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October 21, 2021

How to Pitch Your Script to Netflix

Getting your film or series on Netflix is every writer's dream. You've no doubt fantasized about who will play what part and seeing your film come up in the suggestions list when you log into the world's number one streaming platform. But how do you get there? How do you pitch your script straight to Netflix? Is Netflix even the right platform for your film or TV series?  

Before you go about pitching to Netflix you need to decide if this is the right platform for your screenplay.

Is Netflix the right platform for your script?

Getting your film or series on Netflix is indeed a dream for many writers. As you're conjuring images of A-list stars bringing your characters to life and anticipating the thrill of seeing your title pop up on Netflix, it's crucial to pause and ponder: Is Netflix the ideal home for your story? Understanding whether this streaming giant aligns with your project's vision, audience, and thematic elements is as crucial as crafting a compelling narrative.

Before you start thinking about which platform your show is going to be on you need to cover the basics such as getting the formatting right. Thankfully Arc Studio screenwriting software can make this happen. And the web version is completely FREE to download, no credit card needed.

The talented Netflix screenwriter David Wain uses Arc Studio screenwriting software

And the great news is that by downloading Arc Studio you'll be guaranteed that you're on the right path. It's used by the likes of writer David Wain whose prequel Wet Hot American Summer was snapped up by Netflix.

The Netflix appeal

Netflix is renowned for its diverse and expansive content library. From indie films to blockbuster series, its digital shelves are filled with a variety of genres and formats. This diversity might seem like a welcoming embrace for all kinds of scripts, but it's this very breadth that makes the platform highly selective. Your script isn't just competing with others in the slush pile but also with Netflix's current inventory and strategic content plan.

In 2024 this plan includes expanding to wider international markets and purchasing new content libraries. Amazon recently purchased MGM's complete library which includes the James Bond films. Meanwhile Apple TV+ has seen success with its original series For All Mankind that combines alternative history and Sci-Fi in a unique format.

With the final season of The Crown recently released in December last year, Netflix is also now inevitably on the hunt for a big tentpole production that can replace it. This doesn't mean you should write on the topic of royal families but that this is an opportunity to pitch something big and bold.

Evaluating your script's fit

Before you dream of Netflix's splash screen, ask yourself:

  • Genre and Audience: Does your script cater to a genre or niche that Netflix is currently exploring or looking to expand into? Understanding Netflix's audience and what performs well can provide insights into whether your story fits.
  • Originality and Quality: Netflix seeks innovative and engaging content. Does your script offer a unique perspective or a compelling narrative that stands out? The platform's reputation for quality means your script needs to be more than good; it needs to be exceptional.
  • Market Trends: Netflix's decisions are often driven by market trends and data. Does your script align with what's currently popular or in demand? A timely and relevant topic can increase your chances.

Pros and cons of choosing Netflix


  • Wide audience reach: Netflix's global platform can offer unparalleled exposure, potentially catapulting your story into the international limelight.
  • Creative opportunities: Known for taking risks on different and novel content, Netflix might be the place for unique stories that traditional studios might shy away from.
  • Cultural impact: Having your work on Netflix can significantly impact your career, opening doors to future opportunities.


  • Intense competition: Your script is up against a global pool of talent and content, making the selection process incredibly competitive.
  • Creative control: Depending on your contract, you might have to cede some creative control to Netflix, which can be a double-edged sword for writers passionate about their vision.
  • Navigating the process: As highlighted in your blog, getting through to Netflix requires navigating a complex network of agents and industry professionals, which can be daunting and time-consuming.

Strategic considerations

Before setting your sights on Netflix, consider alternative platforms and distribution methods. Sometimes, a smaller or more niche platform can offer better opportunities for exposure and creative control. Additionally, the indie route, film festivals, or direct online releases can also be viable pathways to success, especially if they align better with your script's nature and intended audience.

Netflix vs Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime

When considering platforms for your script, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video are two other giants worth considering. Each has its unique culture, audience, and content strategy. Understanding how pitching to these platforms differs from each other and from Netflix can help you make an informed decision about where to send your script.

Apple TV+

Content Strategy and Audience: Apple TV+ has made a name for itself by focusing on quality over quantity. With a smaller but growing library, Apple TV+ tends to favor high-production-value content with significant names attached. They are known for their selective, curated approach, aiming to offer premium, innovative, and culturally relevant content.

  • Pros:
  • Quality Focus: If your script is high-concept and polished, it might find a good home here.
  • Brand Prestige: Associating with the Apple brand can lend a certain prestige and visibility.
  • Potential for Creative Collaboration: Apple has been known to collaborate closely with creators, offering a chance for more creative input.
  • Cons:
  • Highly Selective: The platform's focus on fewer, high-quality productions makes it a highly competitive space.
  • Niche Audience: While growing, Apple TV+'s audience is generally more niche, which might limit exposure compared to Netflix.

