The Netflix Pitch Webinar held on February 4, 2021, by Christopher Mack of Netflix was absolutely off the chain. We wanted to give you all some inside intel because we love you and also Christopher Mack is amazing. The webinar, officially entitled “Netflix Television Pitching Webinar“ was over two and a half hours of straight creative fire. We know everyone couldn’t attend, but here’s everything you need to know about the webinar.
1. Everything starts with character.
Yeah, you have a dope storyline, a great inciting incident, and your title is fabulous. Still, if your characters don’t make us want to root for them, you’re done. Toast. Finito. Your TV show better have some multilayered, I’m talking wedding-cake-high type of layers.
2. Walter White is a legend.
You call yourself a writer and you don’t know who Walter White is? Go sit down. If Netflix is evoking the character of the great Walter White in a Television Pitching Webinar, you better know who he is. Period. And we don’t want to hear about how much it costs to stream it or if you don’t have said streaming service. Don’t talk to us about that. Become intimately familiar with Walter White. That is all.
3. Your writing does not stop with the pilot.
Your series bible and pitch deck are additional tools that a writer should have as a part of their package. Mack recommended the length of the pitch deck to be 15 – 30 pages. As much as writing a pilot can be challenging, trying to pitch a pilot without a deck will prove to be even more challenging. Take the time and write either a series bible or a pitch deck.
4. Make your character grow.
Bland characters are boring. Hello. Maybe your character starts as a church lady, then falls into the pulpit and becomes a prostitute. We don’t know. But make your character do something which means growth, growth, and more growth. When you examine the most interesting characters in television history, you love them because they’ve grown and they’re multi-dimensional.
5. Watch more television with GREAT characters.
We are not advocating watching a bunch of bad television. And, to be honest, some of it is out there. But, watch those shows where the characters are exciting and complex. Their complexity is like a template to give your character more of what he/she needs. Studies may say that watching too much television kills your brain cells. Not for TV writers. Good TV grows brain cells? Maybe not, but close.
6. Make your audience feel something.
They love to hate the character. They love to love the character. They want the character to win. They want the character to lose. They’re team McDreamy. They’re team McSteamy. If you have characters that make people feel something, you’re going to win.
7. Familiarize yourself with the Dan Harmon story circle.
We gotta admit we weren’t familiar with the Dan Harmon story circle until this webinar. But, Mack preached about that story circle as if it was the gospel. And, we’re not mad. We’ve since done additional research and our characters follow the Harmon story circle. Harmon’s story circle is yet another powerful tool to put in your writer toolbox.
8. Characters are more important than plot.
Think about a story plot, any story plot, and now think about what kind of character fits best in that plot. Now, think about that same plot and put the most complex character you’ve ever heard of in that plot. See the difference? Plot can make a story but a good story can’t survive without a dope character.
9. You need representation.
The standard line in Hollywood is: We don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts. Well, neither does Netflix. Get your hustle on and find some representation.
You can go to the Stage 32 website to see this webinar in full. It’s certainly worth the time. They sent us this via email so it’s official.
The recording will be available to watch on-demand within 24 hours. You must have a Stage 32 profile in order to view the on-demand video. A Stage 32 profile is free, takes 30 seconds to create, and you will be instantly connected to nearly 750,000 creatives and professionals worldwide.
IF YOU HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE You can view the webinar in your Stage 32 profile once you are logged in by clicking “Education” on your top menu bar, then clicking “My Education”.
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE
1) Go to www.stage32.com
2) Create a profile using the SAME email address you used to sign up for this webinar.
3) Once you have a profile set up, you can view the webinar in your Stage 32 profile by clicking “Education” on your top menu bar, then clicking “My Education”
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Side note: We’ve taken several How To Write Television workshops and have written both pitch decks and bibles. This webinar with Christopher Mack felt like a master class.
All photos courtesy Christopher Mack / Netflix.