How to sell your script to Netflix

Writing a complete screenplay is no easy task. It takes time, effort, tons of creativity, and its share of sweat and blood. But when you finally manage to type the last period, you know that it was all worth it. Unless nobody reads your script ever, in which case, the whole process might be quite disappointing. BUT I’m here to cheer you up! And show you that there is a light at the end of the always-pitched-but-never-produced-screenplays tunnel.

When we think about writing a movie or TV show we automatically think about Netflix. Whew! There was a time when we would think of the big screen, or even television, but let’s face it, that is sooo two thousand and late. And it’s no mystery why. Netflix has completely revolutionized the way we watch entertainment media, creating a change of paradigm that is here to stay. Combine this with the new accessibility for producing films along with things as, let’s say, a global pandemic. You’ll have everyone who ever worked in media wanting nothing more than to be on this famous streaming service recommendation list. So how can you sell your script to Netflix?

Well, in order to answer this question I first must explain how Netflix works exactly. And no, I’m not talking about signing up and getting your first 30 days free. I’m talking about Netflix being a production company, and here’s the thing: It’s not. Yep, you read that right. Let me explain.

sell your script

What exactly is Netflix

Netflix is essentially a distribution company. This means that they take content from other production companies (Disney, Century Fox, Sony Pictures, etc) and make it available to watch on their platform. This means that the way this content comes to you has more to do with rights management and broadcasting deals than with any other production stage. Now, in the last couple of years, Netflix has started “creating” original content. But (here is where all the blabber comes to be) they aren’t really creating anything themselves. 

Netflix delegates the production of their “originals” to other actual production companies across the world. In most cases, Netflix doesn’t even pay for production, but rather offers a pre-sale deal (again, distribution and broadcasting contracts).

In some other cases, they might bring money upfront to the production, but that is not as common. At the end of the day, it all depends on the specific deal they have with that specific production company.

So can you sell your script to Netflix?

So again, how can you get there? Well, now that you know how it works, you’re probably getting an idea. The only way to get Netflix to produce (or more properly distribute) your content is to bring it to those production companies that will then bring it to them. And the great news is that these companies are not so hard to find.

For instance, working with Netflix is something production companies tend to brag about. Therefore, it’s easy to spot them on their websites or Linkedin/Facebook profiles. 

You can also find out by literally watching a bunch of Netflix (which let’s be honest, you’re already doing). Pay attention to the opening and ending credits, and you’ll find which company or companies produced that specific content. These are also companies working with Netflix. 

And like everything else in life, you can also take your search to Google. There are multiple research reports, articles, and lists of companies that are known to work with Netflix. In fact, depending on your country, there might even be official reports from Film Commissions about this. 

And once you’ve identified these companies, you’re on the other side. Of course, you still need to reach out to them and pitch your project. But don’t feel overwhelmed. You can take a look at some of our resources on how to pitch your project and get ready to knock it out of the park.

Happy writing!

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