Once you know how to pitch a show to Netflix, you can start the long and involved process of getting your idea from a piece of paper to a completed project. Creating a TV show or movie is not easy, but it can be gratifying as well. Here are our tips for getting your idea seen by Netflix and how to create a solid pitch.
What is Netflix?
Netflix is a service that allows customers to stream various TV shows, documentaries, movies, short films, and other visual media. The company makes many of the shows that the offer on their site themselves, and several of the ideas for these shows and movies come from viewers who had an original idea.
Figuring out how to pitch a show to Netflix should include viewing many of the shows that the brand currently offers so you can be sure that your idea is truly original and has some unique characteristics. The content available on the site is free from commercials, and new content is continually being made available to members.
If you don't already have Netflix, you can take advantage of the free 30-day trial to figure out what ideas you have that could make good shows or movies. There is no contract for using this service, and after the free trial, there is a flat fee for a month-to-month membership.
Can Anyone Pitch a Show?
If you are wondering how to pitch a show to Netflix, the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. The company only accepts submissions from select individuals that they already have a relationship with including:
They key here is that you need to connect with one of these individuals on this list, and it is a requirement that they already work with Netflix. You can't just find yourself any literary agent, or manager and expect to submit your idea to Netflix.
This process helps to cut down on the number of submissions that Netflix receives as they try to limit the number of "unsolicited submissions" that get sent to them. Instead, Netflix has a variety of other methods that they use to gather submissions, including a team of creative executives and other innovative buyers who filter through pitches and presentations.
Another way that Netflix gathers ideas for shows and movies is through their relationship with the community of creatives that they know and this includes talent agencies, film festivals, writers, and other creative individuals. Netflix also gathers some of its content from film festival submissions, and occasionally, they hire a team of writers to create content.
If you are looking to pitch a show to Netflix, keep in mind that the company still receives hundreds if not thousands of submissions per day even with their stringent guidelines that are in place. The odds of your submission being selected may be stacked against you, but having a well-structured and enticing pitch is vital for increasing your chances of success.
The Components of a Good Pitch
A good pitch can be short and concise, but it should contain all of the necessary information required for a potential buyer to judge your project and ensure it fits what they are looking to buy.
Probably the most crucial part is the "elevator pitch" otherwise known as the logline. This piece should be one or two sentences long and should sum up your show or movie in an enticing way while still reflecting the overall idea. These sentences should be catchy and are meant to engage an executive or buyer.
Expanding on the elevator pitch is the expanded logline which goes into specifics on the show such as the length of the episodes, or the genre. When forming the elevator pitch and the extended logline, it's a good idea to get feedback from others on what is most enticing and still best describes your project.
This elevator pitch and extended logline should be part of the package that you send along with the script for your pilot episode or movie. If you can make a short amount of actual video that's a plus, but it's not always required.
Your pitch should match the writing style of your script, and there should be enough content provided for an executive or buyer to get a good idea of your writing style. Make sure your plan is very well developed, and that you gather feedback from experienced people in the field that you trust to ensure your idea and pitch is well polished.
4 Tips for Pitching Your Show to Netflix
The steps of pitching a show may seem like a lot of work, but getting shows to air is never an easy process even when you've done it before. Consider these steps when creating and pitching a show, and you'll also need to prepare yourself for the extensive effort that this activity requires.
Coming Up With An Idea
Coming up with an original idea for a show is arguably the hardest part of pitching your plan, and you'll need to construct something new and creative if you want to catch the attention of Netflix. The Netflix library is chock-full of unique and different shows, so it's a good idea to do your research and see what's already been done to help judge your thoughts.
Once you’ve come up with a basic idea, consider filling it out a bit with greater detail, and more information about the characters, setting, and other relevant characteristics. You'll want to make sure that your show has a definitive theme, and that the finer details you add are in keeping with the overall direction you want to take the show or movie.
For most of us, financing our own show or movie may be out of reach, but by forming relationships in the creative communities near yourself, you might be able to come up with money from an individual interested in your idea. This step might require that you have an elevator pitch ready, and much of your show planned out so be prepared for extensive questions.
Before seeking financing, it's a good idea to have visuals, a well-developed storyline, and even some of the script complete so that potential contributors can judge whether or not they like your idea. It is not unusual for someone to offer to finance your project in exchange for a stake of the earnings, or another repayment, and they may also wish to make some changes.
Creating the Show
You don't need to create the whole show or movie on your own, and it may be beneficial to find ways to work with another talent. Finding good talent is easier when you are part of a creative community of other writers and individuals with unique skills, and these people may also have connections that can help get your submission to Netflix.
Try to find writers, screenwriters, and another talent that can help create more of your show and see how you can connect with an individual that already has a relationship with Netflix. Since the preexisting relationship requirement seems to be the biggest hurdle for getting your submission accepted to this company, it pays to be selective in who you work alongside.
To create your show or movie you’re likely going to need at least a little funding as creative individuals aren’t likely to work for free when their skills are in demand. Consider what you can offer these individuals and what assistance you actually need to create some of your project. By having others to work with, you may be able to fill your specific role and be less distracted.
Getting Your Show to Netflix
Once you have a full pitch, and some high-quality content completed, it's time to shop around that content to distributors, local film festivals, or other venues that may be able to show your work. Keep in mind that you'll need a link to Netflix if you want them to consider your submission and work with partners that have an existing relationship.
To increase your chances of getting your idea in front of Netflix, it doesn't hurt to form relationships with multiple parties that each have their own tie to the brand. That way if one of these entities doesn’t want to submit your show to Netflix, another partner might.
It's also a good idea to check out distributors of media as they can help you get your concept shown in the right places. Not every film festival or convention will fit what you have made, and it's best to have your work shown where it fits in genre-wise so it can outshine the direct competition.
A distributor may also be able to get your work shown at a trade show where it can be seen in advance by several different television corporations, including Netflix. Trade shows are an excellent and typically low-cost way to get your work seen and still maintain much of the creative control.