Amazon launches Storywriter screenplay software to feed Prime productions
Fri 20 Nov 2015
On Thursday, Amazon launched a free screenwriting tool called Storywriter, which they hope will help connect talented writers to their original content production company, Amazon Studios.
Storywriter provides automatic formatting, putting the screenplay into the accepted format as you type. Your work is then synced across all of your devices (computer, tablet, phone) through your Amazon account, and can be accessed offline through installation of a free Chrome app which then automatically syncs your work when you are online again. An import/export function makes it possible to bring existing scripts to the Storywriter tool, and all work is automatically saved to the cloud.
And finally, the unique selling point – you can automatically submit the finished product to Amazon Studios, through their ‘open-door process’, to be reviewed and considered for development.
Providing a screenwriting tool that allows easy submission for production consideration is a clever next-step in Amazon Studios bid for original content to rival its primary competitors: Netflix and increasingly, Hulu.
There are lots of screenwriting software programs and apps, from Final Draft, the self-proclaimed ‘industry standard’ for $249.99; or Celtx, which offers a free version with paid upgrades to features and storage. Writer Duet is free, and offers video and chat features aimed at promoting collaboration on dual-writer projects.
Amazon has incorporated many of these features in Storywriter, but it ultimately sets itself apart by the connection to Amazon Studios. Screenwriters have an easy, seamless method for submitting work to an actual studio for consideration for production, and Amazon Studios has a connection to a large pool of potential talent.
Amazon Studios has been getting excellent reviews from the creators of shows already in production. In an interview with the Verge, Roman Coppola said the company was ‘hands-on in the right way, and hands-off in the right way as well.’ Jill Soloway, creator of Transparent, said, ‘Amazon had this really amazing vision for letting artists do their thing without a ton of the usual levels of interference.’
Amazon Studio’s first production through their open-door process premiered last year. Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, a series aimed at children aged 6-11, received excellent reviews from critics and viewers alike, with an 8.1/10 star rating on IMDB. It has also had popular and critical success with Bosch (8.3 stars) and Mozart in the Jungle (8.2).
While Amazon has yet to achieve the popular success of an Orange is the New Black, tapping into a new connection between talent and production and raising the bar for creative content is a contest in which discerning viewers are ultimately the winners.