No the above image is not for the purposes of giving a sermon. I used it to illustrate what this piece is about. It’s about your script bible. Every Script has it’s own bible. Mine is created through the character sketch. Here’s what I mean.
Drake Darrow has been living inside my head for the last thirty years. In that time, I have taken him through the soap process, to the movie process and now decided he’s a television character. I have always listened to him. He didn’t like being a lawyer, so I waited for him to tell me what he wanted to be. He told me he wanted to be a Private Investigator on an adventure. Later his ego got the better of him and he wanted me to change that and expand him into a television character. From each process, Drake has been there to guide me and move him where he wanted to be. He wanted to have these special telekinetic power, who was I to argue, so I went with it. Besides, I’d never heard of a telekinetic Private Eye before. It sounded cool. Through Drake’s history, I have kept stuff he felt was essential and tossed stuff he didn’t like. All of this came from his character sketch. If you refer to the character sketch post, you will see a questionnaire that allows the writer to get to know their character. The longer you have spent with the character, the more in depth the answers become. The more in depth, and the writer gets a sense of how ell they know their character. With Drake, I have in depth answers about childhood, his past work life, his relationships with other characters, his marital history, his beliefs about religion and much more. All these questions have been written out in such a way, that they have created Drake’s back story. Drake’s back story gives me an idea, of what he has done and where his story will move in the future. He’s the center of the story and what happens to Drake, directly effects every other character in the arc.
My character sketches often lead me to answers about the scrip and to the story arc. The story arc is where the show is going from past history. Because of x-y-z, this will happen. Or maybe it won’t. It depends on whether you decide to throw a few curve balls in along the way. Believe me curve balls are always fun, watch 24 and you’ll see. Once you have your character sketch, and the arc, your essentially setting up your show bible. And by writing a show history, you have your bible. To do that I suggest you keep track of each episode.
Alex Krajek the X-Files played by Nicholas Lea.
Keeping track of each episode is essential. There is nothing more annoying, then writing a script and suddenly discovering that you’ve either repeated yourself or written an episode that makes absolutely no sense, because the show history dictates something different. I have seen that happen to a number of my favorite shows and a number of characters. It can be deeply disturbing. One example I have is the X-Files. When Alex Krajeck(Nicholas Lea) was introduced to the X-Files, he was probably the most despicable and vial human I’d ever seen portrayed on television. I loved him!!!! You had no idea whose side he was going to take or who he was going to back stab next. Krajeck was out for one thing, Alex Krajeck. He didn’t even care about the Syndicate or the Smoking Man. He screwed them over more times than I can count, just to save himself. As the series moved on, I began to see that the show had lost their way with his character and new writers were simply not sure what to do with him. It became very frustrating to me, because they hadn’t looked through the bible and his character’s history. The last season, I never understood why he was sending volts of electricity through Skinner. There was a hint, that he was under Skinner’s control and knew something. We never found out what. So when Skinner shoots Krajeck to save Muldar, no one knew what that history was about. It’s a case of dropping the ball. Don’t you drop the ball, write character sketches from there a story arc and then your bible is easy.