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How To Create An Animation Pitch Bible

ben marvazi 2020

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Pitching your project to an animation client is never easy. Putting together all of your ideas for an animation pitch without proper planning can lead to a messy presentation. The project’s intention and the purpose of the pitch can get lost if you don’t have a set format to stick to when pitching. Thankfully, an animation pitch bible can assist you in organizing the information in an accessible and coherent format. 

An animation pitch bible is a document that contains all the necessary and relevant information regarding your project. This compiles all of your pitch ideas into an easy-to-digest format for potential animation clients. The animation pitch bible can also help your clients recall your presentation at a later time at their convenience. 

The pitch bible is especially useful when pitching your animation projects since it can accurately describe the look and feel of the project. Animation comes with several styles that are distinct and unique from each other. Using an animation pitch bible allows you to describe exactly how the target audience will see the project. For example, the pitch bible lets you accurately represent a highly stylized animation project or portray how close the animation style can mimic real-life.

As an animator, creating a pitch bible is an important step towards setting yourself up for success when pitching to your potential animation clients. This article will discuss the different parts of an animation pitch bible and tips on how to create a pitch bible for your presentation to animation clients. 

Parts of an Animation Pitch Bible

1. The Animation Pitch Bible’s Logline

Man giving an opening teaser

GIF from The Jim Jeffries Show via GIPHY

The animation pitch bible’s logline gives an accurate description of your project as a whole and serves as a teaser for your potential clients. Usually, the logline consists of a few sentences to a paragraph that describes the animation project’s essence and objectives.  

Due to the short nature of the logline, it needs to be as specific and as accurate as possible. Aside from being specific, you should also aim to capture the client’s curiosity and imagination when writing the logline. The logline can also serve as a springboard for the possibilities that can happen during the project. These possibilities can come in the form of ideas for new episodes or content.

2. The Executive Overview

Star Wars The Phantom Menace opening crawl

GIF from Star Wars via GIPHY

The executive overview gives a more detailed retelling of the animation project’s plot as a whole. It is more specific than the logline but isn’t as detailed as the pitch’s synopsis. Instead of a few sentences, the executive overview can take up around one and a half pages to give more information to the animation client. 

Make sure to use this space to give a more in-depth explanation of the project’s important elements and what makes them compelling and essential to the plan as a whole. You can discuss important plot points and twists, or even the project’s unique theme in this section of the pitch bible.

3. Animation Character Breakdown

Animated character line up

GIF from Nickelodeon LATAM via GIPHY

The characters section of the animation pitch bible lists down all of the characters that will make an appearance in the animation project. Make sure to list down all of the main characters, as well as minor and supporting characters.

It is also important to give brief descriptions of each character’s personality and traits such as motivations and flaws. This helps flesh out your characters and gives your client an idea of how the characters will interact with each other and the setting. Take this chance to show how your characters will reflect your animation client’s values.

Aside from character descriptions, it’s also important to include sample sketches of your project’s characters. A great example for the animation pitch bible’s character section is the pitch bible for Adventure Time. In addition to the in-depth character descriptions, the pitch bible accompanies it with various sketches of the characters interacting with each other. This showcases their uniqueness and differentiates them from other pitches from animators.

4. The Animation Setting

Dark and stormy scene setting with castle in foreground

GIF from Reddit via GIPHY

This section will describe the world where the project’s plot will take place. The setting is, after all, as important as the characters and the plot. This is your chance to explain what makes the setting special to the animation project. You will be able to discuss how the setting can affect both the plot and characters. 

In some cases, the setting can come first in an animation pitch bible before showcasing your characters. It may be better to give an initial explanation for the setting to give the animation client a better idea of what the characters will be like. 

If we go back to the Adventure Time animation pitch bible, we see a detailed map of the show’s setting with some concept art to accompany it. A brief overview of the world sets the story up and helps the client imagine what type of stories can be told with the characters.

5. The Animation Pitch Bible’s Synopsis

Animated character reading a story

GIF from Reddit via GIPHY

The synopsis discusses the overarching plot in a few paragraphs. It talks about the setup, depth of the project, interaction of the characters, and more. 

If the project consists of multiple episodes, you need to write down a synopsis for each episode and show how the story progresses through each part. Synopses should have a beginning, middle, and end. These should include major plot points, turning points, and more to show how the plot moves towards the end goal for the animation project. 

6. Animator's Contact Info

animated character getting business contact card

GIF from Spongebob Squarepants via GIPHY

Chances are your animation clients are receiving several animation pitches and are looking to work with the animator or animation studio that presents the best pitch. If this is the case, you’ll be stacked up against other pitch bibles from different animators. If your pitch gets chosen by the animation client, it would be best to provide a way for them to contact you. Make sure to leave behind your and your team’s contact information in your pitch bible.

7. Optional Elements of the Animation Pitch Bible

Go the extra mile

GIF from Maastricht University via GIPHY

Optional elements are an excellent way for you to provide more depth and flavor to the animation pitch. These optional elements can come in the form of character model sheets, concept art for props and clothing, additional concept art for the setting, and the like. Aside from being able to further showcase the uniqueness of the project, it is a great chance to set the tone, genre, and personality of the animation project. 

