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Genres & Age Categories => Script Writing => Topic started by: H. Pinski on April 18, 2013, 01:52 PM

Title: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on April 18, 2013, 01:52 PM
Kept forgetting to post this.  :slaphead:

Amazon is developing original content (to compete with the likes of Netflix) and is actively seeking kid's programing.

"Children's series can be live action, animated, stop motion or mixed media. We are interested in preschool series for children ages 2-5 like Blue's Clues, Curious George and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Preschool series must have an educational theme or clear potential for one. We are also interested in ideas for children and tweens between the ages of 6-14 such as Phineas and Ferb or iCarly."

http://studios.amazon.com/

FYI, they've changed their terms since first launching, http://filmmakermagazine.com/44170-amazon-studios-revises-terms-for-writers/

Here's an example of a great project that made it to the development slate, http://studios.amazon.com/projects/13359
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: carterhiggins on April 18, 2013, 03:19 PM
Oh wow. Innnnnneresting.

Thanks for posting this!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on March 29, 2014, 08:11 AM
Amazon Studios posted about what type of children's series they're looking for,  http://hollywonk.com/post/80800574079/0326-kids-series?&ref_=pe_astu_newsletter03292nd

I've been through the submission process once and will be submitting again soon, and this time I'm going to blog about my experience. I'll keep you posted!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Vonna on March 29, 2014, 05:39 PM
I'm looking forward to your blog on this, Hilary. You're the trailblazer!  :horse:
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: mariwho on March 30, 2014, 04:43 AM
Thanks, H. Pinski! I'm looking forward to your blog post, too.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Margaret G on March 30, 2014, 08:26 AM
This looks so cool. Thanks for posting. I'll look forward to seeing your blog post!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Schriscoe on March 30, 2014, 08:49 AM
Thanks for posting this H. Pinski!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on April 30, 2014, 10:52 AM
The blog post took so much longer than I expected it to, but here it is!

How to pitch a children's series to Amazon Studios and why you should...kidlit writers, I'm talking to you!... http://tmblr.co/Za-Bzv1EYrIWK

I'm not sure if my comments are working on tumblr. If you try to leave a question/comment there and it doesn't go through, let me know.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on April 30, 2014, 11:18 AM
Great blog post, H. Pinski. Two questions:
- What's the best way to go about learning how to write a script?
- What is the benefit of public access to a script on Amazon?
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on April 30, 2014, 01:22 PM
I agonized over whether to make my first series proposal public or not, Nidhi. I searched the AS forums, I googled, I read everything under the AS guidelines trying to figure out if there was any advantage to making it public.

AS states that they "encourages" public projects but in the end, I honestly don't think it matters and they're going to make the decision based on the strength of the submission and what type of project they want to produce. I decided not to make my first submission public because my mini-bible was very detailed and it's a story I'm still actively looking for a home for (didn't want too much of the plot "out there"). I decided to make my second public because I do feel there are some advantages and wanted to see what it was like. The advantages:

1. Feedback and support. The social component of it was a big draw for me. I loved WriteOnCon and learned so much from the experience that I wanted to open my project up to public feedback. What I've gotten is tons and tons of support. In the end will it matter? Like I said, if AS falls in love with a project, they're going to add it to the development slate whether it's public or private but there's no way that it hurts to have Borislav up to the #2 spot for children and tweens or that Borislav was burning up the AS newsfeed all weekend! That being said, I also don't think it's going to hurt if a public project doesn't get much feedback.

2. Industry eyes outside of AS. A long shot yes, but a private submission has zero chance of being seen by an industry professional roaming the AS site, whereas a public one does. Notable projects are ones that AS has not added to their development slate but they found interesting enough to highlight. You never know who is watching/reading.

3. Community building. If you do it right, even if you only get a handful of people to leave feedback or who get excited about your proposal, it's a handful more than when you started.

I taught myself screenwriting and it wasn't easy, Nidhi! I read tons of books. Some of my favorites are:

1. Writing the Pilot, William Rabkin
2. Writing Screenplays That Sell, Michael Hauge (his Story Master website is great too, http://www.storymastery.com/ (http://www.storymastery.com/))
3. Writing the TV Drama, Pamela Douglas
And this little SP titles is so great for nitty gritty style issues:
4. Your CUT TO: is Showing, by T.J. Alex

We also have a thread here with some other favorites: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=70301.0 (https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=70301.0)

There's also tons of scripts on the internet. The more screenplays you read, the more natural it becomes. WARNING: You can't necessarily learn screenwriting by reading scripts by famous screenwriters. This is where Your CUT TO: is SHOWING comes in. There are things stylistically that JJ Abrams can do that scream newbie in a spec (speculative) script. I learned this the hard way and had to reformat big time!

