How to Write a TV Series Bible

Hosted by Michael Poisson

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Satisfaction Rate:

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.

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: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.

If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email support@stage32.com.

Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.

YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO – STAGE 32 IS FREE TO JOIN If You Already Have a Stage 32 Profile:

  1. Log into your Stage 32 profile
  2. Click "Settings" in the top right-hand corner (gear icon)
  3. Click "Purchase History"
  4. Choose this webinar and click the link to view
If You Do Not Have a Stage 32 Profile:
  1. Go to www.stage32.com
  2. Create a profile using the SAME email address you used to sign up for this webinar. The email addresses must match in order to watch the webinar.
  3. Once you have your profile set up, you can view the webinar by clicking "Settings" in the top right hand corner (gear icon)
  4. Click "Purchase History"
  5. Choose this webinar and click the link to view

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.

Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.

Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.

Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email support@stage32.com to request accommodations.

Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.

If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at support@stage32.com.

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.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How To Write A Comedy Pilot Executives Will Want To Read

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will teach you how to write a kick-ass comedy pilot that will get executives’ attention. This webinar is not only about how to properly execute writing a comedy pilot, but also about how to make it your strongest sample so that it can get noticed! You will leave the webinar knowing: The 3 most important things Producers/Execs look for in a pilot as they relate to concept, structure and voice. How to properly highlight your unique comedic voice and stuff your script with laughs. How to create a crisp 1-2 sentence pitch that will get executives excited about your idea. How to navigate the competitions and fellowships. How to think from a Producer/Manager/Executives POV and understand what they're looking for so you can apply it to your script. Michael Poisson is a former Director of Development who's worked for Ryan Reynolds TV production company DarkFire TV, Krysten Ritter's company Silent Machine and CAA and is now a writer on Netflix's Raising Dion. This background gives has given Michael a unique perspective for what kind of script stands out among the hordes on everyone’s “Weekend Read” lists and he is here exclusively with Stage 32 to share that knowledge with you.

Beyond The Page: The Business Side of Breaking In & Getting Work as a Screenwriter

Learn directly from Michael Poisson, the former Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV. Michael is also a comedy writer who used his insider knowledge to land a manager, and get two projects in development at TV production companies. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will guide you through the business side of how to become a working writer in Hollywood. Writing an awesome script is only part of the process for becoming successful in this industry. Having worked on various projects from both the executive side, as well as the writer side of things, Michael has obtained great insight for how to avoid the difficult terrain when meeting and working with producers, studios, and networks. And while the process of finding a manager or agent is daunting, keeping a strong relationship with them so that they’re doing the most for you as their client can be equally difficult. Michael will share with you his insider knowledge to help: keep your writing on track, your meetings fruitful, and your industry contacts strong. If you’ve ever wondered what you should talk about in “general meetings”, how to take notes from friends/producers/execs that you don’t agree with, or how to be a more prolific writer, this webinar is for you!  

Mentor Series: Write A TV Bible That Sells

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.

30-Minute Comedy Television Pilot Writing Lab - One on One Mentoring with Literary Manager

