Amazon Studios Winner To Appear at West Hollywood Book Fair

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When internet giant Amazon launched Amazon Studios in 2010 to develop feature films by awarding cash prizes for original screenplays and test films, writer/director Marty Weiss was a big winner, earning more than $200,000 in prizes and having his screenplay of his novel “The Alchemist Agenda” optioned by the new studio. This weekend he’ll be at the West Hollywood Book Fair to discuss the process.

"The Alchemist Agenda will someday be a very entertaining movie, and it’s already a very entertaining book," says Graybooks editor Ed Gray. "If that combination isn’t directly in Amazon’s wheelhouse, I don’t know what is."

Wondering when -- or if -- Amazon will start producing its own feature films? Here’s your chance to talk to someone who ought to know, writer/director Marty Weiss whose “Alchemist Agenda” is under option to the internet giant. He’ll be at the West Hollywood Book Fair from 10am to 4pm this Sunday, September 29th.

When Amazon announced in 2010 that it was launching Amazon Studios to develop feature films by awarding monthly cash prizes for original screenplays and test films, Weiss was among the first to compete. He was also among the most successful. Of the more than 7,000 projects entered in 2011, his project The Alchemist Agenda won the $20,000 Best Script honor, two $100,000 Best Test Movie awards, and a $5,000 Best Trailer prize. And when Amazon Studios announced its first development slate in early 2012, The Alchemist Agenda was one of only 12 projects optioned.

Now, almost two years later, Amazon Studios has 29 movies under active development but has yet to green-light any of them. Instead, in 2013 the studio turned its attention to television, funding pilot episodes for 14 potential series and launching 5 of them to begin streaming later this year.
Does that mean it's now Amazon Television Studios? Are the feature films forgotten? Don't count on it, says Weiss:

“They show no signs of veering from their initial interest in making feature films. They have optioned new material at a steady pace and continue to work on their movie slate with rewrites, storyboards and animated test movies. It's not unusual for film development to take years and Amazon is likely to be thoughtful about when they will execute their projects, how they will distribute them, and who their partners will be. TV is a natural fit for Amazon since streaming has become so ubiquitous, but there are still a lot of people – including myself – who still favor the movie experience with close-ended stories. I have no doubt that Amazon will soon deliver on that demand with original films and innovative ways to view them.”

In the meantime, Weiss hasn’t been sitting on his hands. Knowing how regularly Hollywood turns books into movies and with a screenplay under option to Amazon, he took the obvious next step. He dug out his earlier version of The Alchemist Agenda -- the one he had written as a novel -- and submitted it to book publishers. In May Graybooks brought out the 264-page thriller in hardcover, trade paperback and ebook.

“The Alchemist Agenda will someday be a very entertaining movie, and it’s already a very entertaining book,” says Graybooks editor Ed Gray. “If that combination isn’t directly in Amazon’s wheelhouse, I don’t know what is.”

Weiss will be autographing copies this Sunday at the West Hollywood Book Fair in West Hollywood Park.

About "The Alchemist Agenda"

When Charlie Rocklin and his company Gold Diggers Exploration set out to recover a 17th century shipwreck, they discover an undocumented Nazi submarine with enigmatic symbols. Ariel Ellis, a femme fatale historian with a mysterious past, proves that the U-boat contains the key to a formula more valuable than any sunken treasure, and more deadly than any weapon that has ever existed. In this globetrotting international adventure, Charlie and Ariel uncover an accelerating tempest of secrecy, lies, and agendas, fighting not only for the truth, but for their lives. Weiss’s debut novel is a lightning-paced story with surprises at every turn, and shows that our personal legends may be more real than we could have imagined.

  •     Hardcover, Dust Jacket, 6 x 9, 264 pages, $29.00, ISBN 978-1-935655-30-5
  •     Softcover, 6 x 9, 264 pages, $17.00, ISBN 978-1-935655-31-2
  •     eBook, all major formats and readers, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-935655-32-9


About Marty Weiss

Marty Weiss was born and raised in Chicago and decided that he wanted to make movies after spending a summer working on the set of John Hughes' movie "Sixteen Candles." After earning a B.S. in Journalism from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, and an M.F.A. in film and television from New York University, he directed national and international TV commercials for major Blue Chip brands as well as TV movies. He helmed his first feature film, "Vampires: The Turning," for Sony/Screen Gems Entertainment - an action/horror movie that evolved out of John Carpenter's "Vampires." It was filmed in Chiang Mai, Thailand and released worldwide in 2005. Weiss has filmed throughout North and South America, Eastern and Western Europe, and Southeast Asia, and has garnered numerous industry awards. His screen adaptation of his debut novel, "The Alchemist Agenda," was the honored with the Best Screenplay award from Amazon Studios and is currently on their development slate for production. Weiss lives in Los Angeles with his wife Elisabeth and children Jasmine and Jake.


About Graybooks LLC

Located in Lyme, NH, just up the road from Dartmouth College, Graybooks LLC publishes trade books in four main categories: food, fiction, memoir and history. Its imprint Aisle Seat Books™ publishes Movie Length Tales™, reader-friendly versions of award-winning but not yet produced screenplays in every film genre.


Ed Gray, Editor & Publisher
GrayBooks LLC
603 795 4708

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