I'm still learning. It is a challenge to go from prose/narrative to dialogue/action!

Hope this helps...keep those questions coming! I want BBoarders to take over AS!  :yeah
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on April 30, 2014, 01:38 PM
Thanks, Hilary! That's some great info. I am reading your script now. It's hilarious. Good job. I wonder why the script writer has to mention where the camera pans etc. and all the other action. I wonder why that's not the director's job... and just leave the writing to the writer!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: KatherineR on April 30, 2014, 02:33 PM
Fascinating good stuff! Thanks for posting.

 :nothing
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CC on April 30, 2014, 04:11 PM
Just finished reading your blog post and the script from amazon -- what a great concept and the execution is awesome!! Loved the names, the humor, how each character's voice is unique and memorable and denotes their personality in a real and tangible way. And the script itself is super clean and professional looking. That is a ton of work, Hilary, and you did such a good job.  Seriously, this is really, really good.

I added a 5 star rating and comments -- mine came up as anonymous.

Good luck!!  :goldstar I'm rooting for you!!   :jump:
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on April 30, 2014, 04:34 PM
Whaaat?? Carol...you have no idea what that means coming from you! For those of you who don't know, CC is a stalwart on the Script Writers board and knows way more about all this than I do. And you left  :goldstar s and everything???  :wow Thank you!!!  :grouphug2:

I wonder why the script writer has to mention where the camera pans etc. and all the other action. I wonder why that's not the director's job... and just leave the writing to the writer!

Good instincts, Nidhi! Less is more from what I've gathered. You should read the Gortimer script too. David Anaxagoras is brilliant, imo, and he has a screenwriting background. He uses camera directions more, but they work. It's one of the issues that's so well covered in Your CUT TO: is Showing. If you have a Kindle, I can lend this title. Email me @ hpinski@gmail.com if you want to read it.

And thank you for reading Borislav!  :yeah :thankyou :hug
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CC on April 30, 2014, 04:39 PM
CC is a stalwart on the Script Writers board and knows way more about all this than I do.

No, no, no, I do not. Not after reading that! It's so very good. Really. I'm not a gusher or an @$$-kisser, and I can totally see that getting made.

It just made me happy to read it. Just from the first line on. When you can relax and say Ahh... and settle into something you're reading, because you know you're in good hands. It was like that, reading it. And the details -- the lime green bow tie... I mean, come on. You had me at the lime green bow tie!!

I so want this to go somewhere for you!! You deserve it.  :hug
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on April 30, 2014, 04:56 PM
 :cry2 <--tears of joy.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Brian H. on April 30, 2014, 11:09 PM
Thank you Hilary for the inspiration. I am now inspired to finish a pilot script I began about two months ago and had given up on.


Loved your blog post and the the script is really funny (a lot better than Gortimer on Normal Street)
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Alison A on May 01, 2014, 05:46 AM
Hilary,


Your concept and episode guide are great. Fun characters, fun script--and if AS doesn't go forward with this, I hope you submit to an television agent or manager who can get your work out there to other production venues.


Thanks for sharing your journey with this project. Truly fascinating and here's hoping your show gets on the air!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on May 01, 2014, 07:45 AM
GO BRIAN!!!  :horse Keep us posted! I meant it when I said I wanted to BBoarders to infiltrate AS!  :muahaha:

I'm all verklempt by all your reactions to Borislav! Better than Gortimer, Brian???  :faint :hug

...if AS doesn't go forward with this, I hope you submit to an television agent or manager who can get your work out there to other production venues.

If I only knew how.  :sigh It's a lot trickier to learn the ropes than with subbing to lit agents. I will keep going if AS passes though. Thank you, Alison!  :love5:

Whatever I can do to help any of you. If you have questions, or just need some encouragement, let me know. We really are all in this together!  :grouphug2:
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CestMoi on June 24, 2014, 08:25 PM
Hi Hilary!


I just looked at your Borislav files - very impressive! Great writing! What is the status? I'll be really shocked if AS doesn't pick it up.


