Monday, 8 July 2019

What Goes in an Animation Bible?

Our animation students at Escape Studios don't just learn technical skills, they also learn to be creative artists, imagining new characters and stories, and pitching their ideas. 

A good animation pitch includes an animation bible, a vital part of the process of developing an animation film or TV series. is an excellent resource for aspiring writers and creators, not just for traditional scriptwriters but also for anyone interested in pitching their own ideas. includes a link to a full page of animation bibles, including classic TV shows like He-Man and Batman, showing how writers and animators go about putting together the all-important animation "bible", the crucial part of any animation pitch.

Animation "Bible"
A TV series bible serves a variety of functions. It can serve as a preparation for a pitch,  or as a detailed guide for directors and overseas production houses. A key part of any successful TV show is its ability to grab the attention of producers, executives and investors to bring it to life - and for this you need a bible.

Creating your pitch
For our students, a series bible is primarily a pitching document designed to help you sell your great idea for a TV series. A good pitch is like throwing out a hook, helping your potential investors and partners to understand the context of your idea and build excitement about its potential. Our first year students must create a animation bible as part of pitching their pitch for an animated TV series - part of the "Movement and Narrative" module in year 1.

Not this kind of bible
Why You Need a Series Bible
Producers and executives won't invest in your idea unless you can show its value over the long term. They want to know that your idea is a strong one, that is has a strong premise, that it has "legs" - meaning that your story is big enough to span a full series and, further potential series.

A good series bible, will include a brief synopsis for a number of episodes, as well as outlines of future episodes to come.

Examples of Bibles have collated a number of animation bibles - follow this link to see their full collection.

Artwork by Ronnie Kaye
Writing a TV Pitch Bible
Your bible is a an opportunity to sell your idea, and it needs to stand out. Don't make it long and boring - the shorter the better. Try not to go over 10 pages.

Hollywood screenplays have to follow rigid formatting rules,  but a TV series bible is different. You can use cool fonts, lots of artwork and cool imagery. Your bible should be visually memorable.

Your Bible Should Include:
  • Single page summary:  This is your first page, a one page summary of the premise and the idea. make it short and snappy.
  • Future episodes. This also should be short and snappy. Not too much detail; just highlight the fun ideas you have, the dramas, the comedic situations and why the episodes will be interesting to watch. 
  • Basic format. What is it? a sitcom, a drama? How does the series end? How does the next series begin? What is your target audience? Who might buy it? 
  • Character biographies. Who are your core cast? You can add a couple of minor characters but not too many, and keep it brief. What are the character types? Don't forget their strengths, weaknesses, character goals and emotional needs. How do they relate to each other? What do they want? 
Cartoon Forum - European pitch fest
Once you have your bible put together - you need to pitch it. We suggest Cartoon Forum - more of which at this post here.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link.  To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here.  For the next 12 week animation course, click here

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