Roy Price comes from a long line of Hollywood talent. It was no surprise that a child of a well-known actress and famous studio chief grew up to lead a revolution in the world of television. Born on July 21st, 1967, Roy Price has made a name for himself by taking one of Seattle’s biggest companies Amazon, an online retailer, and turning it into a movie studio but with a unique twist. What began as a career as a film set assistant, ended with taking Amazon by storm and revolutionizing the way that movies and television series are produced.
Roy Price was born in the epicenter of the movie and television industry, Los Angeles, California. His parents were major names in the industry, Katherine Crawford and Frank Price. He was born amongst Hollywood royalty and this set the tone for the future successes of Roy Price.
His mother, Katherine Crawford, was a well-known actress. She starred in some major Hollywood films like Riding with Death, A Walk in Spring Rain, and the television mini-series Gemini Man. The gorgeous blond had an infectious smile and soon she caught the attention of a well-known player in Hollywood, Frank Price.
Frank Price was from a modest upbringing. He was born in Decatur, Illinois and his family, like many families during this time, suffered during the Great Depression and had to move continuously for work. They landed in California and he was first exposed to the industry when his mother worked as a waitress in the cafeteria at Warner Brothers. When Frank was young, he was able to meet many famous actors and actresses because of his mother’s job. He started his college career at Michigan State University but later transferred to the illustrious Columbia University based on his talent as a writer.
In New York, Frank Price only attended Columbia for a little while before dropping out to work full time as a reader for the CBS-TV Story Department. This was his start in the industry. He soon started to move up the ladder. He shortly became a story editor and writer for CBS-TV in New York from 1951 until 1953. He knew that if he wanted to further his career he would have to move to Los Angeles. He was the story editor at Columbia Pictures from ’53 until ’57 and then from ’58-’59 he worked for Ziv Television Programs. It was soon after that he started to make his way up through the ranks.
He became an associate producer and writer at Universal TV and then soon he made the jump from writer to Studio Executive. After experiencing a lot of success as a Studio Executive, he was named the Vice President of Universal TV. Price was quickly moving up through the industry and was becoming a very high profile individual in Hollywood. In 1971, he was named Senior Vice President but shortly after, was named President and Head of Universal TV and Vice President of MCA, Inc. and he started to revolutionize the way we viewed TV. During that time he became best known for developing the made for TV movie format and the concept of the miniseries. The first ever made for TV movie was produced by Frank Price and was named The Doomsday Flight.
His career continued in an upward trajectory. He became President of Columbia Pictures where he green lighted the popular films The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, and Kramer vs. Kramer. He then went on to be named the chairman of the MCA Motion Picture Group where he green lighted blockbuster movies like Back to the Future, and Out of Africa. He started his own studio called Price Entertainment but then was approached by Columbia Pictures to come back. He was appointed chairman of the studio and his studio, Price Entertainment, was merged with Columbia. He left Columbia in 1991 but he left a legacy that still stands today.
Roy Price grew up watching his father succeed in Hollywood and learned from the best. He grew up in the shadow of a Hollywood legend but didn’t let it overshadow him. He was exposed to other big names in the industry at a very young age and learned the ins and outs of a very complex industry. He was fortunate that he had a good support system and insider knowledge that helped to catapult him into a successful career in the industry.
Roy Price was born in Los Angeles on July 21st, 1967. He was born to big Hollywood names and grew up having access to Hollywood’s greatest minds and biggest players. He learned a lot about the business from a very early age. It is a very rough industry to break in to and Roy was able to gain knowledge and confidence early on that helped him launch a successful career later in life. He was exposed to working in the industry at a really young age. His first job in the film industry was in 1989 when he was in his early 20’s. He credited his love and passion for all things film and TV for his drive to succeed. He said, “I have no outside interests. My interests are film, TV, literature, computers, and video games. And that’s it.”