Thanks for bringing all of this to our attention. I'm in the final stages of polishing a preschool series. I hope to post it soon!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on June 25, 2014, 04:18 AM
CestMoi, I am so excited that you're submitting!  :yeah

My 45 day option period expired on June 9th and was shortly followed by a form email telling me they were passing on the project.  :poop ,  :lol4 . I learned so much from the process and hope you get as much out of it as I did...and better news at the end!  :crossedfingers :goodluck Keep us posted! If anyone else has a kid's series picked up, I want it to be a BBoarder!  :muahaha: :grin3
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CestMoi on June 25, 2014, 07:24 AM
Oh no! I'm so sorry, Hilary! I can't believe they would pass on your series. That makes me extra nervous about mine! :-/

Seems like only industry insiders are getting picked?

I'm so, so sorry. Do you have any other places in mind to send it?
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on June 25, 2014, 07:34 AM
Don't let it make you extra nervous, CestMoi! It's all so subjective and you never know what they are looking for at any given time.

Seems like only industry insiders are getting picked?

That certainly seems to be the trend, but Gortimer Gibbons got picked out of the slush and I do think they get fewer kids submissions than say feature scripts. There is always hope!

I have a handful of queries out to LA managers and have gotten some nibbles so it ain't over for Borislav yet.  :crossedfingers :thanx:


 
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Jeanne Ryan (Serenissima) on June 25, 2014, 10:57 AM
Given the high quality of your Borislav treatment, and all the great reviews it earned, I sure hope you've got another script in the works, Hilary. And that you let us know if you submit again to AS.


 :goodluck :goodluck :goodluck


Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on June 25, 2014, 11:20 AM
Jeanne and CestMoi, you have both made my day with your kind words!  :thanx: :hug
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CC on June 25, 2014, 04:23 PM
Sorry, Hilary. It's so fun, I do hope it finds a home. Fingers crossed for your manager search.  :hug
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Franzilla on June 25, 2014, 06:13 PM
Boo, that is bad news. But I'll keep my fingers crossed that someone else has the sense to pick it up!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on June 25, 2014, 06:33 PM
 :hug CC,  :hug Franzilla. Don't know what I'd do without all of you! Actually, I do. I'd be all  :crazy :bewildered: :pullhair: :cry2 :gaah without you.  :grin3
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on June 27, 2014, 04:17 AM
Hilary, I read your script and thought it was waymore entertaining than the other one posted. I truly loved yours! I am sorry they passed on it. What were they thinking?! I hope you are subbing elsewhere.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on June 27, 2014, 06:15 AM
Nidhi, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you reading Borislav! Seriously, if it wasn't for all the support you guys have given me I probably would have tabled it and moved on.  :thankyou :thankyou :thankyou :grouphug2:

Now, who else is subbing? Brian??? COME ON BLUEBOARDERS!!!  :horse
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CestMoi on June 27, 2014, 07:14 AM
Hilary,
Glad you're subbing it elsewhere! I know somebody will snatch it up! ;-)
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on August 04, 2014, 11:13 AM
Hilary, I noticed you have some posts on the topic way back in 2008. Just curious, did it take 5 years to learn and write out your script for amazon, or was it quicker? I am just starting my journey to learn and don't have too many hours to dedicate during the day. Thanks for your offer to lend the cut to book, but I am on android. I can try to order it. Hope you subbed elsewhere.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on August 04, 2014, 12:35 PM
Hilary, I noticed you have some posts on the topic way back in 2008.

I do?  :eh2 I don't see a 2008 thread...I'm probably missing something. Wouldn't be the first time,  :lol4 .

No, not 5 years at all Nidhi! Let me see if I can remember. It really began when I started playing with the idea of a serialized, digital first novel for middle-grade. The agents I pitched liked the story concept but not the format. So I suppose I had already been practicing with episodic storytelling but I don't think I really began to research screenwriting seriously until November of last year...maybe October...and pitched my first pilot to Amazon Studios at the end of January.

My experience was that it took a bit to wrap my brain around how to build/pace the story and to get a feel for the formatting (i.e., slug line, action, do I insert camera angles?) but once I got the basics down, the rest felt fairly intuitive. It's a comfort thing. At first it feels like you've landed on an alien planet  :beam but I think if you have an instinct for it, and my guess is if you're interested enough to learn screenwriting you're probably drawn to it for a reason, it becomes second nature pretty quick.

