“Can I show you my Pinterest board?” offers Roy Price, holding out his iPhone. “This is how we develop shows on Amazon.”
The head of Amazon Studios, the man Jeff Bezos has entrusted to turn the country’s largest Internet retailer into an over-the-top content provider to rival Netflix and Hulu, is sitting in an Asian-inspired restaurant in Santa Monica sharing vintage photographs of Palm Springs. “I have notions for the show, but I don’t write anything down,” Price says with a laugh as he scrolls through pictures of Robert Evans and Ali MacGraw in the California desert 50 years ago. “Writing stuff down is the old way. Get a hundred pictures that really capture it and put them on Pinterest and you don’t have to pitch — you can just show people.”
In other words, there’s a pretty good chance a Palm Springs period piece will be streaming on Amazon sometime soon. “It’s fully groovy,” Price says of the era as he digs into his eggplant and tofu dish. He and Ted Hope, the independent film veteran who joined Amazon in January to head the company’s ambitious push into original movies, have invited THR to lunch for their first extensive interview together.
Obviously, not all of Price’s content is developed on his smartphone, but the creative process at Amazon Studios, along with everything else about the company, is a little different. It’s one of the reasons Hollywood has eyed the streaming service with a bit of skepticism, even as it’s won critical buzz (and two Golden Globes) for the dramedy Transparent and is writing the kind of top-of-the-market checks that lure such creators as Ridley Scott and Woody Allen. Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor as a transgender woman coming out to her children and ex-wife, is certain to snag Emmy nominations July 16 ahead of its season-two debut later this year. Of course, it’s hard to know how many people actually are watching the shows via Amazon’s Prime Instant Video, since, like Netflix, Amazon never releases viewership numbers. But there’s no question that the company is making noise and being taken seriously…
Check out the rest of this article from THR.