This one is really exciting: Amazon Studios has launched a new program called Amazon Storyteller which will "automagically" create a storyboard for any script you choose to upload--right before your eyes.
A program reminiscent of the computer simulations on 'Star Trek: The Next Generation,' Amazon Storyteller allows writers and filmmakers to quickly and cheaply storyboard their scripts. Amazon Studios released the following statement regarding the Storyteller launch:
"For years, Amazon has been developing new programs, services and features to make it easier for content creators to make and distribute their work. Amazon Studios, the original film and series production arm of Amazon.com, today announced a new innovation for writers and filmmakers—Amazon Storyteller. Currently in beta, Storyteller is a free online tool that turns scripts into storyboards, complete with characters and dialogue that can then be shared with others for feedback.
“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.”
Storyteller begins by scanning a movie script that has been uploaded to Amazon Studios. It identifies the scenes, locations and characters from scene descriptions, and “casts” them from a library of thousands of characters, props and backgrounds. Filmmakers can recast or change locations, or they can upload their own images. Storyteller places the cast in front of the right background so that filmmakers can 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. Once completed, the storyboard can be published on Amazon Studios where other users are able to view it and give feedback on the project. Amazon Storyteller is free—anyone can visit AmazonStudios.com and use this new tool to visualize their movie script and share it with others.
More information about Amazon Storyteller is available at www.amazonstudios.com/storyteller.
Amazon Studios launched in 2010 as a new way to develop feature films and episodic series—one that’s open to great ideas from creators and audiences around the world. Anyone can upload a script and will then be notified within 45 days if that script is optioned.
Amazon Studios will read and review all submissions and those who choose to make their projects public will also receive feedback from the Amazon Studios community.
Just last week, Amazon Studios greenlit its first-ever original series, including comedies Alpha House and Betas, and kids series Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf. These original series will premiere exclusively on Prime Instant Video later this year and in 2014."
Storyteller works by you uploading your script into the program--or you can choose to muck about with one of the sample scripts, preloaded. From there, you simply page through the script, paragraph by paragraph; Storyteller will automatically match up the characters, props and settings included, timing each board around blocks of dialogue. If a script calls for a ranch, for instance, Storyteller automatically supplies a background with a farmhouse, horse corral, and mountains.
But what if Storyteller envisions something a little different than what you, the almighty writer, had in mind? Well feel free to parse Storyteller's mammoth library of images and replace any of their suggestions with selections of your own.
Amazon Studios has proven their passion for supporting filmmakers from the grassroots on up; Amazon Storyteller is the latest tool in supporting and crowdsourcing new content from people who may not be able to afford to produce things through traditional means.
As the press release above states, Amazon Studios just greenlit their first five original series. Thanks to tools like Amazon Storyteller, the projects that come next could come from new, exciting places.