The best book I read by far, the one that REALLY made me "get" how storytelling works in television, was Writing the Pilot by William Rabkin. Also, read a ton of scripts. That helped me enormously.

I'm going to PM you my email address -- and I'm happy to do the same for anyone who has questions you don't want to ask in this thread. Subbing to Amazon Studios really was fun and learning screenwriting has made me a better writer. I am more than happy to help in any way I can!

I have subbed Borislav elsewhere and am about to pitch another pilot, so  :crossedfingers !
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on August 04, 2014, 04:08 PM
Thanks a lot, Hilary. I will surely email you when I am done some learning and have questions! Totally inspired by you!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: KelliKM on August 05, 2014, 12:53 PM
Hilary,
Your Borislav concept was awesome! I commend you for putting yourself out there with the public submission. Written works are like our precious loved ones, we want to keep them safe and protected. Keep the faith!! All your hard work WILL pay off!! :yourock


I'm inspired by you!  :thankyou
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on August 05, 2014, 01:35 PM
 :thanx: Nidhi and Kelli! I'm about to send out a new round of subs and this was just the boost I needed!  :hug
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CestMoi on September 15, 2014, 08:03 AM
Oh, boo! They passed on my preschool series. :(
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on September 15, 2014, 08:10 AM
Oh, no...I am sorry, CestMoi.  :hug It's a tough business to break into, that's for sure. All we can do is try!  :flowers2
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CestMoi on September 15, 2014, 08:13 AM
Thanks. Very true - I'm going to look for some other places to send it. ;-)
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on September 15, 2014, 08:34 AM
There aren't many open to submissions and people looking for kids/preschool is even harder, but I dug some up and will PM you with them.  :goodluck
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: KelliKM on September 15, 2014, 12:07 PM
Hi Hilary!
When writing your mini bible did you follow an outline? In other words, are there specific things they require? I read several mini bibles and the content (ie logline, tone, concept, etc) and format seems to vary in each. I like how you wrote yours because it's simple, straightforward, and informative and am using it as a guide for writing mine.  :thanx:

Thanks also to the other members who asked about screenwriting tools. I've noticed there are a bunch of "free" programs out there and wondered the same thing about which is easiest/best to use. Submitting for a tv series is definitely a different world...and a whole new learning curve!  :bewildered:

 :thanks2
Kelli
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on September 15, 2014, 04:21 PM
GOOOO, Kelli!  :yeah Another BBoarder taking the dive!  :crossedfingers

In my research, I wasn't able to find anything akin to a standard series bible format so I did what you've done, read a few and went with what felt right. What they're looking for more than anything is do you have an idea for a pilot or a series? I'm glad you're finding mine helpful. I was going to delete BORISLAV off the AS site, but decided to keep it up a little longer in case BBoarders from this thread go looking for it to get an idea of what all of this is about!

I use Adobe Story, https://story.adobe.com/en-us/index.html#o, and really like it. I use the Film format, not television. When subbing (to Amazon or even managers or producers) everyone at this stage is happy with a PDF (the biggest plus to using Adobe is that it converts, for obvious reasons, flawlessly) so you don't need the industry standard programs like Final Draft...yet. That comes when they sign you and you need to start doing re-writes.  :grin3

Keep posting your questions here or PM me and I will do my best to help in any way I can!  :gogirl :shootingstar
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on September 16, 2014, 04:50 PM
A question to all the talented screen writers here...
For animated movies that have songs, what is the best way to go about these songs when writing a screenplay? Do we learn to write our own song, or do we just mention something like,
...and she sings, "Song Name"
and let the production house decide on a song writer to write the song?
Alternatively, do we just continue with the script (without mentioning the song, and hence cutting the page count), and let the readers decide if they want to put a song anywhere at all?

I'm loving where this entire thread is going... lots of great info.
Thanks all!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on September 16, 2014, 05:09 PM
 Wait! I read something about this, Nidhi, when doing my research. Course now I can't remember where.  :hiding3 I'll browse my books unless someone else who knows more about all this answers first!  :grin3

GO SCREENWRITING BBOARDERS, GO!!!  :yay
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on September 16, 2014, 05:15 PM
Thanks, Hilary! Let me know what you find. The only thing I read in the Cat book was that we can't mention existing songs because of copyright issues, but I havent read anything about if we feel a song should be inserted.

