Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

Amazon Is Taking Over the World, and You Can Get a Piece of the Action

All twelve of you who read my blogs know I like to make fun of Hollywood. But most of that stems from pure jealousy. As a (temporarily) failed TV writer, I want to be those people. I’m aware that makes me a hypocrite. I’ve made peace with that.

*Writer’s note: nothing I’ve said about J-Lo has been out of jealousy. She’s just awful.*

As I haven’t given up on my dream just yet, I’m always looking for new avenues to open up the one door that leads me to a Malibu mansion and enough fame to beat up a couple people, drunkenly crash a car, steal a car, steal some jewelry, test positive for drugs and only get a couple weeks of house arrest (seriously, how is Lindsay Lohan not in prison?)

And thanks to Amazon’s quest to expand into total global domination, I have a new way in!

Almost all of you have bought something from in your lifetime. And I’m willing to bet that for most of you it was either a movie or a season of your favorite television show. (I’ve only bought text books; I love learning!)

Introducing...Amazon Studios!

Introducing…Amazon Studios!

Well, when Amazon sells those to you, they have to pay royalties to the studios that produced the content. They realized that was silly. So now Amazon has unveiled:

Amazon Studios!

Amazon is expanding its brand into the production realm, with the focus on developing innovative new ideas with clever, original content. In a world saddled with craptacular shows like Keeping Up With the Kardashians and America’s Got Talent (spoiler alert: no it doesn’t), this is a breath of proverbial fresh air.

For now, you won’t be seeing any of their work on the small screen. They’re taking a cue from Hulu’s Battleground and Netflix Streaming’s Lillyhammer. The content Amazon Studios is developing will be for the web as a part of Amazon Instant Video.

There is one major difference. Amazon isn’t seeking out the high priced writers and producers with the snazzy, fast talking agents. They’re going to the people who have made Amazon the global giant it is today: normal, everyday people (they’re called “normies” in The Biz). Talk about building brand loyalty.

Got a TV show idea? Here's how it works.

Got a TV show idea? Here’s how it works.

How it works: Anybody with a good story idea for a TV series and a pilot script (that’s what the very first episode of a show is called) is being called to arms. You have those two items? Good.

You submit both of these genius items to Amazon. Within 45 days, Amazon will look at your ideas and determine if they want to take the next step: moving your stuff onto the Development Slate (and paying the writer a handsome bonus).

Once there it goes through a rigorous process where your script will surely be shredded to bits, re-written at least 10 times, and created to be funny and something that the money-men will back. When they do, the episode is filmed, and IF you’re one of the lucky few, your series will have a chance to run on Amazon Instant Video.

There is also a similar contest going on for films, that includes a deal with Warner Brothers Pictures.

Brand expansion is the goal of any company. When Amazon started, I doubt their own TV and movie studio was anywhere in their plans. If so, it was probably a footnote in a pipe dream. Look how fast things can change, though, when a brand does right by the people who help it succeed.

Go forth with your world domination, Amazon. And for the love of all that is holy, TAKE ME WITH YOU!

Will you participate in this initiative from Amazon Studios? Do you agree that the company is expanding their brand by involving creative fans?


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  1. Cybernetic SAM

    Oh SO many ideas!!!!!!!!!! I think Joe is going to have to take a day off so that he can be my stenographer as I dictate the next hit television show……….I know, how about “THAT 90’s Show” or “2 and 24/25 Men” — a show about 2 men and one monkey (get it? cuz our biology is 96% similar)! Charlie Sheen can be the monkey.

    • Jeff Porretto

      You mathed! I’m so proud! *tear*

      • Alex Brodsky

        A math joke AND a biology joke all in one post! Impressive work, Sam

  2. Jeff Porretto

    I’m a huge fan of these types of initiatives. I know the work out fiscally for the parent company, but it’s still nice that there’s room for those that aren’t bank-rolled by corporations. With all the major players usually focused primarily on reboots and sequels, innovation seems to take a back seat. But the times they are a changing… Xbox live, apps, and now Amazon. I like where this is heading!

    And I’m calling you “Hollywood” from now on…

    • Alex Brodsky

      get me and Doc together, and we have the most ultimate Tag Team name of all-time: The Doc Hollywoods!

