Essentially, your TV series bible is a pitching document that contains an intriguing scoop on how to plan to breathe life into your series’ story and script. Everything from your main characters and their backstory, to the course of events and screenplay, an engrossing TV series bible is expected to have more than just a pilot synopsis or a one-page pitch.
When you approach producers with your vision and story, you want them to sign off on it without any doubt, knowing from the information from your series bible, your series will be a long-term success. For this to happen, your bible has to be pitch-perfect, and designing a pitch is a form of art.
Here are five key areas to consider carefully when designing an engrossing TV series bible:
Keep it Short but Slick
You don’t want the big guys to get bored or impatient while reading your pitch. Your series bible has to be crisp, detailed, but fast-paced. Get to the main essence of your story from the get-go. Try to aim for a series bible that’s between five and ten pages long (however in some circumstances, bibles can be up to 20 pages - but the shorter the better!). Throw in some riveting synopsis, maintain consistency in terms of tones and character personalities, lingo, style, culture references, relevant details, and so on.
Ensure the cover is eye-catching and engaging - it needs to stand out again the sea of black and white typed competition. Less is more with just a title, author name and optional tag line. Don't include any other text or info - a punchy image is all that is required here.
Highlight Your Vision
You are writing a TV series because you have a story you want to tell, and invariably, that story is personal and says a lot about who you are as a writer and creator. If you want to pique the interest of agents, producers, studios, and executives, make sure you prioritize your visions and allow them to shine through your series bible. By doing this, you’re lending a unique and exclusive touch to your script and show.
Talk About the Big Picture
Investors are always looking for a comprehensive story that will blow their minds. If you’ve already written your pilot script, include a brief but broad gist of what the rest of the episodes in the season are going to look like, sound like, and seem like. If you have a plan for another season, throw that in, too. This makes the producers believe that your show is cut out for long-term success.
Make sure your contact details (an email address will suffice) is included on the last page. Bibles and pitch decks are handed around the office and passed on from agents to investors. Having your details on there is essential - if appropriate to your style of pitch you could even include a call to action or a small about paragraph 'about the author', concluding with your email address and phone number (or agents details).
Check out this link for more awesome pitching tips from masters Judd Apatow and Shonda Rhimes!