For example, you can choose to include multiple character model sheets. These character sheets can depict your character in different poses. This can help shine a spotlight on the character’s personality, and give the animation client a clearer idea about how the character will behave.

Another example would be to include sketches of the setting and depict your characters interacting with the environment. This gives your animation client more ideas of what can happen in the project such as new episode suggestions, and the like.

What To Avoid In An Animation Pitch Bible

1. The Animation Project’s Message is Irrelevant

Man hearing an irrelevant message

GIF from Entanglement via GIPHY

You must remember that you’re pitching to your animation client to solve a problem that they’re facing. So when you’re creating your pitch, keep in mind that the project should address the animation client’s issues. An irrelevant pitch can easily be forgotten because the overall project will leave less of a mark on the client’s or audience’s mind.

However, you must remember that just because an issue is irrelevant at this point, it will stay that way forever. You might need to choose the right time to present your animation pitch to clients. This may be at a later time when the issues that the pitch aims to address are more appropriate.

2. Wrong Producers or Target Audience

Man talking to the wrong target audience

GIF from waywaw via GIPHY

When preparing for a pitch, it’s important to take a look at who you’ll be pitching the project to. Conducting some research on the animation client will immensely help you tailor your presentation to the animation client. This includes pinpointing what issues the client is trying to address, and being able to highlight the project’s message that best resonates with the animation client’s values.

This goes the same for the animation project’s target audience. Knowing your animation client’s target audience will give you an idea of how to best present the project. For example, you can decide which video style could work best for the video, or whether the project should be told from a certain perspective or angle. The project as a whole will fall flat if the message of the project does not resonate with the target audience. 

3. The Pitch Bible is too Complicated

Man doing complicated calculations

GIF from Travis via GIPHY

Generally, it’s better to keep your pitch simple. Remove all of the things that are unnecessary or are too complicated in your animation pitch bible. This will make it easy for you to get your pitch’s main point across and will give your animation client an easier time remembering your pitch.

The more complicated your animation pitch bible, the higher the chances your animation client will find loopholes that need to be addressed. These inconsistencies can pile up and make the whole project messy and difficult to follow. By keeping it simple, you will lessen the number of potential loopholes that you need to resolve.

4. Missing A Good Story

Dwayne Johnson yawning

GIF from Hobbs & Shaw Smack Talk via GIPHY

A great story is an excellent way to make an animation pitch a memorable one. It’s your way of being able to stand out from the rest of the pitches that your animation client has heard up until now. Make sure that your pitch bible’s logline, executive overview, and synopsis are engaging and can capture the client’s attention. 

Your animation client can easily lose their interest in your pitch if the story is too generic or cliche. It’s best to find a good balance between being able to address the animation client’s needs while still being entertaining. 

5. The Pitch Bible Has Insensitive Content

animation character offended

GIF from South Park via GIPHY

Some pitches will require you to address certain issues or deal with particular content that may be sensitive for the animation client or the target audience. It is with utmost importance that these issues are handled and addressed carefully. 

With proper research and preparation, you will be able to discuss these contents in your animation pitch in an appropriate manner. Sensitive issues must be addressed properly to avoid offending or alienating anyone who might watch the animation project. Improperly handling these issues can cause harm to both you and your animation client later on. 

6. Animation Budget Or Resource Issues

man calculating budget costs

GIF from Robert E Blackmon via GIPHY

Keep in mind that a budget is needed to push forward with the animation project. Going ahead with the project with a lacking budget could cause the entire project to grind to a halt. It’s up to you to ensure that the pitch will reach the animation client’s goals while staying within the allotted budget.

On the other hand, you will need to guarantee that the animation project you’re pitching to your client is feasible and can be accomplished by you and your team. Overpromising then underdelivering to your client can cause problems in your relationship with them, and could lead to fewer and fewer projects with them in the future.

In Conclusion

An animation pitch bible is an important document that organizes all of the elements of your presentation into a coherent and succinct format for your clients. Thanks to the format, it’s a great way for you to accurately describe the nature and themes of the animation project during your presentation. Being able to describe these elements in your animation pitch will not only help you accurately describe the project’s themes, but also provide your client with a better understanding of how the project will reflect their business’ mission and vision.

Parts of an animation pitch bible include the logline, executive overview, characters, setting, synopsis, your contact information, and optional elements if needed. These parts help you present the different elements of the project to the client. 

For example, the character section of your animation pitch bible gives your client an idea of how the characters will look and behave in the final output. This can be done by providing rough sketches of the character, listing down their traits, discussing their motivations, and more. It’s also a chance for you to distinguish your character and showcase what makes them unique from other characters that have been pitched to your animation client. 

Despite this, there are some things that you need to watch out for when creating an animation pitch bible. Attention to detail is key when creating a pitch bible as a mistake can quickly put off any animation clients you are planning to work with. Generally, your pitch bible should be able to address relevant issues for your animation client, target the right audience, contain a good story, properly addresses sensitive content, and more. 

For more information and tips regarding animation and its business side, sign up for our free masterclass or download a copy of our free marketing handbook.

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