Roy Price attended the very prestige Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. The very selective school only accepts 13% of applicants and is considered one of the hardest university prep schools in the United States. It is also the oldest incorporated high school in the United States. Price excelled in the competitive environment and graduated in 1985. Thanks to an exceptional high school education, Price then went on to graduate cum laude from Harvard in 1989. He majored in English and American Literature. After college, he went on to study law at the USC Gould School of Law. He graduate from law school in 1995 and he was the Editor in Chief of the Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal.
His first break in the industry was in 1989 when he was hired as a film set assistant. That year was critical for him because he was working at the bottom of the ladder in the industry and saw how the industry worked from the ground up. But he was not content to just learn about the film development side, he wanted to also learn about other aspects of the film industry. He then became a financial analyst for Allen & Co from 1990 until 1992 because he wanted to learn more about the financial aspect of the film industry. Looking back on his career, Price said that, “I’d gotten some exposure to film development, but I wanted more exposure to the finance part.”
His first big vertical leap in his career was when he became Vice President for Series Development and Current Programming for Walt Disney. There he oversaw the development for a variety of Walt Disney animated shows like Kim Possible, Teacher’s Pet, House of Mouse, Teamo Supermo, The Weekenders, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command and Tarzan. The animated series Teacher’s Pet won an Emmy and the BAFTA for Best Animated Daytime Series. His other series House of Mouse won the Annie for Best Series. He also managed current programming for the very popular shows Pepper Ann and Recess. Under his guidance the ABC Saturday morning cartoon lineup went from #4 to #1 in the ratings.
After his success at Disney, he took a job as a Consultant for McKinsey & Co. for almost two years. McKinsey & Co. is a global management consulting firm that works with a variety of businesses in different industries in both the private and public sectors. They employ 10,000 people around the world. During his time there, he oversaw teams of consultants and client team members and helped to consult with media companies about how to best improve their performance and bottom line. His team focused exclusively in the areas of home video, international television and US film and video distribution.
After consulting for two years, Roy Price left McKinsey & Co. and took another step up the ladder. He was hired at Price Entertainment as a Principle where he was able to utilize his experience at McKinsey & Co. to help consultant with major media companies. His clients ranged from a large national broadcast television network to a very prominent Los Angeles talent agency. Not only did he consultant with these major players in the industry but he also developed content for an online video network venture. But his time there was short lived because he soon moved on to Amazon to help develop their video on demand capabilities.
Amazon was already a powerhouse in the online retail world and they were looking to expand to offering both film and television. Amazon wanted one man for the job and Roy Price was the man they wanted. Price left Price Entertainment in 2004 to help develop the Amazon Video on Demand Service. Netflix at the time was reigning supreme in the video streaming department and Amazon wanted to offer a competitive service. Price was brought on as a Group Product Manager to help develop Amazon’s digital video store otherwise known as Amazon Unbox. The service debuted on September 7th, 2006 and was later renamed Amazon Video on Demand in September of 2008.
During his time as Group Product Manager he was responsible for managing content licensing and product management. He was responsible for negotiating deals to license television and movies to create the largest commercial digital video selection out of all the available streaming services at the time. Price was able to get over 50,000 titles available. He worked to create deals with Tivo, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Roku and other consumer electronic companies to distribute the Amazon digital video store to their TV’s and devices.
During his 2 years there, Price worked tirelessly to get the Amazon Video on Demand service up and running. He set the groundwork for the future popularity of Amazon video on demand. Although he was only at that department for 2 years, the major deals that he closed during his time as the Group Product Manager created the foundation that helped Amazon to become competitive force.
Once Amazon Video was up and running, Price wanted to expand on the Amazon video offerings by the creation of new content for the Amazon customers. He became a director at the newly created Amazon Studios. During an interview with Wired, Price said that there was a two-fold reason why Amazon Studios was created. He said, “We are trying to do two things. One is to create opportunities for film and TV creators, and the other is to create great new movies and TV shows for our customers.”