Pitching Process: Like Netflix, Apple TV+ typically requires submissions through agents or industry contacts. Given their focus on premium content, having a polished, high-quality script and a reputable team or talent attached can be crucial.

Amazon Prime Video

Content Strategy and Audience: Amazon Prime Video offers a broad range of content, from blockbuster films to indie films and series. They've been known to support diverse and unique stories, and their approach is somewhat more traditional compared to Apple TV+.

  • Pros:
  • Diverse Content: Amazon is open to a wide variety of genres and styles, potentially offering a more accessible platform for different types of scripts.
  • Large Audience: With a vast global subscriber base, Amazon can offer significant exposure.
  • Amazon Studios: Their open-door policy in the past has made them approachable, though this has become more restricted recently.
  • Cons:
  • Competitive: The broad range also means more competition across various genres.
  • Changing Policies: Amazon has shifted its submission policies over time, reflecting a more traditional and selective approach.

Pitching Process: Amazon Prime Video has traditionally been more accessible for unsolicited pitches, but this has changed over the years, and they now generally require pitches to come through agents or established industry channels.

Comparing the three

  • Content Focus: Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have broader libraries, while Apple TV+ focuses more on a smaller, premium selection. Consider where your script fits in the spectrum of indie to blockbuster, niche to mainstream.
  • Audience Reach: Netflix has the largest global reach, followed by Amazon. Apple TV+, while growing, has a more selective audience.
  • Accessibility: All three platforms are challenging to break into without an agent or industry contacts, but Netflix and Apple TV+ are particularly stringent.
  • Creative Control and Collaboration: While this can vary widely by project, Apple TV+ might offer more opportunity for collaboration, whereas Netflix and Amazon have established, more streamlined production processes.
  • Potential for Exposure: Netflix might offer the broadest exposure, but a standout show on Apple TV+ or Amazon can still make significant waves and even benefit from less content saturation.

How to pitch your script to Netflix

There are a few steps every screenwriter should follow before even considering pitching to a production company. Let's dive in.

Write a good script

The first step to getting your TV. series or film on Netflix is to develop an original idea and write a great script. There's no substitute for this. Don't ever submit something you feel is mediocre.

Work on your script until you've gone as far as you can with it. When it's polished to your best standard, then get as many people to read it as you can.

If you know anyone in the industry, even people in junior roles now is the time to get them to read it and give you some honest feedback before you make your Netflix pitch.

You might think pitching to Netflix gives you the edge over screenwriters pitching to film and TV studios because Netflix has higher budgets and - theoretically - unlimited space to stream new projects. But this is the wrong mindset. Netflix isn't less competitive. Their standards are incredibly high.

Netflix's creative talent director Christoper Mack said in 2020 that he thought character was often more important than plot. But that may well have changed. Every commissioning editor also has their tastes.

Instead, focus on making your characters, plot, and dialogue the very best they can be. The genre is essential. You want executives at Netflix to be able to place your project immediately into an existing category on Netflix.

But never to the extent that you compromise your idea and try to copy what's already available.    

Get an agent

Netflix submission guidelines are very clear about how you should approach them.

"Netflix only accepts submissions through a licensed literary agent or from a producer, attorney, manager, or entertainment executive with whom we have a preexisting relationship. Any idea that is submitted by other means is considered an unsolicited submission...If you do not have any of these resources available, Netflix will be unable to accept your unsolicited submissions."

The best way to succeed in a Netflix pitch is to listen to this advice and get an agent.

What are the benefits of hiring an agent?

Before you go about hiring an agent, it's a good idea to consider why you want one. It's easy to think you need one because Netflix says so.

If you blanket pitch to every agent, you may end up with an agent you are not well suited to. They could end up stalling you for years or pushing you into doing a bad deal you don't feel comfortable with.

An agent should nurture you. They should discuss in detail with you what your plans are for your long-term scriptwriting career. They should fight for your interests, but they should also be realistic about surviving in a very competitive, challenging industry. They might even suggest to you that streaming services are not the best platform for your idea.

Not every agent will share your ideas and your career goals: you must connect with them on a personal level to be able to have these honest conversations.

How to approach an agent

Some big agencies don't accept unsolicited TV and film scripts. But there is a handful that does.

If you are based in the U.K., you might want to get hold of the latest edition of the Writers and Artists Yearbook, which has verified listings of TV and Film agents accepting unsolicited manuscripts.

Be careful of just Googling "Film agent" or similar terms. The top results are not always genuine, and the best agents are not always the ones who are savvy with their marketing and SEO.

You could try working backward. See who represents your favorite writers or similar writers in your genre, and then check out their websites.

You're also going to stand a much better chance of success if you've used industry-standard software like Arc Studio to format your screenplay correctly and professionally.


