Scott Frank is a superstar Hollywood screenwriter and director — with credits ranging from “Minority Report” to “Get Shorty” and a new blockbuster Wolverine movie (“Logan”) in theatres — but he says working with Netflix is the best experience he’s had.
Frank has an upcoming Netflix show called “Godless,” a period Western set in 1800s New Mexico, that will likely land sometime in the fall.
“It’s the best experience I’ve ever had,” Frank said on the Recode Media podcast with Peter Kafka. He said Netflix is definitely holding up their end in letting him have creative freedom on the show, which counts Steven Soderbergh as an executive producer.
“It doesn’t mean they don’t have opinions, and don’t have thoughts and have budgets and so on. You still have to be disciplined with them, but they are unbelievable to work for, and were supportive and always helpful. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m still waiting.”
Market rate…plus a bit extra
There have been conflicting reports about creative freedom on Netflix shows, especially as it gains power in Hollywood. A report from The Hollywood Reporter in September said that Beau Willimon, whose adaptation of “House of Cards” was Netflix’s first monster hit, was “taken off the show after its fourth season because he pushed back hard on notes from Netflix execs.”
But Netflix has maintained that its input in shows is always invited. “We don’t impose ourselves on the process creatively,” Netflix content boss Ted Sarandos said last year.
It seems that, at least in Frank’s experience, that is true.
Frank also said that Netflix is paying the market rate, plus a bit extra “in some cases,” since the Netflix model is based on subscriptions, and doesn’t have the same opportunity to make money on the back end.
And as to how Frank approached creating a Netflix show people will most likely be binge-watching, he used an old touchstone: the novel.
“I treat it like a novel,” he said. People may drag it out over a couple of weeks or people might watch the whole thing on a Friday night. “Everyone has their own kind of thing.”