BTW, Hilary, thanks to you, I have read the Cat book, as well as the Cut To one. I've written my beat sheet, and am now 25 pages in. Exciting!!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on September 16, 2014, 06:17 PM
I think it was in Cut To that I saw it and it was the copyright issue that stood out. I'll let you know when I find it.

GOOOOOOO, Nidhi!!!  :horse :horse :horse I AM SO EXCITED!!!  :hairdude :gogirl :proud :typing
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on September 16, 2014, 06:59 PM
Thanks, Hilary! I do hope I get somewhere with this.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: KelliKM on September 17, 2014, 01:50 PM
THANKS, HILARY!!   :thankyou for paving the way with AS and introducing a new avenue to get our stories out there!
The information you shared and reassuring hand-holding  :hug is so encouraging! Rewriting my ms in screenwriting format (for a preschool series) is a learning process but fun at the same time as I imagine the character coming to life on screen. I love the creative process!

Good luck to you, Nidhi...and any other bboarders taking the plunge!   :love5:

Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CestMoi on September 25, 2014, 07:57 AM
I wrote the songs for my preschool series because the words were important to the story. I figured they could always change them if they weren't happy with them.  :grin3
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on September 25, 2014, 11:07 AM
Ok, thanks for sharing, c'est moi. I checked on another messaging board, and they compared it to a musical, and said I'd be better off staying away from writing the song, since the song is intented to move the story forward and such lyrics should be written by proffessional song writers. So here I am trying to now fill 4.5 more pages with words.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: jenklein on September 26, 2014, 08:16 AM
Just chiming in to say I'm sorry I don't know much on the song-writing front for features. I've only written animation for TV and we've generally had lyrics written for us. That being said , there are a couple episodes here and there where I wrote lyrics that ended up being used. On a feature I would think you could insert lyrics if they were good and seemed necessary for propelling the story forward... but there's an excellent chance I don't know what I'm talking about. :)

Good luck to you all!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on September 26, 2014, 08:40 AM
But there's a way better chance that Jen knows what she's talking about than say, me.  :grin3

 :thankyou, Jen!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on October 22, 2014, 03:25 AM
Hilary and others, just wondering if any of you tried to get an agent? I've heard it's a million times harder compared to books. Specially for animation.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on October 22, 2014, 05:04 AM
Million and one times harder, not to be discouraging! Very few, if any agents that handle screenplays are open to queries (industry referral is how it happens). The best route is to try for a manager first, but again, very few management companies are open to queries. You can pitch production companies too, that's another way to go.

Join IMBdPro for contact info of open agents/managers and check Done Deal Pro forums for info (although be forewarned, it ain't nothing like the BBoards!)

I didn't pitch animation so my list might be useless but PM me if you want it! It's harder, but it only takes one and you won't get anywhere if you don't try, right?  :grin3
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on October 22, 2014, 07:31 AM
Thanks Hilary. This is the depressing part for sure. I'll PM you for the list. BTW, did you copyright your sceries? What if you need to make edits?
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: jenklein on October 22, 2014, 08:43 AM
Extremely rare to find US representation if not living in Los Angeles or New York. Animation heavy agencies are Gotham, Metropolis, Natural Talent, Maggie Roiphe Agency. There are others but those come first to mind.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on October 22, 2014, 04:42 PM
Nidhi, I registered the scripts through WGA, https://www.wgawregistry.org/webrss/

Small fee, but well worth it. Several management and production companies that requested reads required me to sign a release form and give my registration number.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on October 23, 2014, 07:08 AM
Thanks, Jen and Hilary!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: CestMoi on October 23, 2014, 01:42 PM
Hi Nidhi,

I contacted two of the places Jen mentioned. No response - boo! :(
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on October 30, 2014, 07:16 AM
Ok, people! I finally have a first draft!

Ms. Pinski,  would you do the kind honors and help with a proofread when you have some time? No pressure, but  you started this, so you pay the price ;-)

Also, is there anyone else who can help me with a critique? I will be happy to critique your screenplay back. I can use all the set of eyes I can get for this, since it's my first time. My screenplay is about 90 pages and I have tried to the best of my ability to adhere to the cat book and the cut to book. Painful, but it's finally done!

Thanks :-)
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on October 30, 2014, 12:45 PM
Nidhi!!! Congratulations!!!  :stars3

Here's the thing. You've got like 2 or 3 episodes in one. AS is only looking for 11 to 22 minute children's series. From their guidelines:

We encourage single-cam (single-spaced) scripts to be 36 pages or fewer; multi-cam (double-spaced) scripts, 54 pages or fewer.

