Bible (screenwriting)

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Cartoonist Stephen Hillenburg holding the bible of the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants

A bible, also known as a show bible or pitch bible, is a reference document used by screenwriters for information on characters, settings, and other elements of a television or film project.[1]


Bibles are updated with information on the characters after the information has been established on screen.[2] For example, the Frasier show bible was "scrupulously maintained", and anything established on air — "the name of Frasier's mother, Niles' favorite professor, Martin's favorite bar...even a list of Maris' [dozens of] food allergies" — was reflected in the bible.[2] The updated bible then serves as a resource for writers to keep everything within the series consistent.[2]

Other bibles are used as sales documents to help a television network or studio understand a series, and are sometimes given to new writers when they join the writing staff for the same reason.[2] These types of bibles discuss the backstories of the main characters and the history of the series' fictional universe.[2]

Television series often rely on writers' assistants and script coordinators to serve as "walking bibles" in remembering details about a series.[2]

Writers Guild of America[edit]

In the United States, writing the bible of a produced series earns that writer the 24 units of required credit necessary to qualify for membership in the Writers Guild of America.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nagel, Jan (27 December 2014). "The Pitch Bible: Just The Essentials". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Espenson, Jane (2007-07-01). "How to Give Maris Hives, Alphabetized". Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  3. ^ "How to Become a Member". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved 2020-07-07.

External links[edit]