How to Write a TV Series Bible

Hosted by Michael Poisson

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Michael Poisson

Webinar hosted by: Michael Poisson

Development Executive & Writer on Netflix's Raising Dion

Michael is a veteran television development executive who also writes for NETFLIX's Rasing Dion and Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. Michael’s first industry job was at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first male receptionist ever (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. On the writing side, Michael co-wrote the comedic-musical stage show: ARMAGEDDON: A Night of Laughs and Pleasant Songs, which enjoyed a sold-out run in the LA Fringe Festival. He had a spec pilot, Alien Nation, in development at DarkFire TV, and currently has an animated show in development with Dark Trick Films. Michael is also a comic book geek and wrote the graphic novel “The Arcs” which was published by Fanboy Comics and premiered at the Comikaze Expo.  Michael grew up in Harrisville, Rhode Island during the 1990’s NBC sitcom boom and WB teen dramedy craze, which should explain his obsession with comedic angst. He attended Emerson College in Boston where he majored in Visual and Media Arts with a concentration in Television. Michael’s goal is to keep working in the entertainment industry without becoming jaded. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

In the current, competitive TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.”

Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful.

Michael Poisson's career is one that has been filled with incredible ambitious drive and creative passion. He is a veteran television executive and is currently a writer on the hit Netflix series Raising Dion, as well as Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. But Michael’s story begins with his first industry job at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first ever male receptionist (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk at CAA in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michael has also had numerous successes as a screenwriter.

In what has become an ultra-competitive environment, Michael will teach you the ins and outs of creating a compelling and willing TV bible. Starting with the proper formatting, how to introduce dynamic characters, and moving through how to include active and engaging episode examples, Michael will show you what grabs and keeps an executive's attention. Michael will also discuss artwork, articles and visual aids and whether your bible truly needs them or if they should be left out entirely. He will show you how to create and present carefully crafted, season long arcs that include strong and relatable themes. Always a challenge for writers, producers, and filmmakers putting together a series bible, Michael will teach you how to be clear and concise in explaining your direction for the series. He will spend quality time explaining and teaching the importance of a strong wrap up and closing beat and how to nail both. Michael will even teach you how to identify and decide which network or platform may be best for your show.

 

"Answered so many of my questions about bible writing. Took away my fears as well! I can't wait to get started."

- Mia L.

 

"Demystification complete."

Lorraine R.

 

"Michael has energy and knowledge to spare. Best investment I've made in years."

- Regina K.

 

"There is so much mixed information on bible writing out there. It's confusing and, honestly, maddening. I appreciated Michael slowly, concisely, and thoroughly explaining what works, what doesn't and how to bring a winning series bible to life. Bravo."

Angelo D.

 

What You'll Learn

  • What is a Series Bible?
    • 4 Things Your Series Bible Should Accomplish
  • Bible Basics
    • 5 Simple Steps, Including the Perfect Length
  • Logline
    • How to Sell Your Show in 1-2 Sentences
    • Examples of Loglines
    • 4 Elements of Your Logline to Include
    • Exercises to Help You Craft Your Logline
  • Theme
    • What Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When Writing About Theme
    • How to Know if You Have a Strong Enough or Relatable Enough Theme
  • World Of Your Show
    • How to Make a Unique & Interesting World
    • 4 Exercises to Work with When Writing Your World
  • Characters
    • 5 Elements to Consider When Writing Your Characters in Your Bible
    • Who Do You Include and Why?
    • How Much Detail Should You Go Into?
  • Presenting Your Story
    • Choosing the Best Option, How to Write it and Pros and Cons of Each
    • Option 1: Entire Season, Episode by Episode
    • Option 2: Season Arcs & Episode Examples
    • Option 3: Character Arcs & Episode Examples
  • Episode Examples
    • 3 Ways You Can Present Your Episodes and How to Write Them
  • Future Season Arcs
    • How Many Seasons Should You Include?
    • How to Write Future Season Arcs in Your Bible
  • Tone and References
    • How to Be Clear on the Tone of Your Show
    • What References Matter?
  • Personal Connection
    • Identifying What It is About the Material that Relates To You
  • Format of the Bible
    • What Are Extra Things You Can Include to Make Your Bible Stand Out?
  • Deciding Where Your Home Should Live
  • Q&A with Michael

About Your Instructor

Michael is a veteran television development executive who also writes for NETFLIX's Rasing Dion and Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. Michael’s first industry job was at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first male receptionist ever (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks.

On the writing side, Michael co-wrote the comedic-musical stage show: ARMAGEDDON: A Night of Laughs and Pleasant Songs, which enjoyed a sold-out run in the LA Fringe Festival. He had a spec pilot, Alien Nation, in development at DarkFire TV, and currently has an animated show in development with Dark Trick Films. Michael is also a comic book geek and wrote the graphic novel “The Arcs” which was published by Fanboy Comics and premiered at the Comikaze Expo. 

Michael grew up in Harrisville, Rhode Island during the 1990’s NBC sitcom boom and WB teen dramedy craze, which should explain his obsession with comedic angst. He attended Emerson College in Boston where he majored in Visual and Media Arts with a concentration in Television.

Michael’s goal is to keep working in the entertainment industry without becoming jaded.

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar? 
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer 

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A. 

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year! 

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • Some really great organizational/ structural ideas for a bible.
  • In addition to being a playwright, I also work in Marketing. This course helped me think of our clients' campaigns as longer story arcs. Thanks!
  • Well thought-out and pertinent and helpful information. Thanks!
  • Exactly what I needed to know in order to write my own TV Series Bible. Thank you so much for this thought-provoking, informative webinar!
  • Very informative.
  • I actually forgot to listen, so can't comment. Lost the link to it also.

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Class Space Limited: Maximum 20 Writers August 13, 20, 27 and Sept 10 from 1pm-3pm. Your TV Series Bible is an extremely important, and often overlooked tool for selling your pilot in the industry. It’s a document which explains in detail – who your characters are, what they will be up against, where future conflict will come, and what themes your show will be exploring. It gives studio and network executives confidence that you know what you’re doing, and that the show has the story potential to live on for multiple seasons. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of literature out there detailing how to construct a bible. This Stage 32 Intensive is aimed to give you the information and guidance that you need to write a strong bible that can be used when sending out and selling your pilot script. Each week, your instructor Michael Poisson (Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV) will be giving a lecture about how to write one section of your series bible, and then you’ll be assigned to write that section for a project of your own. The following week Mike will offer one-on-one skype sessions to discuss your work, give you any notes, and answer any questions that you may have. So, at the end of this Intensive, you will have a strong and well-executed bible that you’ll be able to use as a selling tool for your own TV series. Mike has worked at CAA, two production companies, and as a showrunner’s assistant on a TV series, and at each job he has seen the importance of bibles and how they have been used to get series sold and on the air. As a writer, Mike has also used them in his own writing career, and a well-written bible of helped him to secure his manager, and get multiple production companies interested in his work.

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