And they more than encourage it, I've heard scripts any longer than 36 and mini-bibles any longer than 6 pages go into the auto-reject pile. No one knows for sure, but I wouldn't risk it after all this hard work!

The good news? When they  :phone you because they love it and want to see more, you'll have another completed script ready to go!

And I may have started it, but ya'll have been  :crazy enough to follow.  :naughty

Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on October 30, 2014, 04:23 PM
Actually, mine is a movie screenplay. They take upto 130 pages for that. Mine is currently 91. So I am safe for now. :-)
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on October 30, 2014, 04:34 PM
Sorry, Hilary, I just realized this thread was for the series. I had checkout out Amazon guidelines and decided to try my luck at an animated movie, hence the 90 pages   :jackolantern
I've heard animated are the toughest to sell. But it was a good experience and fun writing it. Keeping my hopes up  for whenever I feel I am ready to submit to them :-)
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on October 30, 2014, 04:50 PM
 :lol5, Nidhi! You wrote a feature length animated film!!!  :wow :bow I also forgot to mention in my last reply that I would be more than happy to look at it! Feel free to email it to hpinski @ gmail dot com.  :yourock
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Nidhi on October 30, 2014, 07:20 PM
Thanks, Hilary! I thought I scared you off with the page count. :-)

Celtx is acting up, and doing some strange things on converting to PDF. Looks like I will have to use Adobe Story after all! I will do that and email you as soon as the conversion is complete.
Thanks again!  :yourock
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: dee-leone on February 12, 2015, 05:58 PM
 :flowers2
I agonized over whether to make my first series proposal public or not, Nidhi. I searched the AS forums, I googled, I read everything under the AS guidelines trying to figure out if there was any advantage to making it public.

AS states that they "encourages" public projects but in the end, I honestly don't think it matters and they're going to make the decision based on the strength of the submission and what type of project they want to produce. I decided not to make my first submission public because my mini-bible was very detailed and it's a story I'm still actively looking for a home for (didn't want too much of the plot "out there"). I decided to make my second public because I do feel there are some advantages and wanted to see what it was like. The advantages:

1. Feedback and support. The social component of it was a big draw for me. I loved WriteOnCon and learned so much from the experience that I wanted to open my project up to public feedback. What I've gotten is tons and tons of support. In the end will it matter? Like I said, if AS falls in love with a project, they're going to add it to the development slate whether it's public or private but there's no way that it hurts to have Borislav up to the #2 spot for children and tweens or that Borislav was burning up the AS newsfeed all weekend! That being said, I also don't think it's going to hurt if a public project doesn't get much feedback.

2. Industry eyes outside of AS. A long shot yes, but a private submission has zero chance of being seen by an industry professional roaming the AS site, whereas a public one does. Notable projects are ones that AS has not added to their development slate but they found interesting enough to highlight. You never know who is watching/reading.

3. Community building. If you do it right, even if you only get a handful of people to leave feedback or who get excited about your proposal, it's a handful more than when you started.

I taught myself screenwriting and it wasn't easy, Nidhi! I read tons of books. Some of my favorites are:

1. Writing the Pilot, William Rabkin
2. Writing Screenplays That Sell, Michael Hauge (his Story Master website is great too, http://www.storymastery.com/ (http://www.storymastery.com/))
3. Writing the TV Drama, Pamela Douglas
And this little SP titles is so great for nitty gritty style issues:
4. Your CUT TO: is Showing, by T.J. Alex

We also have a thread here with some other favorites: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=70301.0 (https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=70301.0)

There's also tons of scripts on the internet. The more screenplays you read, the more natural it becomes. WARNING: You can't necessarily learn screenwriting by reading scripts by famous screenwriters. This is where Your CUT TO: is SHOWING comes in. There are things stylistically that JJ Abrams can do that scream newbie in a spec (speculative) script. I learned this the hard way and had to reformat big time!

I'm still learning. It is a challenge to go from prose/narrative to dialogue/action!

Hope this helps...keep those questions coming! I want BBoarders to take over AS!  :yeah

Hillary,

I was wondering if your project is still posted on the Amazon site anywhere. I know this topic is old. If you have a link to it, I would love to read your script even if it is posted elsewhere now. I'm currently working on an animated project. Thanks for any help.