Payment plans are available - contact edu@stage32.com for details 4 Spots Left! If you have to miss a class, don't worry. Each class is recorded and you can watch on-demand PRE-CLASS PREP - Read your syllabus and plan out your writing ideas. Begin to think about 1-2 ideas that might be a good idea for your comedy pilot. Start to prepare for your pilot pitch.   Class #1 – Introduction, Character, World This week we will cover the syllabus, your instructor's background and experience, your goals for this eight-week lab and launch into a discussion on creating strong characters for your pilot. We will discuss the types of comedy pilots and how they differ from network to network. This will include a discussion about Single-Camera and Multi-Camera comedies. Then we will delve into character – what makes for strong characters and weak ones. Also knowing the world your show takes place in. You will have a writing assignment this week.   Class #2 – Pilot Outline, Pitch Document This week we will break down pilot structure, plot and subplots. Pilot structure varies depending on the type of comedy pilot (single-camera or multi-camera) and the network (broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, etc.) We will identify what kind of network to target for your story idea and structure the pilot accordingly. We will also discuss the function of your pitch document. This will include incorporating your character descriptions as well as the pilot storyline, and arc of your show. You will have a writing assignment this week.   One-On-One Consultations - Pilot Outline Review  (No Online Class) This week will consist of one-on-one consultations regarding your pitch document. Each writer will send in their pitch document in advance and will have a 10-minute call to discuss what works and what doesn’t. The assignment for the week is to address any notes given on the pitch document before proceeding with next week’s class.   Class #3– Structure, Scenes, Dialogue. Time to Write your Pilot! We will discuss both the Single-Camera and Multi-Camera structure. You will decide which works best for the pilot that you are developing. We will address the qualities of effective (and ineffective) scenes, dialogue, and jokes. We will also go over all the necessary story beats that exist in a comedy pilot, including traditional page count, act breaks, tags, etc. After this class, you will have 3-4 weeks to complete the first draft of your pilot. Spencer will be available during this time with any questions you have during the process.    One-On-One Consultations - Pilot Notes  (No Online Class) The assignment this week will be to incorporate any notes given on the pilot before proceeding with next week’s class.   Class #4– After You Write Your Pilot Last online class. We will discuss what happens when you take meetings with managers, agents, and showrunners, and how to pitch a comedy pilot. We will also discuss other kinds of TV comedy writing (late-night talk shows, sketch, political comedy talk shows, etc.)

The Pitch Tank with Special Guest Anna Henry

This week the Writers' Room welcomes in Development Executive Anna Henry into the Pitch Tank! Anna began her 20-year career as a development executive at Nickelodeon, working on the development and production of animated television series, pilots and features. Anna has been a script consultant and screenwriting instructor, as well as building her own slate as an independent producer.  Her clients have worked on hit television series on all major networks, such as "THE DEUCE", "POWER", "IN CONTEMPT", "TOMMY", "HUNG", "CHICAGO FIRE", "FEAR THE WALKING DEAD", "THIS IS US", and "THE FLASH". Her clients have worked on shows at virtually every broadcast, cable and streaming television network, and have set up projects at Amazon, Starz, HBO, Sony, Fox, EOne, ITV America, OddLot Entertainment, Corus, and others. Anna enjoys having a close collaboration with writers in refining scripts, expanding their range of material, and finding the best home for each project, which is why she was an incredible guest!

Hulu Distribution 101

Ever wonder what shows development execs at different networks or platforms are hungry for? This webinar shows a top-line overview of Hulu’s evolution, business model, and what they’re buying from writers. Every network and streaming platform has its own unique approach to filling its development slate. Usually, that information is passed around within the industry, making it challenging for emerging writers to know and prepare themselves for what executives need. If you’ve ever wondered what award-winning streamer Hulu, and its sibling platforms Disney+, ESPN+, and NatGeo, are looking for from writers, this is the webinar for you. In this Stage 32 exclusive, you’ll see exactly how the entertainment industry is shifting from studios to streamers and how this impacts what they’re buying. You’ll learn the history of Hulu, its subscriber demographics, its business model, and what the decision-makers at the streamer are looking to buy. You’ll also study the ins and outs of what Hulu is currently producing and licensing, how to connect with the right team for your project, what to consider when you pitch them, and even what you need to know when it’s time to negotiate your deal. Taking you behind the scenes of the television development space is Kristin Harris, a seasoned entertainment executive with 15 years of experience. She has held key acquisition, development, and production roles at Starz Media, Overture Films, and Cinedigm Entertainment Group. Kristin currently serves as the VP of Distribution and Acquisitions at Good Deed Entertainment, where she oversees all aspects of the company's distribution arm and manages the release slate, which includes EXTRA ORDINARY, JOURNEY’S END, Spirit Award-nominated TO DUST, and the Academy Award-nominated LOVING VINCENT. With network mandates in constant flux with market demands and consumer behavior, it’s imperative to stay informed on industry needs to get your foot in the door. After diving into this webinar, you’ll understand how to approach buyers at Hulu, what they’re buying and producing, and how to negotiate your deal.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In