Why An Infographic Version?

The talented Edwina has created an infographic version of the most popular post on this blog, How To Write TV Series Bibles for us. Originally written waaaaay back in 2009, my TV series bible post has now received in excess of 150K+ visits!!! Amazing.

I love the “cartoony” feel of Edwina’s infographic. I think it fits the “feel” of the information and style of the post really well.  Be sure to follow Edwina on Twitter and say hello!

About TV Series Bibles & TV Writing

TV Series Bibles are those documents that accompany your spec TV pilot when you send them out to a producer, agent, competition or similar. Usually 3-5 pages long, TV series bibles are an added opportunity to sell your idea ‘off the page’ and hook the reader.

By the way, TV series bibles are actually really a type of treatment … But for whatever reason the term ‘bible’ has caught on, online. This means writers Google that term most often, when looking for info about them. Shrug. Here’s some more info and case studies on TV writing …

What’s in a TV Series Bible?

There’s no ‘industry standard’ to this, but as a script reader I think it’s good to include the following …

  • 1 page pitch x 1
  • Character profiles for ALL character x 1
  • Short synopses of ALL other episodes x 1
  • Format x 1 (how each episode works)

So, four pages (plus your pilot episode). These four pages are your CORE material really, what you absolutely can’t do without. I think there’s no problem going up to five pages (as long as your pitch is ONLY one page) … But I wouldn’t recommend eking anything out simply to fill the space.

You May Also Like To Include …

These are obviously just optional, plus you don’t want to go overboard.

  • A letter, diary entry or interview with the protagonist and/or antagonist
  • Photographs, mood board and/or concept art
  • Setting/Tone or Arena
  • Location or maps
  • Writer’s statement

Of course, as individuals you may come up with something else for your “optional” material – and why not? Just remember – there are no “rules” on what you SHOULD include in a series bible. Just don’t be boring or too long!!

Don’t forget!

Spec TV Series Bibles and ones for commissioned shows can be VERY different beasts. Remember, ‘spec’ is short for ‘speculative’ … This means no one has asked you to write your TV script, you have done it off your own bat.

If you are working with someone though, it’s also worth remembering that some producers, agents etc may call Spec TV series bibles “treatments” or “extended pitches”. They may also have specific ideas of what they want included in the script and its accompanying pitch material. Always make sure you are all on the same page.

More details on all this HERE, or click the pic below. Good luck!

How to Write TV Series Bibles (3)

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12 Responses to How To Write TV Series Bibles – The Infographic!

  1. Andrew says:

    Oh, nice infographic! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Scot B. says:

    So fortunate to have found this infographic, but I’m still left with that all-important question: which font to use in a bible doc? Is Courier 12 appropriate here, or is Times New Roman more standard? thx!

    • Lucy V Hay says:

      There’s no specialised font you need in a bible doc, Scot – you can use whatever you want. Best to avoid the dreaded Comic Sans, however or any of those with serifs (“squiggly bits”). I tend to use Arial, it’s a nice clean font and a welcome change to Courier.

    • Lynn Tarzwell says:

      If I know which producer or broadcaster I want to pitch to, I check out their site and cop their font. Cheap psychological trick — but it works.

  3. How would the format be different on a commissioned bible?

    • Lucy V Hay says:

      How long is a piece of string, really … A commissioned bible will act as a reference doc for the people making the show, so all kinds of stuff will be in it. In very long shows, they will be massive tomes! Apparently Coronation Street even has a show ‘historian’ to check various things for continuity purposes!

  4. D says:

    I’m a little unclear about the “Episode Synopsis” section. What exactly is the “story of the week” and “serial element”?

    Thanks!

  5. Phil Parker says:

    Hey Lucy,

    Great infographic. Do you know of a real-world example I could read and compare to the infographic to help me get my bearings?

    Cheers

    Phil

    • Lucy V Hay says:

      Hi, Phil. Yes there’s a list of links in the original post, which you can access HERE. Alternatively, if you want to read spec series bibles, why not do peer review with the other B2Wers in the Bang2writers Facebook Group? You can JOIN HERE.

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