Dee
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on February 12, 2015, 06:07 PM
Dee, I'm still actively pitching another script so I left Borislav up and out there, if you know what I mean. It can't hurt, right?  :grin3

http://studios.amazon.com/projects/48147

 :goodluck and keep us posted!  :yeah Between the *cough* three, or four, or five of us, we must keep the Script Writers boards alive!   :legolas
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: dee-leone on February 12, 2015, 08:17 PM
Thanks, I just downloaded your mini-bible and pilot script. I hope to get a chance to read them soon. I'm glad someone pointed out this board conversation.

From the Amazon Studios home page, I still don't know how to access the public scripts that aren't in development. If I don't have a direct link like the one you just gave me, do I have to register to see those or am I missing a category somehow? I think I clicked on just about everything.

Do you have an agent for your scripts?

Yes, I hope this section stays alive. Thanks, I just downloaded your mini-bible and pilot script. I hope to get a chance to read them soon. I'm glad someone pointed out this board conversation.

From the Amazon Studios home page, I still don't know how to access the public scripts that aren't in development. If I don't have a direct link like the one you just gave me, do I have to register to see those or am I missing a category somehow? I think I clicked on just about everything.

Do you have an agent for your scripts?

Yes, I hope this section stays alive.  :gold star 
Good luck with your new idea.   :good luck
 :thanx

Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on February 13, 2015, 07:53 AM
Dee, they redesigned their website awhile ago and don't make them easy to find. On the homepage, scroll all the way down. All the way. At the very bottom is a see all series link, http://studios.amazon.com/series

On that page, in the upper left hand corner, you'll see the categories.

Getting an agent to rep your screenplays is a lot different, and a lot harder, than getting an agent to rep your books. In fact, it is nearly impossible to land a TV lit agent and very few are even open to unsolicited pitches. The best route is to pitch managers (it's a very different system out in LA), which are different from agents. That being said, even finding managers open to pitches is hard, but not impossible. Also look for production companies open to pitches. I've gotten a fair few reads from both managers and production companies but no deal yet. I should also tell you, not being in LA is a HUGE disadvantage. Jen Klein commented on this earlier in this thread, https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=67234.msg910746#msg910746

The upside? New media outlets (digital) = need for more content. YouTube just announced it's getting back into the originals game. In fact, their head of Family/EDU, Malik Ducard, will be the keynote at the 2015 Kidscreen summit and the Austin Film Festival screenplay contest has created a whole new category for scripted digital series.

Yup, it's hard for an outsider to break in. Hollywood is very closed circuit, if you will, but I still contend that there's huge opportunities for content creators in this market. Hope springs eternal, right?  :stars3

Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: dee-leone on February 13, 2015, 08:35 AM
Hilary,

I feel like I just gained access to the fountain of screenplay knowledge. Thanks so much for all the information. Even if I never get my script produced, at least it's been a blast writing it. I just finished another draft.

Thank you!  :thank you

P.S. - I don't know why the smiley's work for me sometimes and not others. Yesterday, in the same response, some showed up and some didn't. ???
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on February 13, 2015, 01:10 PM
 :lol4, Dee! I'm still learning, but am truly happy to share whatever fount I have! It is fun, isn't it?  :love5

Oh, and the smilies, are you typing in the code or clicking on them? I noticed your :thankyou below has a space in between thank and you and the code it colonthankyou all together. :shrug
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: dee-leone on February 13, 2015, 01:54 PM
I've tried both ways, usually just clicking on them. They used to show up as working in the preview. Now they don't for some reason. Maybe I need to update something on my computer.

I'll try clicking three and see if they show once I post even though the preview isn't showing them as working:  :thankyou :thanx :yeah
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: oryfan on February 17, 2015, 08:09 AM
Glad this thread is still active. Question. I have two ideas I'm submitting. One is for the preschool genre and doesn't have a script. It's stated on their site that a script is encouraged though not needed for this genre, but would it be better to submit one anyway?
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on February 17, 2015, 08:37 AM
I think all we can do it speculate here, oryfan, as none of us really know about the decision making process at AS. My gut tells me that if they're not requiring a script, a strong concept will be enough. If you think about it, Hollywood deal-making is just about the opposite of publishing. In Hollywood, so much is based on the strength of the pitch/concept, whereas in publishing, the pitch means nothing if you can't execute it into a completed work, because there are no staffed writers' rooms at a publishing house!

