A show bible typically contains a short “pitch page”, chapters on each character, their backstory, sketches, the physical settings used for the story and the history of the fictional universe. They also contain a rough overview of the whole series, not just a single episode or even a single season. Once a series is in production, the bible is updated constantly and passed on to each new writer as they join the team in later seasons. A good show bible tells an investor that the creators have a vision, are creatively committed, and most importantly, they have a road map. A show bible provides CLARITY about what you are planning to do.
So what does this have to do with your young performer? It is a metaphor.
You need to have some clarity about what you are going to do. You need to know the small details, but more importantly, you have to have a long view into the future. Where is this career going? Where is your CHILD going? What is their dream? How does this story end?
For example, you should know the kind of work your child is interested in (comedy? dramatic actor? theater kid?) and their “type” (best friend, hero, angsty teenager, bully, etc). How do they fit into the world of Hollywood? You need to know your families values and what you will and won’t do for this business (see articles here like Extreme Roles = Extreme Decisions). Is this something your child may want to do as an adult, or is this a fun childhood activity on the way to another career? Is college important to them? If so, it should cause you to prioritize education along the way.
Then ask, who else is in this universe with you and your child? How do they fit? Do you need an agent? A manager? A publicist? When do they enter the story?
As you go along, your “show bible” (you might call this a business plan) would get updated with all the people you work with — directors, casting directors, other actors you respect. It will eventually take physical form — it might include a vision board, lists of contacts in file, a variety of headshots and demo reels.
The journey in this industry is going to be different for every child. There is a saying, “This is your story, don’t let someone else hold the pen.” Well, get that pen and start writing a show bible!
We hope the Bizparentz website can be the start to your show bible, a resource. Take the pages from this website that resonate with you and your family and add them to your “bible”. Use our research to mold the career and the life that works for your family.
More Info About Show Bibles and How They Serve Creative People
How to Create the Perfect Show Bible by Valerie Kalfrin at Screencraft
How to Write A Show Bible by StudioBinder (video — watch this for a great description of WestWorld)
Examples of Successful TV Series Show Bibles by Carole Kirschner (Stranger Things, Adventure Time, The Wire, Grey’s Anatomy)
An Actor’s Secret Weapon: Your Show Bible by Bonnie Gillespie
5 Celebrities Who Expose The Truth About Their Vision Boards by Lucinda Cross for Huffington Post
How to Use the Actor’s Business Plan to Grow Your Career by Brian Medavoy on Medium