Amazon Studios Storyteller was announced on Friday in a press release from the company.
The new program is designed to help storytellers with a finished screenplay conceptualize their tale in the form of storyboards, even if they have no artistic talent whatsoever.
“We’ve found that many writers want to see their story up on its feet in visual form but find it harder than it should be to create a storyboard,” said Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios. “Storyteller provides a digital backlot, acting troupe, prop department and assistant editor — everything you need to bring your story to life. We want to see great stories turned into movies and television shows and we’ll continue to develop new features and tools that help people develop great stories.”
Amazon Studios Storyteller first scans your script, identifying scenes, locations, and characters from scene descriptions. It then “casts” your script with a database of thousands of characters, props, and backgrounds. You, as “filmmaker,” then have the option to recast or change locations. You may also upload your own images.
The program positions cast in front of appropriate backgrounds and allows filmmakers to “focus their time on the emotion and energy of scenes by using pan and zoom, changing the facial expressions and positions of characters, adding vehicles or props or adding captions with descriptions or additional dialogue,” the release stated.
Once finished, filmmakers may publish their storyboards to Amazon Studios for feedback from other users. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like once you log in:
Amazon Studios is promoting Storyteller as “free,” but that’s only true insofar as your script has been submitted to the service. Independent authors have gone back and forth on the issue of exclusivity with Amazon’s KDP Select Program.
Bestselling indie author J.A. Konrath, who now publishes through Amazon’s Thomas and Mercer imprint, switched his position to supporting the exclusivity clause after seeing big results, but many remain leery.
While Amazon doesn’t own books published exclusively through KDP, they withhold marketing opportunities if a book is available on other outlets.
Amazon Studios Storyteller is sure to spark similar debate, and in that regard, it could lose some appeal.
But if you’ve ever lamented the fact your artistic ability is limited to stick figures, then this offering will move you one step closer to a finished product.
So what do you guys think — is Amazon Studios Storyteller worth a try, or do you have to give up too much?[Image via Sergio Paez]