In Discovery’s I Quit (airing Tuesdays at 9p), entrepreneurs risk it all when they give up their jobs to follow their passions. The show is the first major cable series for new prodco Shopify Studios, the TV and film arm of e-commerce company Shopify. Head of Shopify Studios Sarah North explains its unique approach to content and partnerships.
We think of Shopify for e-commerce. How did it extend into TV and film content?
It’s actually a very natural extension if you look at the company’s core principles. Shopify believes entrepreneurs make the world a better place, and we’ve always been dedicated to removing the barriers to starting, managing and growing a business – providing opportunity for anyone with an idea. Shopify Studios advances that mission by spotlighting a wide variety of entrepreneurial stories, bringing more voices to the space and, hopefully, inspiring others to follow through with their own entrepreneurial dreams.
Our primary goal for Shopify Studios is to create original, entertaining and thought-provoking content that – by way of strong storytelling – wields the power to redefine entrepreneurship, making it accessible to individuals everywhere. We are committed to offering an unfiltered look at the real entrepreneurs of the world along with honest depictions of entrepreneurial life – and it’s a brilliant, passionate rollercoaster, so get ready!
We’re also uniquely well-equipped to tell these stories. As an arm of Shopify, we’re fortunate to have special access and insight into the entrepreneurial world, including the emerging trends, recurring themes, relevant stories and dynamic subjects. And we care deeply about getting it right, which shows up in the authenticity of the finished product.
Are their specific genres you specialize in?
Well, one massive benefit of our specialized lane is that the world of entrepreneurship has a lot to offer, in terms of diversity of characters, experiences and subject matter. We’re leaning into those superpowers, utilizing a wide range of genres and formats to share these stories. Empowering entrepreneurial journeys are our North Star that allows us to focus, innovate and think big.
Our current slate includes projects spanning gritty docuseries, comedy and feature documentaries, as well as structured and unstructured reality, all spotlighting a variety of industries, including the worlds of music, sports and other entertainment. We’re also partnering with the industry’s best-in-class creators to realize these projects, whether it’s Academy Award nominated filmmakers or revered production companies with successful track records and specialized expertise.
In the case of I Quit on Discovery, the structure of the series is built around the idea of showcasing a crucial period of time for an entrepreneur: the months after they decide to leave their steady 9-5 in order to go all in on their business dream. It’s an intimate docuseries packed with inspiration, uplifting moments, levity and plenty of drama. While this was the best entry point for this particular story, viewers can definitely expect Shopify Studios’ projects to vary in terms of format, genre and tone.
What’s your approach to content partnerships?
Studios’ content strategy has always involved aligning and partnering with the most innovative and respected names and production labels in the business in order to bring ideas to life. We continually welcome ideas from prospective partners, and for concepts developed internally, we seek out the talent and creatives we feel are best suited for the project at hand.
From there, it’s a complete collaboration from start to finish. Our core team of producers works directly with our partners through casting, development and production, all the way through the project’s sale and premiere.