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Old 09-18-2015, 05:29 PM   #11
asteven50
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

Other posters have said it already but the most important thing now is to get in a room with the guy. Pitch him on the show, tell him you're working on the bible. Ask for his thoughts. But GET IN THE ROOM!
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:52 PM   #12
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by juunit View Post
Yes, you need a bible. Unless your plan is to never sell your show.

Also, I don't know where people are getting these page counts from, but just as an example, the bible for THE WIRE was 79 pages. FREAKS AND GEEKS was 55. So 20 being huge isn't accurate. Although with that being said, they vary wildly. TRUE DETECTIVE was only 10. LOST was 27, I think. As far as rules go, series bibles probably have the fewest adhered to of almost anything in the industry.

Basically, you want to introduce your series. The series, not just the pilot. The idea of the bible is to convince people that there are multiple seasons worth of episodes for your idea. Every single bible I've ever seen includes some sort of introduction, character descriptions and specific episode ideas. Many also include set details, because every TV show has sets which they reuse to keep costs down. So maybe a primary set and secondary set section, if applicable.

The more concrete you can make things, the better. So if you can say, "this is episode 2, this is episode 3, etc." all the better than just randomly throwing in some ideas for an episode here and there. Like in THE WIRE bible, they've got 3-4 pages for each episode, essentially entirely outlines for every one, even including specific dialogue that would be used. Same goes for including details about a character's specific arc throughout one or multiple seasons. If you can, then great.

Details, details, details.

Yes, but details can be tricky too. There's no question you should know your show inside and out but you do have to be careful how much you present. Someone could ask for a bible and you've just given them 55 pages of things they could say no to, as opposed to bringing them into the fold. There is a time and place for a big bible, but you have to bed the producer first. And too much detail is like taking a girl out and proposing on the first date.

There are times when I had every particle worked out and the feedback was whether or not the show can be malleable. So it's a great idea to present details and a point of view, but also with some latitude. JMHO.
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by ProfessorChomp View Post
There's a difference between a bible and a pitch doc, though the terms are often intermingled. The two longest bibles just mentioned were "The Wire" and "Freaks and Geeks", both of which were written after the show was sold, when the writer then needed to deliver on what was pitched. The Freaks and Geeks one was written as a catch-up tool for the writing staff that was hired to come on the show.

A show is sold based on a pitch and/or a pitch doc. When they buy it, that's when you sit down and map the whole series out episode by episode. But the arc should be figured out in the initial pitch doc - Juunit is right, you need details. There's no specific way this works, but no exec wants to get a 20+ page PDF. I'd keep it to under 10, unless you're writing something incredibly complex that will make no sense unless you map everything out.
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Old 09-18-2015, 06:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by nitrohawk91 View Post
Wish this were an option! I'm on the east coast.
Skype. Face-time. Phone. Or fly.


"Hey so-in-so. So glad you liked the pilot, thanks. I've got lots of ideas for the direction of the series and would love to discuss. I'm on the East Coast right now, but could we jump on the phone, or maybe Skype? Look forward to connecting with you."


Then you pick his brain, engage him, get his thoughts on the series too, and fold them in if you like them.
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Old 09-19-2015, 12:01 AM   #15
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

In my experience, when it comes to bringing a producer onboard/selling the Pilot, they only want to see a Pitch Document (ones I've been given as examples from shows like Constantine, etc. have all been 4-6 pages).
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:03 AM   #16
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

My advice would also be to pitch them verbally, and if you're on the opposite coast suggest setting up a time to do a quick call. It's much more organic, and there is real danger in putting down anything on paper as people automatically, in my experience, start to much more stringently critique anything you've written down, as if you carved it on stone tablets instead of typed it in a word processor. It's ridiculous, honestly.

That said, writing up a couple pages for yourself on where the show goes in terms of potential throughlines and future episodes is never a bad idea. My brother and I even have our own expansive internal wikis on our TV projects (have never shared this of course, except with a buyer in the case of a show we recently optioned). This kind of doc at the ready will help prime you for the call and keep you on course during it.

But yes, try to get into a dialogue with them, not present a definitive document, which even the loosest written down presentation will inherently become in their eyes. If you then follow up the call by putting on paper the things they really responded to during the call, you will be okay and on your way.
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:23 AM   #17
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by nitrohawk91 View Post
Yeah, I figured the broad strokes would be enough.

Getting some conflicting info here, but I think to start I'm gonna give him the basics in terms of character arcs, major plot points in the first two seasons.
Well, depends on what kind of show you have. Is it episodic and geared toward network? You don't really need to have extensive ideas for seasons down the line.

But if you have a serialized cable show, they'll want to know up to five seasons. I just had an exec tell me this when I recently pitched a series for cable.
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Old 09-19-2015, 11:29 AM   #18
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by juunit View Post
Yes, you need a bible. Unless your plan is to never sell your show.

Also, I don't know where people are getting these page counts from, but just as an example, the bible for THE WIRE was 79 pages. FREAKS AND GEEKS was 55. So 20 being huge isn't accurate. Although with that being said, they vary wildly. TRUE DETECTIVE was only 10. LOST was 27, I think. As far as rules go, series bibles probably have the fewest adhered to of almost anything in the industry.