Amazon Studios was launched in November of 2010 after years of developing the process. The goal of Amazon Studios was to create a platform for aspiring screenwriters and directors to submit their work to a wider audience. Hollywood is a tough industry to break into and Price knew the challenges that these screenwriters and directors face. He wanted to help create a way for them to have their work seen by millions where otherwise a chance like this would never be available to them.
Amazon Studios has been working on the development of television shows, films and comics from online submissions. This radical new approach to the open source concept was designed to bring in fresh and new content from around the world. Filmmakers and screenwriters from anywhere in the world are invited to submit their full-length movies and scripts to Amazon Studios for consideration. The scripts would first have to go through a feedback process from Amazon readers. The readers are free to rewrite and amend the scripts and give reviews based on their feedback.
All feedback and reviews are crowd sourced by anyone who is part of Amazon network. Price knew that this would be a successful way to create interest in a future show or movie. He wanted people to become invested in project before it even became a reality to help ensure a high viewer rating. Roy Price took Amazon Studios to the next level and it continued to rise in its popularity. Buzz would be created before the production of the potential script. He said, “The connectivity of the web and the reduced costs of producing films create opportunities for people to do so much more in terms of creating entertainment and sharing their ideas and getting feedback. There are millions of people out there who are really interested in movies and TV and who are eager to look at new things and share their opinions and eager to create things.”
Once enough Amazon readers had given feedback, the script was then given to a panel of judges to determine whether it should be awarded $2.7 million to go towards the development of these movies and shows under a first look deal with Warner Bros., which then would be streamed on Amazon Video. Amazon Studios received around 11,000 movie scripts and a few thousand TV pilots. Not only was Amazon looking to create new television and movie scripts but they also experimenting with other mediums as well. Amazon created a comic book based on a script that they have in development called Blackburn Burrow. The first issue was the number one free comic book on Kindle when it was first released.
During his time as a director, he was specifically responsible for launching Amazon Pilot Season and launched 14 TV series pilots on Amazon.com to get Amazon readers feedback. He also green lighted popular Amazon favorites like Alpha House, Betas, Creative Galaxy, Annebots, and Tumbleleaf for full season production. Price was also the mastermind behind creating two separate services to help facilitate the process of submitting for their scripts to Amazon. He helped create Amazon Storyteller to help screenwriters turn their ideas and screenplays into storyboards. This application allows screenwriters to use script parsing and a library of character images, backgrounds and props to create a storyboard to help convey the overall meaning of their script in an easily digestible form. He also launched Amazon Storybuilder to help streamline the process of outlining the scripts with physical notecards online to make it portable and easier to share with others.
Due to his success as a director and Amazon’s goal to World domination, he soon became the Head of Prime Video Global Content and Amazon Studios in September of 2014. He was in charge of managing the global content selection at Prime Video in over 240 countries and territories. He helped to launch 25 shows that earned a whopping 411 major award nominations and garnered 142 wins. These wins included AFI Program of the Year, Golden Globes Best Comedy (twice), Emmy’s Best Preschool Show (twice), Emmy’s Best Actor, Emmy’s Best Director, Annies Best Preschool Show (three times), Globes Best Actor (three times), Oscars Best Actor, Best Screenplay and Best Foreign Film.
Price found his niche at Amazon and has been very successful with the launch of Amazon Studios. He helped to open the door to struggling directors and screenwriters whose projects would never have seen the light of day. Amazon has a culture that encourages thinking outside the box and Price enjoys being in an environment where it is encouraged to take those risks. He said that, “Embracing change is central to Amazon’s DNA. You wouldn’t think you would have to explain to people that things change, but you really do. Some people just truly, totally believe it, and some people secretly harbor doubts. Its core to Amazon’s culture that we want to innovate and think big and it’s great to be at a place like that.”
Although his time at Amazon came to an end this year, there is no shortage of opportunities for a person with Price’s talent and drive. With a strong of highly successful shows and projects under his belt, there is no doubt that Price will be back at it, creating and producing new content for the world.