The world of indie film production is abuzz with folks wanting to sell a movie to Netflix. And this is for a good reason. With over 30 million subscribers, getting your film into the platform would represent exposure and validation. And as a result, it’s not uncommon to hear about otherwise pragmatic filmmakers ending up with a significant case of Netflix FOMO.
“I want to sell my movie to Netflix! And if I can’t sell a movie to Netflix, I would be happy to put my movie on Netflix for free. I want people to see it.”
If you’re having similar thoughts, you’re not alone. Getting your film on Netflix is enticing. But accepting a deal that doesn’t pay the bills or pay back your investors is silly. Plus, there is a lot more to a film release strategy than just SVOD. So if getting your movie on Netflix is your only desire, then you may want to stop what you’re doing and create a movie marketing plan.
Your Netflix Pitch
There are two conventional ways to attract Netflix. You can cross your fingers and hope your film gets accepted to major festivals, builds lots of buzz, and garners the attention of someone from Netflix. Or you can get your movie in front of a distributor or a sales agent with the relationships and reputation for making favorable deals with Netflix.
The challenge is this. Any good distributor or sales agent is pitched projects multiple times a day. As a result, you’ll need to find creative ways to make your film rise above the noise and get noticed. Answer these questions to help refine your pitch.
- Do you have any “names” or “influencers” in your film?
- Does your film focus on a popular subject?
- Does your film have a strong social media following or press?
Once you have a well-rehearsed pitch that showcases the value of your film, your next step is to reach out to the distributor or sales agent and make the pitch. The distributor will then evaluate your movie to determine if it has any shot at getting picked up. And depending on your negotiation, you might even get a minimum guarantee.
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Find A Distributor Or Sales Agent
If your film gets pitched to Netflix, it will take a few weeks to get a response. If the folks at Netflix are interested, they will negotiate directly with your distributor or sales agent. Most deals typically pay a licensing fee for one or two years.
If the agreement is accepted, you will need to provide your distributor or sales agent with the necessary video files and artwork. And your distributor will then work with various vendors and encoding houses to deliver your film.
If Netflix chooses to license worldwide rights, you will need to deliver subtitles and localized artwork for each territory. Money to cover these deliverables is usually taken directly from your licensing fee. And it’s always good to ask for clarification on these points before signing any contracts. This way, you know what you’re getting into.
Alternatives To Netflix Distribution
If Netflix passes on your film, you usually won’t get a lot of feedback. Do not take this personally. Perhaps Netflix picked up a similar film last week. Or maybe the acquisition team is focused on other genres. Or perhaps it’s raining in Hollywood?
It’s important to remember that Netflix is only one of many premium subscription platforms. Other SVOD platforms in the United States include Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Max, Showtime, Stars, and many more. Any of these SVOD platforms could potentially pay a decent licensing fee and get your film in front of millions of subscribers.
A good film distributor will collaborate with you on ways to maximize the film’s success. This includes getting your movie the best placement in each outlet and negotiating the best deals. If you’d like more information on how all this works, download my film distribution guide.
WANT TO LEARN FILM DISTRIBUTION?