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Old 09-18-2015, 11:41 AM   #1
nitrohawk91
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Default Producer liked my script, need advice.

Hey guys,

A reputable production company requested my pilot script after I queried them.
The founder of the company emailed me today saying he liked the script and asked me questions about future episodes/ if I had a bible, etc.

The issue is, I don't have a bible. Should I be straight up to him, get back to him right away? Or should I write my ass off this weekend and get back to him with a bible next week?

The only reason I'm asking, is that I've been in this situation before. I've had prodcos/producers talk a big game about selling my material, only to have the whole thing fizzle. I understand there is like a 99% chance that the interaction isn't going to go anywhere.

I hope this doesn't sound lazy, but the bible would be a pretty big undertaking. Not really crazy about the idea of dedicating an insane amount of work to it unless it's necessary.

To be clear, he didn't ask me to write one, just asked if I have one. Is it the kiss of death if I say no? I don't want to look like an amateur.

Any relevant experiences or advice is welcome. Thanks!
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Old 09-18-2015, 11:47 AM   #2
UnequalProductions
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nitrohawk91 View Post
Hey guys,

A reputable production company requested my pilot script after I queried them.
The founder of the company emailed me today saying he liked the script and asked me questions about future episodes/ if I had a bible, etc.

The issue is, I don't have a bible. Should I be straight up to him, get back to him right away? Or should I write my ass off this weekend and get back to him with a bible next week?

The only reason I'm asking, is that I've been in this situation before. I've had prodcos/producers talk a big game about selling my material, only to have the whole thing fizzle. I understand there is like a 99% chance that the interaction isn't going to go anywhere.

I hope this doesn't sound lazy, but the bible would be a pretty big undertaking. Not really crazy about the idea of dedicating an insane amount of work to it unless it's necessary.

To be clear, he didn't ask me to write one, just asked if I have one. Is it the kiss of death if I say no? I don't want to look like an amateur.

Any relevant experiences or advice is welcome. Thanks!
Put together a couple pages. It doesn't need to be a huge 20 page bible, but it should give him the information he wants. Plus, the more you have in there, the more there will be for him to pick apart. Most likely, he wants you to have something but not so much that he can't put his thoughts in as well.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:02 PM   #3
Ronaldinho
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

First of all, congrats! You're in a great spot.

A bible, in this context, is generally a 5-7 page document that lays out where you see the show going. A little extra detail about the characters, a sense of the first season, a sense of where the show can go after that, and a few episode ideas to help show that it has legs.

Do you feel you can write an awesome version of that over the weekend? Note that I didn't ask "can you hack something out that might be okay?"

If the answer is yes, then do that, get a friend to look it over on before you send it, and send it to him next week. (Maybe not by Monday, but by mid-week at the latest).

If the answer is no, then tell him the truth.

That being said, because you've been in this position before, I've got to ask: why are you so unprepared? Why are you sending this out to producers without getting the requisite supporting material in order? Vow not to do this again.

Bibles are hard, but you describing it as "an insane amount of work" is sort of troubling and does come off as lazy. Not putting in a solid week's work to give your show the best chance of happening just seems, well, yeah, lazy.
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Old 09-18-2015, 12:15 PM   #4
madworld
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

Tell him you have ideas and would love to come in and discuss. Get in his face. Pitch him the rest.

This will also buy you some time to put stuff together.
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Old 09-18-2015, 01:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Tell him you have ideas and would love to come in and discuss. Get in his face. Pitch him the rest.

This will also buy you some time to put stuff together.
I was going to suggest this as well. Get a face to face with them and talk in broad strokes about your vision for the series. The bible should come after that.
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Old 09-18-2015, 02:35 PM   #6
juunit
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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.
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Old 09-18-2015, 03:29 PM   #7
ProfessorChomp
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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.

Last edited by ProfessorChomp : 09-18-2015 at 03:33 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 09-18-2015, 03:36 PM   #8
nitrohawk91
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by Ronaldinho View Post

That being said, because you've been in this position before, I've got to ask: why are you so unprepared? Why are you sending this out to producers without getting the requisite supporting material in order? Vow not to do this again.

Bibles are hard, but you describing it as "an insane amount of work" is sort of troubling and does come off as lazy. Not putting in a solid week's work to give your show the best chance of happening just seems, well, yeah, lazy.
I've been in talks with producers before, none of them have asked for a bible. Was under the assumption that part came later.

I've been working really hard to improve my craft, but online sources are the only form of information I have. Yes, I am on this forum and others almost every day, but you can only glean so much info from these posts.

Calling me lazy is kind of a dick move, as is your condescending language... "vow not to do this again"... Seriously?
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Old 09-18-2015, 03:38 PM   #9
nitrohawk91
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by madworld View Post
Tell him you have ideas and would love to come in and discuss. Get in his face. Pitch him the rest.

This will also buy you some time to put stuff together.
Wish this were an option! I'm on the east coast.
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Old 09-18-2015, 03:43 PM   #10
nitrohawk91
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Default Re: Producer liked my script, need advice.

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Originally Posted by docgonzo View Post
I was going to suggest this as well. Get a face to face with them and talk in broad strokes about your vision for the series. The bible should come after that.
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.
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