How I Got My Documentary On Netflix with Matt D’Avella
Documentary filmmaker Matt D'Avella shares his journey of how he got his documentary "Minimalism" on Netflix.
How I Got My Documentary On Netflix
Matt D'Avella shares two BIG pieces of advice:
1. Focus 1st on making the absolute best film that you can. Put everything you can into a high-quality production.
2. Partner up with people who have skills you don’t have. In Matt's case, he partnered with those with an existing audience.
Having a successful first film doesn’t mean a second successful film. Matt's second film “failed”, but Netflix came on board as a partner and made it an “original” Netflix production. That means they funded it upfront and became team members.
There is no “one way” to pitch Netflix. Use whatever creative tools you have to get across your vision. (Trailer, Pitch Deck, rough cut, etc)
Favorite advice from another filmmaker: “If your story doesn’t change along the way, you’re not listening.”
The critical importance of a compelling “hook” at the beginning of a film.
Sometimes things work good on paper, but not in reality.
Huge challenge was the Story Structure - Initially started with a Part 1 and Part 2, but realized the story worked better to weave the two stories together.
Yes, it can be difficult to cut scenes, but do NOT get married to any ideas.
During the post-production process, do an honest evaluation of what’s essential and what’s not and cut anything that's not working (no matter how attached you are to the footage).
There were a lot of versions of the film. It's important to share your rough cuts with friends, team members and colleagues to get fresh eyes on the story.
Never give up on an idea until you look at all the options.
There is no straight line to success. Many years will need to be dedicated to the craft.
I just wanted to say that I think your website is amazing . I am a beginner with an idea, and the info and articles on your website are easy to understand and answer many questions I have. I can not wait to start filming!
- Sarah (Sydney, Australia)
I am a professional filmmaker, and I applaud this site for detailing the ABC's of documentary filmmaking. It serves as my own checklist as I continue making my own movies ... Thanks!