An Announcement by Amazon Studios:

Amazon StudiosAmazon Studios is accepting applications now from filmmakers for the opportunity to receive up to $40,000 to create a test movie – an inexpensive, full-length visualization that tells the whole story of a script in a compelling way. We will be choosing up to two separate projects to fund, based on proposals we receive by Aug. 19, 2011.

“We’re always looking for ways to make it easier to create test movies, such as our free music library, and this experiment is another part of that effort,” said Amazon Studios Chief Roy Price.

You can make a test movie proposal for any script on the site – you just need to explain what makes the story worthwhile. Semifinalists, finalists and winners of Amazon Studios script awards are our favorites, so should be considered a good place to start. And you can ask for any amount of money, up to $40,000, but remember – we will need to know exactly what your plans are for using that money to create something great. It isn’t necessarily better to propose a $5,000 test movie rather than a $40,000 version. But whatever your requested budget, it should clearly “add up” as part of a realistic production plan.

These are the details for this opportunity:

  • The application deadline is Aug. 19, 2011.  We will evaluate and notify selected filmmakers by early September. Funded test movies will need to be complete by Nov. 15.
  • Our intention is to work out a consulting arrangement with the writer(s) of the scripts on which the test movies that we fund will be based and if we can work out that arrangement, pay the writer 20% of the budget as a consulting fee. Filmmakers do not need to build this in to their proposal. For example, if the budget is $40,000, the consulting fee for the script writer would be $8,000.
  • It’s fine to propose a test movie for a project that already has one or more test movies.  We think it can be useful to have more than one visualization of a story.  It’s also all right to propose a test movie that uses dialogue tracks, music and other components from the Amazon Studios site.
  • The test movies that we fund in connection with this opportunity will not be eligible for monthly and annual contests.
  • For this opportunity, we will accept up to three test movie proposals per person.  However, we will not fund multiple proposals from one filmmaker in connection with this opportunity.
  • Proposals must be submitted in writing via email to: testmovieproposal@amazon.com.
  • Applicants are encouraged but not required to create a proposal in video form, which we intend to show to the public and you authorize us to do so.  Just create a video of up to five minutes and use it to show and tell us what you have in mind.
  • Selected filmmakers and writers would be engaged as independent contractors and not as employees.  To receive funding, selected filmmakers and writers will be required to enter into an independent contractor agreement with Amazon Studios.
  • Proposals will be evaluated by the Amazon Studios development staff for quality, creativity and feasibility.

UPDATE: Check out our Funded Test Movie Q and A. Learn more about test movies here. And see award-winning test movies here.

What does a successful Amazon Studios test movie proposal look like? It would be an email that contains the following:

  • Your name, address and phone number
  • Your Amazon Studios user ID (include a link to your profile page)
  • The location at which you will be making your test movie and with whom you will be working
  • What script(s) you’ve chosen to adapt and why (include links)
  • Your take on the story (tone, visual style, possible story changes)
  • What makes you a credible filmmaker (your resume, links to your work as appropriate)
  • Your budget and production plan (a detailed description of how you intend to spend your money and time)
    Amazon Studios will identify production milestones and a payment plan for the selected filmmakers on an individual basis.

If you choose to supplement your proposal with a video, it can feature you, a cartoon version of you, other people, words, images, or video clips. When it’s ready, upload it as a test movie for the project that you’re interested in and make sure you put “Test Movie Proposal” as the version name. Remember, the deadline for email and video proposals is Aug. 19. We’re eager to see what you can do.

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