Bible (screenwriting)

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

A bible (also known as a story bible, show bible, series bible, or pitch bible)[citation needed] is a reference document used by screenwriters for information on a television series' characters, settings, and other elements.


Show bibles are updated with information on the characters after the information has been established on screen.[1] 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.[1] The updated bible then serves as a resource for writers to keep everything within the series consistent.[1]

Other show 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;[1] these types of bibles discuss the backstories of the main characters and the history of the series' fictional universe.[1]

Television series often rely on writers' assistants and script coordinators to serve as "walking bibles" in remembering details about a series.[1]

Writers Guild of America[edit]

In the United States, writing the show 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.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Espenson, Jane (2007-07-01). "How to Give Maris Hives, Alphabetized". Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  2. ^ "How to Become a Member". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved 2013-10-26.

External links[edit]