Screenwriting : Pitch bible by Lisa Bogner

Lisa Bogner

Pitch bible

Sooo.... I already have a basic knowledge on how to write the bible but I will need further instructions. The pilot for my tv show is almost finished. I've also finished the pitch (a screenwriter friend of mine is currently looking over it). But... The bible is where I sort of stumble and fall. My friend told me to look at bibles of tv series that are of the same genre and style like mine is and that there is not really a standard template and it all comes down to creativity and how detailed I want it to be -- this part is not the problem -- I sure am creative and know how to be detailed. BUT where do I find the original bibles? Is there some sort of data base like for screenplays? Thank you, guys (and gals)!

Jeff Lyons

Why are you worrying about a bible? :) Are you close to making a sale or getting an agency involved? then that makes sense. Otherwise... ???

Erik Grossman

Bibles are a great tool... some writers even write it before they write the script! It can also be a lot of fun... this is where you get to dive into your world and hash out the nitty gritty. Some argue that to write the best pilot, you should already have much of your bible completed - you need to know your world inside and out. We have a great course on how to write a TV series bible, you can check it out here:

Jody Ellis

You don't need a bible unless you have someone requesting it. You shop the series with your pilot script.

Amanda Toney

I had a really great webinar about this if you just want to learn:

Lisa Bogner

Jeff/Jody: 1) your comments were in no way answers to my questions. 2) if I didn't need it why would I write it and post this in the first place; you think I need to kill time? 3) if you don't know the answer, just don't say anything. Unless you noticed, this isn't Facebook. Put your two cents in on a "it's snowing outside" or "my dog just farted" post. Erik/Amanda: thanks! I will check out the links!!

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Lisa: First I would decide how many episodes you want to have for your bible. Are you going network or cable? I've done two bibles for pilots I've written and if you're serious about pitching your pilot, I definitely recommend you writing your bible now. Here's how I did them: 1. Start off with show Logline. 2. Write a 2 to 3 paragraph show synopsis outlining where you're going. 3. Write 2 to 3 lines about your main characters. 4. Write a 3 to 5 paragraph synopsis of each of your episodes. Most cable shows now are 10 to 13 episodes. Network shows are around 22 episodes. But even for that I would do more than 13 episodes in your bible. And, I've done bibles with less but I'd say minimum of 8 episodes should give any interested party a good idea. Hope that helps but if you need further assistance you can PM me.

Lisa Bogner

Phillip: Thank you!!! That helped a lot. Since I already have the one page pitch document which includes the longline and the synopsis, can I use the same in the bible or do they have to be different ones? I'd like it to be a network show with about 25 eps per season. I barely have completed eps yet but I'm working on it. If I have any further questions, I'll let you know.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Lisa: Yes, you can use the same synopsis. But remember, the show synopsis should include the world your characters occupy and a description of what the show is going to be about. Check out the attached PDF for Sons of Anarchy pilot that included character descriptions and the world the characters live in. Also main player descriptions.

Lisa Bogner

Phillip: Thanks! I've already read the Hawaii Five-0 pilot (H50 is a little closer to the genre and "style" that I'm shooting for) which really helped me understand screenwriting itself and all the things that you can actually put into the screenplay (camera angles, quick character descriptions, etc.) which I had know idea are even "allowed" in a screenplay. I know that you should keep camera angles and shots to a minimum because some directors don't like that but sometimes I can't help myself :) Nonetheless, I'll read this one too. Merry Christmas!

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Lisa: The Hawaii Five-O pilot script sounds like a shooting script. For any spec script best to leave out any camera direction. Most pro readers don't care about that. I've even seen shooting scripts with very little of that.

Lisa Bogner

Phillip: it said it was the network draft... But I will just take it out then.

Ana "Quin" Quinata

@Lisa - Thank you for asking this question because I'm sure it's one a lot of us have. I know I was wondering the same thing trying to hammer out a treatment for a drama series I have a pilot for. @Phillip - I have to echo what Lisa said and say that your input is extremely helpful.

Phillip "The Genuine Article" Hardy

Anna: thank you for the kind words and have a Happy New Year.

Lisa Bogner

Ana: you're welcome :) I was umming and ahhring whether or not to post it because I'd already found a few articles on it online but they weren't 100% helpful and I didn't find a template of one that's the same genre as mine – now I got all I need and I'm glad you do too :) Happy New Year to both of you!

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