Learn About an Animation Pitch Bible

Present your ideas in style to persuade producers to run with your show

The cover for the Adventure Time pitch bible

Pendelton Ward

A pitch bible shows the look and feel of an animated show, as well as to get the producers familiar with the characters and story arcs when they decide whether to green-light your show.

Since animated shows vary widely in style, a pitch bible is a tool to get everyone on the same ground when you're presenting your idea. With a live-action show, everyone can imagine what it's going to look like, but with animation, it could be anything from the pseudo-live-action feel of King of the Hill to the super-stylized world of Samurai Jack. The pitch bible shows people exactly what your show is going to look and feel like.

What to Include in Pitch Bible

A pitch bible can come in all varieties so there's no hard and fast rule about how you should set yours up — but some elements are expected, however. Include designs for all your characters as well as write-ups about their key features to give a little introduction to them. Is your character a rowdy professional wrestler? Or maybe a shy introverted toaster. Introducing your characters both visually and through text helps the people you're pitching to get a good sense of the show.

Along with main characters usually, you'll want to include some secondary or recurring background characters, to give them a sense of the extended world your show takes place in. Provide illustrations as well as some short write-ups about any key individuals.

A Summary of the Show

Another common piece of a pitch bible is an overall summary of your show. In the text writeup, answer questions about the overarching plot of the series. If it's Powerpuff Girls maybe you'd write that a scientist makes three super-powered young girls who then fight crime in their small town. It helps to point out any key conflicts that you're expecting to be an overarching theme throughout your series.

Episode starting points are another nice thing to include, and maybe even a few full summaries of an episode. If your characters find themselves at a skeleton wedding, do a little write up about what happens and the arc of that storyline. This detail gives the people reading the pitch a sense of how different episodes will feel and that you already developed some starting points to work on if they want to pursue production of the show.

All pitch bibles do things differently — take Adventure Time's pitch bible for example. It starts broad and then becomes more and more specific. It outlines the overall show before diving deeper into who Jake and Finn are.

Adventure Time already enjoyed a built-in audience, so the fan art section is a pretty neat touch that you may not include in your pitch bible.

Get Inventive With the Design

Get inventive with the design of your pitch bible. A nicely designed pitch bible will make your show more appealing. Another Pendleton Ward pitch bible is Bravest Warriors, which starts off as a comic book before transitioning into the pitch. That's a pretty neat way to get your reader invested in your characters and your show idea.

Supplementary material can also be helpful to get your show noticed and off the ground. Here's a little pitch animation that King of the Hill sent into the studio when its creators proposed it.

Pitch bibles are starting points to get a stranger up to speed with what your show is and how it looks and feels. You may not be in the same room as everyone reading it so you want it to be straightforward and get the point across while flexing the shows muscles and showing it off.