      Innovation has definitely taken a back seat to money, especially when it comes to Hollywood. I also think there’s a lot of sheer laziness.

      “Well, either we come up with this whole new idea, develop it and make it awesome… OR we add a mustache to this guy and make a sequel. That’ll be hilarious!”

  3. Mandy Kilinskis

    I’m seriously impressed with Amazon for taking on this initiative. I think it’s awesome that they want to put power in the “everyman’s” hands. Cutting out the “you really have to KNOW someone” part of Hollywood is kinda awesome.

    Alex, when you start writing/pitching TV series, let me know if you need a second pair of eyes. (Read as: I’m funny, let me help you!!!)

    Sidenote: I’m going to have to take off a week to work on a film script. I hope that’s okay…

    • Alex Brodsky

      When I was out in L.A., I got to work as a script editor for a pilot that was being filmed. It was awful. The production was bad, but they were working from a very poor script. I had to REALLY force myself to finish it (and it was only about 25 pages).

      That was when I learned that in LA, it’s NOT what you know, it’s who you know. You can have a brilliant script go un-read for a decade while the crappiest garbage ever spewed onto paper gets made because “they know a guy.”

      Amazon’s initiative changes all this and in essence is actually taking on Hollywood and trying to change their structure.

      Only time will tell if this will make a difference, but it’ll be interesting to see what effect (if any) this has.

      Also, I give you permission to take a week off! Let me know what you come up with.

  4. Rachel

    This is a very cool thing that Amazon is doing. I’m really curious to see what type of content makes it to the actual production stage and whether or not it’s successful. Thanks for the info, Alex!

    • Alex Brodsky

      On the page, you can actually follow along with the progress of certain ideas. Ones that have been added to the “development slate” can be viewed for others to comment on and the like.

      This is to help add more perspective and really allows the entire Amazon community to share ideas and develop shows without people really needing to buckle down and write a full script.

  5. Jen

    This is such a cool idea! The people over at Amazon are going to have a good time watching all the pilots people send in. I can’t even imagine all of the crappy videos they are going to get. Great blog Alex, I can’t wait to see how this pans out for Amazon.

    • Eric

      God bless those poor souls – interns, I’m guessing? – that have to screen all the submissions. If this helps get someone’s work that would otherwise be unnoticed, all the more power to Amazon. There’s a lot of talent in this country and sadly, only a small minority of it is ever produced because of the production costs that come with making a hit series.

      • Alex Brodsky

        Oh I’m sure it’s the lowly, unpaid chaps who have to wade through all of it. But they’re also the ones who will be more apt to pass along something a bit challenging, because it’ll be different than the monotonous poop and fart jokes that most of these scripts surely are.

  6. Jill Tooley

    If I wasn’t TERRIFIED of losing my stories’ integrity by submitting them, then I totally would. Maybe I could whip up a script anyway, specifically for the purpose of Amazon? Hmmm…

    Are YOU submitting anything, Mr. Brodsky? I’m sure you’re brimming with ideas, right? An Alex original show would be the best thing on television right now! 🙂

    P.S. Your “spoiler alert” line is gold.

    • Alex Brodsky

      I say whip something up! It certainly can’t hurt. And getting a story stolen/wrecked is definitely a fear of any writer. There are a few protections (like registering it with the Writer’s Guild of America), but nothing is 100% safe when it’s in strangers’ hands.

      But for me, I say if somebody steals it, or changes it so bad that it’s unrecognizable, I’ll just come up with a better one.

      As for myself, I’m definitely submitting one (or potentially more) to this. And thanks for the TOTAL confidence booster! With Dan Harmon gone, I might even agree that I could pull off the best thing on TV. 🙂

  7. Candice J.

    Good luck Alex! My writing ability is no where near as good as would be need for a endeavor such as this but I applaud anyone who does. I agree with Jill I’m sure an Alex Brodsky show would be AMAZING!

  8. bbonnet

    Amazon is rumored to be creating a new Android based smart phone now also… They might even make it free with an Amazon Prime membership! 🙂

    Total world domination, here we come!

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