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 …
- How To Plot TV Series – ‘Story of The Week’ vs. Serial Element
- How To Write Great Openers That Grab The Reader
- 10 Top TV Writers Share Their Writing Craft Secrets
- 10 Top TV Writers Share Their Writing Career Secrets
- How To Plot Sitcom (Simpsons case study)
- How To Plot Sitcom # 2 (Friends case study)
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!!
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!