When you want to build a cache of original content for your Prime members to enjoy, you can go the traditional Hollywood method, or you can go see what else is out there and help them grow into the role. That’s what Amazon Studios has been doing, working to make it easier and easier for filmmakers to create with a growing list of cloud-based tools.
First there was the Amazon Storyboard Utility, then came their note card-based tool called Amazon Story Builder. And now, an online screenwriting app that will enable users to write their screenplays in the cloud; it’s called Amazon Story Writer
Amazon Story Writer looks incredibly easy. You click on “new script” and just start writing. Thanks to an auto format feature, Story Writer analyzes your text and automnatically formats it to the required element heading. Type in INT and hit enter and it automatically goes into upper caps of the slug line and then changes to narrative. Once you create the character’s name in upper caps, Storywriter will automatically populate a character field from there on out for that character.
Then, once the dialogue is written, it’s formatted, and after hitting enter, you’re back at Narrative. It’s very smooth. You don’t have to worry about using the correct format, which for first time screenwriters is a huge tell.
Once you’re done, you can save it with a title, editor your title page. And, of course, when you’re ready to submit it, Amazon has a direct link to submit to Amazon Studios, where you can submit as a movie screenplay, drama series pilot or comedy series pilot.
Additionally, Story Writer has an offline mode, and users write cross platform, from their laptops, mobile phones or tablets. What about previously written screenplays? Well here’s where it gets interesting. You can import a PDF file, Final Draft FDX, or Fountain files, and export them out in kind. For PDFs, Storywriter does a pretty good job of reading the PDF and then assigning script elements to what it reads.
One thing I did notice though, is that trying to edit the title page simply doesn’t work, and when you to to the edit title page feature under the title of your script, it simply doesn’t allow you to do anything. So keep that in mind. Another shortcoming is that it seems limited to the standard screenplay format, so wanting to write a treatment, audio drama, or other ancillary literary effort isn’t going to serve you well here … yet.
All told, I think the Amazon Story Writer is an amazing first effort in creating a basic screenplay app for an already crowded online field, and having the option of submitting directly to Amazon Studios for review and voting by others, getting feedback along the way is very beneficial. And hopefully, it’ll get more powerful with additional genre options. Check out the app here.