How To Pitch A Screenplay To Netflix
Now you want to pitch your screenplay to Netflix, but you’re worried because you don’t know how. This is a cool idea, but can I be blunt? It’s an incredibly difficult task just to even get a pitch meeting with a network, cable or streaming platform. With that said, if you’re fortunate enough to secure a pitch meeting with one of the biggest streaming platforms like Netflix, here’s some tips on how to pitch a screenplay to Netflix. Keep in mind, this will require extremely hard work on your part.
With millions of subscribers, Netflix is a juggernaut for internet films. Every producer, screenwriter, and filmmaker dreams about having a film on Netflix’s streaming platform. As a screenwriter, I’m one of the many dreamers. So I ransacked the internet to find the answer to one of the most asked questions; how do you pitch a screenplay to Netflix? If you want to get Netflix interested in your screenplay, you have to get someone who work for them in some capacity.
Once you get in touch with a licensed literary agent, producer, reputable distributor or executive and they’ve set up a meeting, then comes the next hurdle; pitching.
Learn How To Pitch
Knowing how to pitch a screenplay is a very crucial skill to learn. It’s imperative that you not only master writing, but also pitching in order to have a fruitful screenwriting career. You should consider taking these steps before trying to pitch your screenplay to Netflix or any other studio.
First, you’ll need to think of a great idea. Clearly, this is easier said than done. Your idea and the reason why you’re the only one that can write it are just as important. Even though your best friend might like the idea, doesn’t mean it’s good. I recommend sharing it with everybody that will listen so you’ll discover what works and what doesn’t. After that, rework it according to what they say. You’re on to something if the response from people is “That’s a great idea for a movie”.
Become an expert at the craft of writing for film. Malcolm Gladwell said it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at any craft. Read screenwriting books. Take classes that teach screenwriting. Read screenplays. Write good, write bad, and then write even more. Fortunately, there are several tools at your disposal to improve your screenwriting. You can begin reading screenplays here for free or you can read them right here at Rave Scripts.
Put Your Pitch Materials Together
Focus on putting together a solid elevator pitch and treatment. I suggest having a sizzle reel or movie trailer. The next thing you need to do is research. Check out trades daily. Of the ones you should read are Deadline, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter. Find out which one best suits your concepts. You should be familiar with their audience and know their mandate.
Pitching is a significant part of your calling card. It’s what displays your unique sense of style in screenwriting and your tendencies. It shows you can come up with ideas, make characters and write a story. It’s important that you master it by practicing as often as possible.
If you can get a manager or agent, they can help you get past gatekeepers and assist you on how to pitch your screenplay. Finding representation isn’t easy but there’s a few things you can try:
- Place or win a screenwriting contest
- Share and network your scripts with people in the industry
- Work at a studio
- Get a job with a network
- Get hired at a production company
- Work at a management company
- Get a job at an agency
Now that you understand the intense work you have to do, let me release the kraken. Here’s the nitty gritty on how to pitch your screenplay to Netflix. Even though there’s no universal template on pitching to cable, network or streaming platform, there’s six tips that serve as a guide that I learned. When all six tips are used together, the pitch will take about twenty minutes from beginning to end.
Six Tips On How To Pitch
- Tell the personal connection you have to the story and idea. They’ll be more likely to buy your idea if they think that idea is from the best person that has actually lived the experience to write it. They want to know there’s a deep emotional connection to the idea so let them know why you’re the only screenwriter for the job.
- The themes need to be defined. Theme is defined by the emotional lesson of the screenplay. Theme is the screenplay’s bigger message. This is where you tell them what the movie is really about. Some popular themes you might be familiar with are good vs evil, coming of age, revenger, power corrupts, and death.
- Try explaining an anecdote to help the executive better understand the potential of the movie. It could be a short part of the screenplay that showcases the style and tone of the movie and the main protagonist. I suggest watching a teaser of your favorite movie to get an idea on how to do this.
- Deconstruct you characters. Tell them the four main characters and the respective interrelationships. I would suggest focusing on the main character, the villain, the love interest, and a supporting character. The supporting character could be a family relative, mentor, friend and somebody that they work with. All of these characters should have a strong point of view to the main themes of the screenplay.
- Explain the show’s tone. Tell the pacing, look, feel and the kind of humor. I recommend drawing comparisons to other films. Be sure to draw these comparisons to successful films. Successful films means a lot of money and a lot of money means happy executives.
- Discuss the challenge. What’s the conflict and what mountain stands in the way of the protagonist achieving their goal. Lastly, be ready to discuss what would happen if there was a sequel.
Knowing this advice on how to pitch a screenplay to Netflix could one day get your very own movie on the biggest streaming platform.
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