Amazon Studios, InkTip Updates

When it comes to waiting for script competition results, I’m a bit superstitious. I’ll try not to visit those websites or screenwriting message boards until I’ve gotten an email or call from the contest administrator. I even visualize myself receiving the “Congratulations!” message we all want to see in our inbox. So when I didn’t get any personal emails from Amazon Studios today in regards to the top 50 semifinalists selections, I presumed I didn’t make the cut.

But I had a smidgen of hope and thought perhaps they were a little behind in sending out individual notifications. I decided to check their site, scrolled down the page and spotted my LEGENDS OF THE MENEHUNE script among the 50 that are still in the running. I’m sure there were many good screenplays that were passed over or just missed, and it stings to see stuff listed that may not appeal to your tastes. Hey, it sucks… 50 people are happy (correction: 45, since one guy had five scripts make it; another had two), while over 2,000 writers are disappointed or downright pissed.

Truth be told, I thought my INUGAMI script had the better chance of advancing. However, MENEHUNE is a big budget studio type project, which is why I entered it. Agents and managers rarely will go out with that kind of spec from an unproduced writer, and when I saw that Warner Bros. was involved with the Amazon Studios venture, I figured it was worth a shot. Next week I’ll learn whether I’m one of the six finalists for the first two $20,000 screenwriting awards they’ll be handing out. Visualize, visualize

The “congrats” email arrived about a half hour later. As a semifinalist, I get my choice of an Amazon Studios t-shirt, cap or coffee mug. Of course, I’d rather be offered representation or a personal intro to a development exec at Warner Bros., but I’ll take what I can get for now. Here’s the link to the Amazon Studios home page and the Top 50 list.


In my last blog entry, I wrote about my positive experiences with InkTip, where you can list your scripts for the consideration of industry professionals at a cost of $60 for six months. You post a logline, synopsis, upload your script, check off categories and budget ranges, which are then read by producers, agents and managers (if they’re interested, that is). As I said before, I think it’s a good venue for indie or lower budget projects — especially if you’re not having much luck with querying producers or managers directly. (Click here for InkTip link.)

One thing I do is Google anyone who shows up on my activity log as having read the synopsis or downloaded the script. Normally, I won’t contact them directly to follow-up, because they’ll call or email you if they like your stuff. Sometimes though I’ll read their IMDB credits or see they’re doing certain type films, and if I think they’d be a really good fit for a script of mine, I’ll send them an email. That’s how I found out a producer actually loved my script — but felt it was out of their budget range, so they hadn’t contacted me. Had I not followed up, that would have been the end of it.

We got to talking about the possibility of them partnering with one of the other prodcos that had shown interest in the same script, and when I contacted those producers, a funny thing happened: now that one producer was serious about ponying up at least $600K, three other small companies have said they might want to partner on the movie. Which created an unexpected problem. The first prodco isn’t so sure they want to bring in another partner since they might have to give up control of the project. I’m waiting to hear from the $600K producer/director, who has lots of TV/movie experience, to see if he thinks they really can do it solo. I’d have to rewrite the script though to lower the budget, so that would be another hurdle to clear.

Meanwhile, I’m going to visualize myself getting the “Congratulations, You’re a Finalist!” email from Amazon next Monday, and imagine a happy outcome for the DOLL project. I’d like to be one of the InkTip success stories you hear about… as a matter of fact, I know a writer who got his big break through InkTip, and I’ll share more on that in the future.

So, do any of you “visualize” success when it comes to your writing projects? Any superstitions regarding writing or contests?

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4 Comments on “Amazon Studios, InkTip Updates”

  1. I try to visualize success, but until you try it, you don’t realize how hard it is. The minute you begin thinking of all the reasons you should succeed, doubt starts creeping in and climbing over everything. I actually was visualizing success when I got my agent and when a book of mine finally sold. But you have to keep those thoughts positive, and that’s where I fall short. I always wind up thinking about my shortcomings instead of my talent. Positive thinking is a full time job, but it works if you can do it. You’ve inspired me — I’m going to try it again. I’ll let you know what great things happen.

    • richfigel Says:

      For you blog readers, gotta tell you something: Lycan Librarian is too humble. Over the Christmas holidays, I saw her “Little Women and Werewolves” book on display at Borders in Hawaii, along with other mash-ups and “quirky humor” titles. THAT inspired me! My script is just a script. But she has a real book out there being sold all over the world.

      Just keep looking at your book, CP. That’s an example of visualization working! You came up with a high concept premise that your agent could sell in one line: Little Women and Werewolves. Then you wrote it. Then it sold. Then it got published. Voila! You did it once, now go do it again.

  2. Congrats on making the semifinalists. There are some great writers with some excellent scripts, so the competition was keen. Best of luck on winning and getting your project(s) made. Amazon Studios is a great new opportunity.

    • richfigel Says:

      Thanks, Robert! I’ve been meaning to read your scripts, but have been swamped with work since the holidays… The good thing about Amazon is that it’s an ongoing competition, so regardless of what happens with the first contest, you still could be in the running for the next one.

      That said, I still wish there was more transparency in the judging process. I have no idea who read our scripts or how many reads we got before they whittled it down to 50 semifinalists. Was there a score card system, or did the readers/judges get together and talk about their favorites? Were the judges from Amazon, Warner Bros. or hired readers?

      Anyhow, good luck to you Robert. I know you’re a pro writer too — books published, right? And you teach screenwriting, so you know how subjective this stuff is!

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