Amazon has launched Amazon Studios, an online business that invites filmmakers and screenwriters around the world to submit full-length movies and scripts. To start, Amazon Studios is offering a total of $2.7 million to the top submissions received by December 31, 2011, and will develop the top Amazon Studio projects as commercial feature films under its first-look deal with Warner Bros.

Writers are invited to post scripts while filmmakers are invited to upload full-length (more than 70 minutes) test movies. Test movies can be made from your own original script or from any script submitted to Amazon Studios. While test movies must include imaginative stories with great acting and sound, they don't have to be "full budget" or have theatrical-quality production values. Film fans can review Amazon Studios scripts and test movies or even upload alternate versions.

Amazon Studios wants to produce new, full-budget theatrical films based on the best projects. Amazon will give Warner Bros. Pictures first access to the projects but if Warner isn't interested, the company will then produce the project in cooperation with another studio.

Under the Amazon Studios development agreement, filmmakers or screenwriters that started the project will receive a rights payment of $200,000 and if the movie makes over $60 million at the US box office, he or she will receive a $400,000 bonus. In addition, Amazon Studios will award $100,000 to the best script and $1 million to the best movie submitted by December 31, 2011. To be eligible for the first monthly awards, test movies and scripts must be uploaded by January 31, 2011. Winners for the first monthly awards will be announced near the end of February 2011: $100,000 for the best full-length test movie and $20,000 each for the two best scripts. Winning content will be selected on the basis of commercial viability, including consideration of premise, story, character, dialogue, and emotion.

"We are excited to introduce writers, filmmakers and movie lovers to Amazon Studios," Roy Price, Director of Digital Product Development, said in a statement. "Full-length test movies will show stories up on their feet and attract helpful feedback at an early stage. We hope that Amazon Studios will help filmmakers experiment and collaborate and we look forward to developing hit movies."