Well, this is interesting. Having established its own publishing arm and film production shingle, Amazon is making its move into original television programming, with an emphasis on — wait for it — “original children’s programming and primetime comedy series.”
Of course, they aren’t looking for everyone’s ideas. Perhaps envisioning how quickly their servers would explode if every aspiring TV mogul started pitching them ideas, Amazon has made it clear upfront that they’re only optioning one a month — and the terms, at least on the surface, don’t sound all that great; I’m sure there’s more to the deal, but the AV Club only mentions that “Amazon will then pay its creator $55,000 and give them up to 5 percent of the merchandising revenues plus additional royalties.”
Not that $55,000 is anything to sneeze at — and a percentage of merchandising can add up to a whole hell of a lot, just ask George Lucas — but if those terms are ironclad and the project takes off, they can start to look pretty small. (Also, that five percent is from net merchandising.)
All that aside, this is still an intriguing avenue for anyone with a killer idea for a TV show and limited access to, you know, funds and/or distribution. Based on the kids’ projects in development at Amazon’s film studio, the field should be wide open on the TV side. Why, if I had an idea for a series, I’d send it in right now. Here’s what you should be pitching:
We are looking for character-driven original ideas that speak to children between the ages of 2-14. 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.
Anyway, if you’re interested, click here to get started. You’ll need to know how to write a screenplay, but there are plenty of books for that (and Amazon sells them!)