Basically, you want to introduce your series. The series, not just the pilot. The idea of the bible is to convince people that there are multiple seasons worth of episodes for your idea. Every single bible I've ever seen includes some sort of introduction, character descriptions and specific episode ideas. Many also include set details, because every TV show has sets which they reuse to keep costs down. So maybe a primary set and secondary set section, if applicable.

The more concrete you can make things, the better. So if you can say, "this is episode 2, this is episode 3, etc." all the better than just randomly throwing in some ideas for an episode here and there. Like in THE WIRE bible, they've got 3-4 pages for each episode, essentially entirely outlines for every one, even including specific dialogue that would be used. Same goes for including details about a character's specific arc throughout one or multiple seasons. If you can, then great.

Details, details, details.
This isn't true in my experience. A great pilot will get you in the room, and from there — assuming you have something approximating a bible in your own head — you can absolutely sell a show based on a verbal pitch alone.

Bibles, in reality, are WGA-covered documents that have their own built in minimums, etc. Don't give that milk away for free. Pitching **** verbally is what they get for free, and it should be a skill in your toolbox you're actively working on if you don't have a refined verbal skill set yet. It's paramount, honestly.

I truly believe you're better off churning out multiple pilots for different shows and having a loose sense of where each show goes than putting all of your time, energy, and proverbial eggs into a bible of one show. Buyers want to be involved, and they will have their own ideas. Showrunners will attach and have their own ideas. Setting everything in stone from the outset (which a bible effectively does) is not a great move, in my opinion. For now your pilot should just allude to and SPEAK TO a potential show, that's all. And then you get on the phone or, better yet, in the room and engage the potential buyer or creative partner in a dialogue and it will come to life that way.

THEN, when the time is right and the right pieces are in place, you write a bible (and make sure it's included in your deal).
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by ihavebiglips View Post
This isn't true in my experience. A great pilot will get you in the room, and from there assuming you have something approximating a bible in your own head you can absolutely sell a show based on a verbal pitch alone.

Bibles, in reality, are WGA-covered documents that have their own built in minimums, etc. Don't give that milk away for free. Pitching **** verbally is what they get for free, and it should be a skill in your toolbox you're actively working on if you don't have a refined verbal skill set yet. It's paramount, honestly.

I truly believe you're better off churning out multiple pilots for different shows and having a loose sense of where each show goes than putting all of your time, energy, and proverbial eggs into a bible of one show. Buyers want to be involved, and they will have their own ideas. Showrunners will attach and have their own ideas. Setting everything in stone from the outset (which a bible effectively does) is not a great move, in my opinion. For now your pilot should just allude to and SPEAK TO a potential show, that's all. And then you get on the phone or, better yet, in the room and engage the potential buyer or creative partner in a dialogue and it will come to life that way.

THEN, when the time is right and the right pieces are in place, you write a bible (and make sure it's included in your deal).
I don't think we're that far apart. The difference between having a verbal pitch and a bible is pretty minimal. For both, you need to know where things are going and have the answers. My understanding of the OP was that all that stuff still needs figuring out. If you have future episodes already in mind, writing them down really shouldn't constitute arduous work. And knowing your characters should go without saying.

And I think that's where I'll disagree with you. That people should just bang out pilots without too much thought given to the actual series. Personally, I wouldn't recommend even starting a pilot unless you already have a clear idea of where it's going. And the people that do have concise and detailed visions for their shows are the ones who get series orders. In a situation like this, being able to immediately get back to the producer with all kinds of ideas is only going to reflect well on you and your ability to create a successful and long-living show.

But, to each their own. If you want to write ten pilots and no bibles, then by all means go ahead. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have found success that way.
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Old 09-22-2015, 08:25 AM   #20
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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I don't think we're that far apart. The difference between having a verbal pitch and a bible is pretty minimal. For both, you need to know where things are going and have the answers. My understanding of the OP was that all that stuff still needs figuring out. If you have future episodes already in mind, writing them down really shouldn't constitute arduous work. And knowing your characters should go without saying.

And I think that's where I'll disagree with you. That people should just bang out pilots without too much thought given to the actual series. Personally, I wouldn't recommend even starting a pilot unless you already have a clear idea of where it's going. And the people that do have concise and detailed visions for their shows are the ones who get series orders. In a situation like this, being able to immediately get back to the producer with all kinds of ideas is only going to reflect well on you and your ability to create a successful and long-living show.

But, to each their own. If you want to write ten pilots and no bibles, then by all means go ahead. I'm sure there are plenty of people who have found success that way.

Well yeah, I agree that one shouldn't even bother writing a pilot if it doesn't speak to a full-bodied show and if it's not clear from the pilot itself you can at least articulate where you see it potentially going from there.

Just making a distinction between having a clear and fully fleshed out vision and writing a bible to present to others. Again, in my experience putting things down on paper for these fools can be very dangerous.
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