How to Pitch a TV Show for Netflix

Netflix’s original TV series are a huge draw for millions of their subscribers. Netflix and other streaming services have found that producing original TV shows has attracted more viewers to their service. This is great news for TV show writers.

As more streaming services need new, creative ideas, there are more opportunities to get your TV series produced than ever before. That said, there is also a lot of competition.

Therefore, you need to identify and develop your idea clearly to have a chance of getting it accepted by a service such as Netflix.

How do you pitch your TV show to a streaming service like Netflix?

Preparing Your TV Series Idea

There are several steps you’ll need to complete before you pitch your idea.

1. Identify a Fresh, Unique Concept

One critical element is to have an original idea that will work for a TV show. Not all ideas can withstand the episodic demands of a TV series. You need a concept that will captivate an audience and keep them engaged throughout eight or more episodes, depending on the length of the TV show’s season. Additionally, most TV shows are designed to have multiple seasons, so keep this in mind when developing your idea.

Take your time developing and testing the core of your idea. If your concept doesn’t stand out, you’ll waste time later on when you pitch an idea that doesn’t capture people’s attention.

2. Get to Know Your Story’s Characters and the Setting

Make sure you understand the dynamics of your main characters and important secondary characters. Consider making a character file where you keep track of critical information such as physical appearances and quirks. This file will make it easier to ensure essential details are consistent throughout the season or seasons. 

Also, make sure you have a strong sense of place, even if it isn’t the main focus of the story. Think of a TV series you’ve enjoyed. Then, visualize the setting or settings. Even popular half-hour comedy shows often have settings that stand out to the audience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to add an interesting element to your story idea.

3. Write the Script for the Pilot Episode

Now that you know your TV show idea, characters, and setting, it’s time to write the script for the pilot episode. Given the competitive market for TV shows, you’ll need more than your idea to sell your series. You’ll need to bring the show to life through your script and demonstrate that you know how to write a strong script.

4. Ideally, Write Several of the TV Show’s Episodes

Next, you’ll want to write at least a few more of your show’s episodes. By doing this, you’ll demonstrate that you know how to develop a TV show series. This approach also will give the people you pitch your idea to a better feel for the show’s concept, characters, and setting.

Pitching Your TV Show Idea

Now that you have your idea finalized and several scripts completed, you’re ready to start pitching your TV show. However, be advised that Netflix does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Instead, you’ll need to pitch your idea to licensed literary agents, producers, or entertainment executives who already have a relationship with Netflix.

1. Make Sure You Can Summarize Your TV Series Idea in One Sentence

It may seem impossible, but you can do this. This approach is sometimes called the elevator pitch or the logline. The concept is to have a brief, engaging one-sentence summary that will hook an agent or producer. With so many ideas out there, you need to be able to capture people’s attention quickly.

Now you won’t be able to cram in every aspect of your idea. You won’t be able to include every twist and turn. The agents and producers know this. What they need is a quick summary of the core of your idea.

This brief pitch makes it easier for them to get Netflix’s interest if the agent represents you.

2. Research Literary Agents, Producers, and Entertainment Executives Who Have a Relationship With Netflix

Take your time on this step and create a list of people who you feel you’ll work well with. Check to make sure they’re legitimate, and don’t send your pitch to just anyone and everyone.

3. Submit Your Proposal

Once you have your list of agents, you’ll need to submit your pitch. You may need to write additional summaries at this point, such as a short synopsis or a query letter. Follow the specific instructions on the agent’s or producer’s website. Also, make sure they are currently open to accepting submissions.

It’s critical to follow their guidelines completely. They receive hundreds of proposals, and weeding out people who don’t follow the rules is an easy first step.

It Takes Time, But You Can Get Your TV Show Idea Produced

Getting your TV show produced by a streaming service like Netflix takes time, patience, and determination. But with some preparation on your part, you can succeed in getting your idea produced.