Monday, October 26, 2009

The Freaky Stories Writers' Bible

Bear with me...

While I continue to search for "the original" 2 page pitch bible that actually sold Freaky Stories to YTV, I keep unearthing interesting stuff. Here's the Writers' Guide Bible. More on this below the art.

Interesting sidebar, this bible was borrowed, copied, studied and handed around by competing studios and shows as an example of what a bible should be like...

This bible was produced in 1996 (pilot made in '96, series production in '97) as a guide for the series' writers. This bible was written by our Executive Story Editor, Simon Munter, the art was by our Production Designer, Ted Bastien. Bible graphic design and layout by Heather Shaw. As you can see, if you know the show - what's in this bible differs from what got on the screen.

Bibles change and evolve. For example - in a particular episode, the first bible that you work to in designing funpacks, etc., is the script. Everyone follows the script. Once the episode is storyboarded (and approved) you throw the script away and work from the board. Likewise, once the project is filmed, animated or whatever - the editors' cut becomes the document that you work to. I remember sitting in edit sessions for a particular show - where the client kept looking from the screen to the original script and angrily noting the discrepancies. ...sigh...


  1. Great post. You've got thick skin my friend. I've been in that editing room with a client as well. Rough stuff. Carry on Steve.

  2. Hi Allen,
    I really don't have a thick skin. I've just become very good at hiding the bodies...

  3. Thank You So much Mr.Steve. Its a great help for people like me,i have been brainstorming about stories for a couple of months, This Post is a great Guide for us. It opens up the Mind greatly.. Thanks again... You are Inspiring Us!

  4. Awesome stuff. Added to my Google Reader subscriptions.

  5. Great post. THough I'm a little confused about the images posted. Was this the pitch that was brought to the studio to sell the show? Or was it the pitch taht said "Now that the pilot has been made, let's get a full season deal going"?

    Also, I like how some words and phrases were in a kind of bold print, but was there a specific strategy behind it? At times it looks like you could skim through and read the bold print and get a good idea of what is being explained, while other times it's a little more random.

    Overall, a great post. I love seeing real documents that were used in a real tv pitch.

  6. This bible was used to bridge the continuity between the pilot and the series. Maurice the Maggot and Ted's Diner didn't appear in the pilot. We used the prodction design art to illustrate them because they didn't exist when the bible was written. One of the things we learned from doing the pilot was that Larry the Bug needed someone (something) to play off. He couldn't support the series by himself.

    Bit of trivia - Maurice the Maggot was based on the boss at my previous job. No need to name names here. The guilty know who they are.

    As far as they typography - Heather Shaw who designed the bible, will address that shortly. Hang on...

  7. Nice Post. When you got your first deal did you send a 2 sheet before you sent the bible or did you just send the bible first?

  8. Hey John,
    The original pitch document (reprinted on the blog somewhere) was a 2 pager. One page was story descriptions, the second, photos of artwork. Very very basic - and I wouldn't recommend that someone do that. Also, I'd made a pilot film that really showcased my vision for the show.
    I'd say that it was the pilot film that sold the series.

  9. Thanks Steve. I started making visual storyboards (rough animated scenes) for a half hour show. Then I read that I should send in a 2 sheet first. So I stopped halfway through my visual storyboards, which was a basic animation for the show to work on the 2 sheet and the bible to send in to the network. Now I am in a quandary because I am not sure if I should just finish the bible and send it in, finish the visual storyboards or just send in the 2 sheet to see if they want to see more. I am stuck and want to get focused on the right direction but I am not sure what that direction is now. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks for your time and I hope this post will help others that are in the same position.

  10. Hi John,
    I'd suggest that you finish the bible and the boards. Then take THE VERY BEST of that material to use as your Two-Sheet. The time and effort that you spend on the entire bible will give you a very clear vision of what your show is about - which will translate into a stronger 2 sheet pitch.

  11. Sounds great Steve thanks for giving me a direction to go and for your timely response. Now I can get back to work instead of wondering which piece of the puzzle I should finish first.
    Thanks again for the help and I will continue to read your blog and take its helpful hints and ideas.

  12. Glad to help. Best of luck with your project.

  13. Also - keep in mind that there are more than ONE broadcaster you can pitch to. If you get turned down, you've just been knocking on the wrong door.

    Unless your idea stinks - but that's another matter.