With Storywriter, Amazon now provides a free screenwriting app with auto-formatting, and a new gateway into Amazon Studios.
Amazon Storywriter is a free cloud-based screenwriting app whose main feature is auto-formatting your screenplay as you type (similar to the Fountain-based Mac app Slugline). Writers can access Storywriter via most computer-based browsers to write and edit their scripts. For offline use, Amazon has created a free Chrome app for Storywriter for both Mac and PC to let writers continue to work without an Internet connection, then sync up later when they are back online. Storywriter also includes conflict resolution safeguards if a script is edited on more than one computer before syncing with the cloud.
Writers can read their Storywriter scripts on their smartphones and tablets, but cannot edit their scripts using these devices. Editing capabilities are only currently available via computer-based web browsers. Amazon Storywriter will also import and export screenplays in PDF, Final Draft (FDX) and Fountain formats to let screenwriters move between Storywriter and their other screenwriting apps.
On the surface, Amazon Storywriter looks like a free screenwriting app designed for the initial and early drafts of a screenplay, using auto-formatting so a writer can focus on writing and not worrying about where the words belong on the page. And for the most part, that's what it is. But Amazon is also using Storywriter as a gateway to encourage writers to submit their screenplays to Amazon Studios right from their free app.
When Amazon Studios first launched, they came under fire for essentially asking for free options on all screenplays submitted to them. That is no longer the case. Amazon Studios now works with both non-WGA and WGA writers and has an open-door policy for script submissions for movies and series. According to its website, "Amazon Studios no longer takes a free option on submitted work" and "[i]f we want to option your property, even if you’re not a Writer’s Guild of America member, we will propose an agreement with terms that meet or exceed applicable WGA minimums."
What do you think about the new Amazon Storywriter? Let us know in the comments.