Funny Baseball Nightmares On Amazon Storyteller

December 8, 2014

th_letsplayballI’m trying to circulate three screenplays based on my novels, and Hollywood has yet to start knocking down my doors. So I thought I’d try posting one of them, Let’s Play Ball, on the Amazon Studios site. The response there hasn’t exactly been overwhelming either, but the site does give aspiring moviemakers the chance to have a little fun. By uploading your script and converting it to Rich Text Format (RTF), you have the capacity to turn the story into a series of storyboards via a new application called Amazon Storyteller.

This is an innovation that allows the aspiring filmmaker to choose from a stock supply of backgrounds, characters, and props to visualize scenes from a script. Each board has a caption which sets the scene and contains dialogue. You can also use backgrounds of your own, which I needed to do in order to get ballpark scenes into my story. The result is more like a graphic novel or a cartoon than a movie. Amazon is reportedly working to add to its stock of graphics–maybe robots and spaceships some day, they say.

The fun part is learning, mostly by trial and error, how to manipulate the scenes to make them halfway realistic. You can move around characters, scale them to size, change their clothes and facial expressions, give them props, whatever it takes to make them do whatever they’re supposed to be doing. But because of the limitations of this brand-new application, what you get sometimes resembles a frustration dream rather than a narrative. For example, I’ve been struggling to get a group of diners to sit at a table instead of standing around it, staring at a bottle of wine. I’d like my heroine to be able to hold a cell phone in her hand instead of making it levitate in front of her. There’s also the challenge of clothing the characters appropriately.

Who knows, maybe I’m conjuring up actual nightmares that ballplayers have about showing up on the diamond out of uniform, or missing the game because they got stuck in the bleachers. Certainly all of us office drones have had dreams about showing up at work wearing safari or beach clothing, or something even more revealing. During one intense scene between an employee and her boss, I experimented with various gestures, including one in which she appeared to give him the finger. She actually looked happy when he suspended her, so a facial expression adjustment was necessary. I’ve also accidentally created a floating microphone at a press conference, and floating sandwiches that literally flew off a shelf.

But perhaps the main thing for achieving realism in a movie: how do you force these stock characters to get intimate with each other? They don’t seem disposed to embrace or to sit down together, much less to lie down. So far, Amazon Storyteller doesn’t appear to lend itself to hot and heavy lovemaking.


6 Responses to “Funny Baseball Nightmares On Amazon Storyteller”

  1. Marcus Case Says:

    This sounds completely hilarious! If you ever reach the point of being prepared/able/willing to share it, I’d love to take a look (hot and heavy or not).

  2. lgould171784 Says:

    Hi, Marcus. I hope to publish it soon. I understand it remains on the Amazon site, but that links to it can be shared. How long it remains available, I’m not sure.

  3. Marcus Case Says:

    Hi, Linda. Thanks for the link. I’ve taken a look at it. Great fun! Looking forward to its publication (and best of luck with that).

  4. Probably to keep people from using it to make, you know, hot and heavy ‘movies.’ If the visuals are clunky, it doesn’t work as well for the viewer in that instance.

    I don’t know graphic adult novels – if there is such a thing (probably). Static?

    I don’t think I’m going to try – but it sounds as if you had fun doing the storyboards.

    • lgould171784 Says:

      Unfortunately, Amazon Studios has shut down its storyboard function. Otherwise, I would have done one for “Handmaidens of Rock”–hopefully with a music soundtrack.

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