One is a commercial director. The other is simply a movie fan from Georgia.
Together they've snagged the top honors in newly launched Amazon Studios' first Best Script contest. The $20,000 awards were handed out on Thursday to “The Alchemist Agenda” by Marty Weiss of Los Angeles and “Villain,” by Richard Stern of Roswell, Georgia.
"I think any of the finalists and the winners would more than hold their own in any script bag going home for the weekend," Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios, told TheWrap.
The winners were chosen from the more than 2,500 scripts uploaded by writers since the November 2010 launch of Amazon Studios.
"I expected that we'd get maybe 500 scripts in the first month. I never expected this kind of response," Price added.
Judges for the December contest included screenwriter Mike Werb (Face/Off, The Mask) and screenwriting authority Linda Seger (How to Make a Good Script Great).
Weiss and Stern will next be able to turn their scripts into test movies to compete for $100,000 test movie prizes.
Stern, a family man from Georgia wrote the comedy "The Villain" when he was laid off from his job in the marketing industry last September.
Weiss wrote the action film "The Alchemist Agenda," after directing ad campaigns and television movies.
Under its new online program, if the response to a project is enthusiastic enough, Amazon will help get the movie made through a first-look deal with Warner Bros.
The January contests – which also include a $100,000 award for the best test movie and $10,000 to the top table read – close on Monday Jan. 31. Winners will be announced in February.
In addition to the prizes, Amazon Studios is overhauling their system so that writers who submit scripts can control the level of collaboration on their original scripts. Writers, upon upload or thereafter, will be able to designate their projects as open (where anyone can add a revised script), closed or revisable by permission (only participants who obtain your permission can add a revised script to your project).