Since AS does not even guarantee your future involvement with the project even if they do greenlight it, what they're probably looking for first and foremost is a  :wow idea. Of course, it can't hurt to show them you can write a script too!

 :goodluck oryfan!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Elaine (aka sweetpea) on February 17, 2015, 08:41 AM
I'm late to all this, but how exciting!

See what I miss when I spend a year doing endless rewrites and wallow in my inability to write something new?   :bewildered
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: dee-leone on February 17, 2015, 09:33 AM
Oryfan,

As H. says, you can only guess, but I know some so-called script agents have blogged that many people in Hollywood don't even bother to read screenplays. They make decisions based on concepts.

Whatever you decide, :clover with your idea!

P.S. - If that smiley doesn't work, it's probably because I haven't figured out what I need to update on my computer. They used to work just fine.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on February 17, 2015, 09:42 AM
*waves to Elaine* Endless rewrites = better writer. Better writer = something new. It will come, Elaine...I know it will!  :writing3 :hug I've been so busy I haven't gotten over to your plot thread yet. I'm sorry!  :hiding

dee, the smiley worked!  :yeah
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: oryfan on February 17, 2015, 10:24 AM
Thank you for your responses! That's pretty much my line of thinking, that a strong pitch is most important here.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: dee-leone on March 16, 2015, 10:54 AM
H.,

I read Borislav and enjoyed it. Congratulations on getting it out there.  :yourock

I just finished what I hope is my final draft of a full-length animation feature. That's probably the hardest thing to find representation for because the majors develop everything in house, but I wrote it in my house so I figure that should count, right?  :lol4

It was a blast to write. Now I have to get it registered. My lit agent has someone she works with for screenplays, but the person may not take animation, so i need to discuss that with her. Fingers crossed.

Good luck with your newest work!  :goodluck
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on March 16, 2015, 11:12 AM
:congratulations, dee!!!  :yeah Keep us posted and  :crossedfingers on the agent connection.  :goodluck

So glad you enjoyed Borislav and thanks for the read. Much appreciated!  :stars3

Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Elaine (aka sweetpea) on June 28, 2015, 04:32 PM
Cool concepts! Good luck everyone!!
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: geraldine-duchatelier on July 08, 2015, 11:18 AM
Whew!! Such a wealth of information!! Which is a good thing. I am new to all of this and have some ideas and co-author with someone who has some ideas as well. Does anyone recommend registering a show, movie, play or series screenplay manuscript for copyright?
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Pons on July 08, 2015, 11:26 AM
I'm no expert, but the way I understand it, as soon as you commit an idea, script, or whatever to paper, it is considered yours and is protected by copyright laws. Sending a ms off with the comment that it has been copyrighted brands you as a newbie :sailor.

That being said, if I'm wrong, please someone correct me. Also, troll around online and see what you can find out.  :eyeballs
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Verla Kay on July 09, 2015, 05:35 AM
I'm no expert, but the way I understand it, as soon as you commit an idea, script, or whatever to paper, it is considered yours and is protected by copyright laws. Sending a ms off with the comment that it has been copyrighted brands you as a newbie :sailor.

That being said, if I'm wrong, please someone correct me. Also, troll around online and see what you can find out.  :eyeballs

This is the copyright law in the USA. I don't know about copyrights in other countries but in the United States publishers will normally get the copyrights for you.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: mrh on July 09, 2015, 06:13 AM
Pons and Verla are right. I am not a lawyer, but in the US, your copyright exists from the moment of creation. The publisher will normally register the copyright in your name (and pay the fee for that) when the book is published. Registration confers certain greater benefits if you have an infringement case that goes to court, but does not create your copyright. That exists from the start.
Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: H. Pinski on July 09, 2015, 07:27 AM
Geraldine, once you have a script completed and ready to submit, it is advisable to register it with the Writer's Guild of America. It's a simple online form and there's a small fee, but it will protect you. http://www.wgawregistry.org/

You can register a concept, but honestly I don't think it would be worth it -- and considering how quickly a concept can change once in development, you're better off waiting until you have a script you feel is good enough to send out.

You don't have to register the script to submit it to Amazon Studios but some management/production companies won't read until you've given them a WGA registry # and signed a release.

:goodluck

Title: Re: Amazon Studios is looking for children's series
Post by: Pons on July 09, 2015, 08:48 AM
Hilary, you are a wealth of information. Thanks for sharing.