called unsolicited submissions.
The decision is played down by Amazon who point at other routes, but it is a blow to independent and emerging scriptwriters and producers where Amazon Studio represented a unic opportunity beyond the usual closed shop system.
It would be interesting to know what the reasons have been. Is it because they have enough projects? Was the quality of the submissions not good enough or didn’t they get this catchy idea they were hoping for? Is Amazon Studios now copying the strategy of the established producers by not being open to new ideas unless they are proven already?
It might be a combination of all of this, but especially the latter. The announcement of producing a series related to ‘Lord of the Rings’ indicates that Amazon Studios apply classical Hollywood thinking: Play it safe as much as this is possible. It seems that Amazon Studios have now grown from a new starter to an established vehicle where their employees would risk their positions by trying new innovative things and therefore rather go down the established routes.
What a shame.