Networking is crucial to the film and TV industry. The more well-connected people you know in the industry, the easier it will be to get an agent and get in the door.

Networking is about building relationships. It isn't about approaching Netflix executives and agents at parties and insisting they read your script at every opportunity. It should be fun, and you should build genuine connections with people you like over months and years.

Attend as many events in key locations as you can. There will always be events happening in L.A., New York, and London. The major film festivals - Cannes, Venice, Sundance, and Berlin - are also worth attending.

Take advantage of the "new normal" as many people in the industry are now more open to networking online.

If you recently watched a film or a series from a writer or director that you admired, drop them an email and tell them. The worst that can happen is that they don't reply.

Also, think about your existing network. Do you know anyone who knows someone in the industry that they could introduce you to?

Sometimes vocalizing your writing and pitching plans to your friends can lead to these connections being made naturally.  

How can you break through without an agent?

We've all heard the stories of debut screenwriters breaking all of these rules. They are just so talented that their scripts end up getting picked up by Netflix without an agent. So how do they do it?

Getting a big name attached to your project is going to help you a lot. If you can get your script read by a big star - say, Vin Diesel, Daniel Craig, Scarlett Johansson - and then potentially attached to it, this will open doors for you. Some celebrities also actively look for new talent to nurture.

Reese Witherspoon has her own production company now called Hello Sunshine. Her company scouts for talented female scriptwriters and directors.

Convincing big names and directors to read your script is going to be the biggest hurdle. If you've written something so jaw-droppingly unique and you've polished it to its fullest potential, once they've read it, they will come to you.

Shoot your film yourself - the indie route

Did you know one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Orson Wells, self-funded his masterpiece Othello?

It took him decades after the company producing it went bankrupt just as the shooting began. He also had to take some minor acting roles to get the final parts of the funding in place.

Self-funding and shooting your film is becoming increasingly popular. However, it is an expensive route to take. You may still need to find partners who are as passionate as you about the project. But it is a lot more feasible than it once was.

In fact, Netflix sometimes encourages it.

Netflix executive Elizabeth Bradley told Playback magazine:

"... we're looking to get stuff on screen, so spending time that could be years and lots of projects on the development cycle right now is not the primary focus for us [...] the fastest way to get your show made is to come to us with a script [...] Show us you are ready to execute and we are thrilled to greenlight straight to series."

With no studio behind you, you are free to make the film or TV series you want to make with unlimited creative control.

The YouTuber Matt D'Avella self-funded his documentary film about the minimalist movement: The Minimalists, Less Is Now.

Netflix eventually picked this up. D'Avella spent around $85,000 on his production. D'Avella kept the costs down because he was the principal cinematographer, editor, and director. This could be an option if you have the skill set to do this - and D'Avella admits he learned as he went.

To stand a chance of getting any self-shot film on Netflix, you have to maintain their high production values. This can be hard to do on a budget. D'Avella says he called on some favors from friends in the industry to secure a professional color grade.  

D'Avella developed a 15-minute short version of the film and put together a 2-minute trailer and a 16-page pitch document. If you can get through the door without an agent, Netflix is fluid with how you pitch to them. Having trailer footage and a clear plan for the future of the film worked well for D'Avella. For others, a finished film and a script might work better.

It took several months of deliberations before Netflix decided to pick D'Avella's film as an original. Keep this in mind. The commissioning process at any studio always takes a long time. Many key stakeholders will be involved in making the decision.

Pitching your script to Netflix is not easy: perseverance is key

Getting your film on Netflix is challenging. There is no clear official route. According to Netflix submission guidelines, you need the assistance of an agent.

Getting an agent or someone well connected in the industry to look at and then champion your script will help you a great deal. But it isn't the only route. You could self-fund the film or befriend an executive or stakeholder at Netflix.

All of these options require a great deal of perseverance. This is part of the job of being a screenwriter. Even with a great script, there will be days where you feel like giving up.

Don't get discouraged. You will make it eventually if you keep trying and your script is strong enough.


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Arcane, one of the most successful Netflix shows, was written on Arc Studio. Try it free!

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How to Pitch Your Script to Netflix
Harry Verity

Harry is a professional writer. His first novel The Talk Show was published in the U.S and the U.K by Bloodhound Books in 2021 and he is currently working on adapting it for screen using Arc Studio. He's also written for Media Magazine - a UK magazine for students of A-level Film, Media and Television Studies. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, Readers' Digest and Newsweek, amongst many other publications. He has just finished his second novel for young adults, set in a boarding school. He holds a BA in English from Loughborough University.

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Arcane, one of the most successful Netflix shows, was written on Arc Studio. Try it free!

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With Arc Studio pro, you stay focused while writing your screenplay, craft better stories, and collaborate with ease.

Arcane, one of the most successful Netflix shows, was written on Arc Studio. Try it free!

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