Conceived, developed and road-tested by The Format People — format broker and FRAPA board member Michel Rodrigue and content specialist Justin Scroggie (respectively left and right in the above photo) — with input from veteran ‘flying producer’ Bruce Starin, the Bible Generator is essentially a template of what, in the words of Rodrigue, “a TV format bible should be but so often isn’t”. The skeleton structure, which includes comprehensive checklists, guiding notes and best-practice examples, comes in three industry-standard templates: game shows; reality and factual; and scripted formats.
Bibles — a cross between a DIY production manual and a style guide — are increasingly seen as a central plank in the legal protection of franchises and formats. Strong bibles not only facilitate the transfer of expertise from original producer to adapting producer, so safeguarding the legacy and branding of a format, but they also help to secure a continuous revenue stream for the creatives behind the original concept. Seen in this light, they are powerful protectors of intellectual property.
For this reason alone, Scroggie observes, FRAPA was the obvious home for a Bible Generator tool. “We were initially developing the concept for our own use,” he explains. “But it quickly became clear that it would be better for the entire formats community if FRAPA were to create and endorse an industry standard in this area. And there really needs to be one. It’s scandalous that we, as an industry, are allowing people to sell formatted shows with either no bible attached, or with bibles that are so inadequate as to be useless. There needs to be some sort of security for the people who are buying these products sight unseen.”
Rodrigue adds: “The transfer of expertise is one the most important aspects of the format business. This new tool will allow format producers to create bibles that can help shows travel further, faster and more efficiently — which has to be of value to our entire industry.”
This is the first in a regular series of posts from FRAPA, the Format Recognition and Protection Association. Read this post in full on their website, where you can also sign up for their newsletter: essential reading for anyone into formats!