I'm not sure if "writer's bibles" are standard practice in the TV industry, but I've just read one that makes me think they should be.
I'm once again immersing myself in the shiny, happy world of kids' TV and had been given this bible (a 10-page word document) as background reading. I've been dazzled by it. It's simply a wonderful, charming document, beautifully written and bursting with ideas as well as information.
As you might expect, the bible gives an overview of the show, describing it's core themes, values, rules and characters. Yet rather than being format-laden and officious, the tone is fun, playful and inspiring. It's made me appreciate quite how rich, layered and alive the show itself is - impressive, given that I'm talking about a show with 10-minute episodes, aimed at pre-schoolers.
Each character comes to life in 2-3 short, spare paragraphs peppered with quotes, examples and gorgeous words. They're all rounded, balanced individuals complete with quirks and foibles. There are allusions to the grown-up concerns of the adult characters, even though these have minimal relevance.
The document is generous in offering storyline startpoints. It's crammed with possibilities, interesting tensions and hints of ideas. Boundaries are lovingly outlined, clear but never limiting.
I would love to see the process by which a team of writers take this bible and turn it into a series of stories. I'm half-minded to try and write one myself. The bible doesn't just describe the show, it embodies it, using nothing more than words on paper. I'm smitten.