Amazon Studios

Back in 2010, Amazon introduced Amazon Studios, which is a crowdsourcing gateway for those that want to contribute to the film industry. Basically, Studios is a division of Amazon that seeks to grow its original digital content offering, but it also works to reward the artists that share their work with them. Since its launch in 2010, the company reports viewing more than 700 test movies and 7,000 scripts. Currently, there are 15 movie projects in development from online submissions.

Most recently, Studios is inviting artists to design animated superhero characters for one of these active projects. It’s no wonder – with The Avengers doing so well and The Dark Knight Rises entering theaters in less than two months – comic book heroes are doing well. Additionally, they recently launched a call for original comedy and children’s series ideas, with the best ones to be released through Amazon Instant Video.

But what I like best about the Amazon Studios model is that although it’s asking for a significant amount of sophisticated creative work (asking artists to not only submit scripts, but production-level video pitches for projects) from the sizable Amazon network, they do insist on paying their artists for all of their contributions (sometimes up to $55,000 and a percentage of the royalties).

Still, a number of critics caution artists to read that contract carefully. For example, an artist surrenders all rights to their intellectual property without compensation if they revise someone else’s script and artists are also not allowed to sell any ideas that they’ve submitted to Amazon Studios elsewhere for a period of two years, whether they’re optioned or not. But Amazon does remind contributors at every turn to read the Amazon Studios contract.

What would you suggest for Amazon Instant Video programming? What do you think of the Amazon Studios crowdsourcing solution?

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