Cindy Holland, Netflix’s head of original content, recently gave a rare interview to The Hollywood Reporter to discuss how her small team helps new series come to fruition.
Holland, who oversees 16 employees and a growing portion of Netflix’s $US3 billion programming budget, “has been tasked with building the company’s original series business, which began in 2011 with a $US100 million, 26-episode bet on ‘House of Cards,'” according to THR.
After an “Arrested Development” revival and the critically acclaimed “Orange Is the New Black” followed, Holland hasn’t looked back.
Once Holland’s team helps Netflix choose and purchase a show, the exec says it’s “a balancing act” trying to help guide production while also granting plenty of creative freedom. Holland explains to THR:
“We view our job as helping support the creators to fulfil their vision, not ours. We view ourselves as the objective outsider. Sometimes in a writers room the mood will shift a certain way, and we’ll start to remind people: ‘Hey, early on you talked about wanting to explore this dynamic or these characters. Are you still intending to do that?’ It’s about being supportive and helping to point out things that from the outset the storytellers have expressed a desire to do.”
As for advice Holland gives show creators, she says:
“We’ll talk to them very early on about how series are consumed on Netflix. I think you can take the time to really develop characters and storylines, and you can go on some pretty interesting tangents and not be too concerned because the viewer will be right back with you in that story in the next hour to two hours. Jenji has commented that with Orange, it gives her the freedom to not have to service all of these characters in every episode, which would be daunting. Another thing we’ve learned is that if a viewer is going to watch, on average, 2 ½ episodes a night, if you’re using similar source music or a lot of music, it can get repetitive.”
Holland explains that next up on Netflix’s agenda is broadening its comedy content.
“Comedies of varying types are an area of extreme interest to us,” Holland revealed. “We’re just starting in the comedy space outside of ‘Arrested,’ and comedies have a more territory-by-territory appeal. So we’re doing some experimentation in comedy to see what kind of tailoring we might need to do for different markets.”
One person Netflix is hoping will translate? Chelsea Handler, who just signed a deal for a stand-up special in October, followed by four “docucomedies” in 2015 and a talk show in 2016.
To read the rest of Holland’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter, click here >
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