“Produced By” – the magazine of the Producer’s Guild of America recently featured an interview with Chris Brancato – show runner for the gritty Netflix crime drama “Narcos.” He’s an experienced writer-producer and among other things wrote Sherlock Holmes 3 starring Robert Downey, Jr. In the conversation, the writer Sarah Sanders brought up his approach to pitching to networks. While most writers and producers are obsessed with the “idea,” Brancato approaches it from another angle. Here’s the excerpt from their conversation:
Produced By: While the multiplicity of channels and sheer number of interesting shows available could make it seem like it’s easy to sell a good series in today’s “golden age” of television, Brancato insists that notion is false. “It’s actually harder to sell a series and get it on the air perhaps than it’s ever been,” he says. “Every executive – and I’ve grown up with most of these people over the last 30 years – has heard every pitch, in every incarnation. There’s almost no pitch you could ever give them that they haven’t heard in some way, shape or form. So how do you get it to on air, as opposed to in development?”
The answer, he maintains, is to create a tsunami: a combination of factors, from the concept to the actors and producers involved, that together create something a network executive will not only be excited about, but also afraid to ignore, “The only way to get you [a network executive] to say yes is to make you terrified to say no – to make you worry that your competitor’s going to get that show. It’s not actually just about creating a good idea. It’s about creating that tsunami.”
The question is: What tsunami are you creating around your idea?
Good advice from a seasoned producer…