Netflix, with its vast audience base, is a coveted platform for every screenwriter, producer, and filmmaker. Dreaming of seeing your screenplay come to life on Netflix is a shared ambition among many in the industry. As a fellow screenwriter, I’ve scoured the internet to demystify the process of selling a script to Netflix.
In this detailed guide, we’ll explore two primary strategies to sell your script to Netflix: developing direct relationships with Netflix employees or utilizing a literary agent. Plus, we’ll dive into using IMDB Pro effectively in this pursuit.
Finding Netflix Contacts
Netflix has a team of creative executives and buyers, and the first step is to identify these key decision-makers. Here’s how you can find them:
- Research through IMDB Pro: Utilize IMDB Pro to find producers and executives associated with Netflix projects. For instance, by looking up a Netflix film like “Bird Box,” you can discover a list of producers and other key figures involved in the production.
- Deep Dive into Credits: Beyond the main cast, delve into the full credits of a Netflix film to identify the executives and associate producers – these are the contacts you should be targeting.
Connecting with Netflix through Agents
Netflix works with literary agents and scouts for project identification and development. You can:
- Find Literary Agents: Look for agents who have a working relationship with Netflix. For instance, Maria B. Campbell Associates acts as literary scouts for Netflix.
- Query Letter Approach: If a particular book or other IP intrigues Netflix, consider contacting the author to propose adapting their work into a screenplay.
Preparing to Pitch to Netflix
When ready to pitch your project, ensure it stands out. Consider the following elements:
- Incorporate Big Names: Having a renowned actor, producer, or director attached to your project can significantly elevate its appeal.
- High Concept Focus: Ensure your project is easily understandable and has global appeal – something that transcends language and cultural barriers.
- Social Media Presence: A strong online following or viral content can be hugely beneficial. For example, David Sandberg’s “Kung Fury” gained Netflix’s attention due to its online popularity.
Types of Scripts Netflix Wants
Analyze Netflix’s recent releases to discern their preferences. While they invest in various genres, there seems to be a tilt towards comedy, romance, and drama. The key is to understand the current market trends and audience preferences on the platform.
Leveraging Intellectual Property (IP)
Netflix often gravitates towards projects with pre-existing audiences, such as adaptations of popular books or video games. Understanding and utilizing IP effectively can increase your script’s appeal.
Creating Short Films
Consider producing a short film version of your script. Netflix values complete works of art, and a well-executed short film can be a powerful pitch tool. The Duffer Brothers’ “Stranger Things,” initially rejected multiple times, is an excellent example of perseverance and the power of visual storytelling.
Practical Steps and Persistence
- Networking: Use platforms like IMDB Pro to build a network of industry contacts.
- Understanding Netflix’s Content Needs: Tailor your pitches to align with Netflix’s current content strategy.
- Developing a Strong Pitch: Refine your pitch to highlight unique aspects of your script.
- Considering Production Feasibility: Be mindful of the practical aspects of your screenplay from a production standpoint.
- Embracing Rejection and Persistence: Be prepared for rejections and use them as learning opportunities.
Selling your screenplay to Netflix involves a combination of strategic networking, understanding market trends, effectively utilizing intellectual property, and perhaps most importantly, persistence and resilience in the face of challenges.