Netflix’s Most Popular Show Is An Overnight Success That Took 30 Years To Make

The Queen’s Gambit has been a huge success for Netflix. In the first 28 days of its availability on the streaming giant, it set the record for the most viewers on record for a limited-run scripted series, with over 62 million accounts watching at least part of it. a episode.

Alone The witcher and King tiger had more viewers during that window. This means that not only is The Queen’s Gambit one of Netflix’s biggest hits right now, it’s one of its most popular shows of all time. I’m not sure if anyone could have predicted that a scripted limited-edition chess series would become the most popular show on the world’s biggest streaming service, but hey, it’s 2020.

More interesting, however, is the fact that it took producer Allan Scott over 30 years, eight different directors, and nine rewrites before bringing the series to television. In an interview with Sunday Post, Scott described how he initially purchased an option in 1989 for Walter Tevis’ novel about an orphan in the 1950s who learns to play chess. In 1993, he acquired the exclusive rights to transform the book into a film.

Scott didn’t name all of the directors he tried to persuade to help make the film, but it wasn’t until he met Scott Frank, who wrote the screenplay for Minority report and Logan, that things started to fall into place. In 2017, Netflix agreed to produce the seven-episode series.

It’s not like Scott is a newcomer to film production. Scott has written or co-written a dozen films, the most famous of which is probably The preacher’s wife, which starred Denzel Washington and Whitney Houston. Yet there is no doubt that he will be remembered for an overnight success that took 30 years to achieve.

It’s not hyperbole to say The Queen’s Gambit is a huge success. Since its release in late October, the show has surpassed Netflix’s most popular originals and received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, including a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

There’s an obvious lesson here: Almost nothing that seems like an overnight success actually is. In most cases, such as The Queen’s Gambit, things that seem to pop up out of nowhere and result in immediate success actually take a lot of hard work over a long period of time.

It should be encouraging. Imagine if Scott had given up a decade or two ago. It is not a totally unreasonable notion. It’s not hard to think of how many times he had to consider giving up completely. The lowest point came in 2008, when Heath Ledger agreed to direct a film version that ultimately never happened due to the untimely death of the Australian actor.

It would have been easy to walk away and forget the whole idea. It’s okay in much less complicated circumstances than waiting three decades to see something you believe in finally come to life.

It’s easy to think “my moment is past” or “it just wasn’t meant to be”. I guess it’s possible that this is true, but I think it’s just as likely that whatever moment has just passed wasn’t yours, and yours is yet to come.

Also, just to be clear, nothing is “meant to be”. If it were, everything would be easy, and it is hardly ever easy. It only looks like an observer because you only see the finished product. It can easily make you doubt your own goals or dreams because they don’t look like success yet.

Of course, if you convince yourself that it wasn’t meant to be – if you give up – it’ll never look like a success. If you quit, that’s it. It’s finish. That’s not to say it won’t be difficult, or even devastating at times. This means that the hard work is worth it, even if it takes a few decades longer than expected.

The opinions expressed here by the columnists of Inc.com are theirs and not those of Inc.com.


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Javier E. Swan

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