why a treatment and what it should do



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • why a treatment and what it should do

    Why work on a full script when the story may be crap already, get your work to agents and executives before all the sweat and tears, itâ€TMs not for everyone and you can always write a treatment after you have finished your script, found this on the net to show the point,

    Writing a treatment

    For someone that is new to the business of writing screenplays, the term "treatment" will most definitely be new to them as well. Basically, if a writer has an idea for a story but for one reason or another does not want to write an entire script, they'll need to know about treatments.
    Writing Treatments that Sell, the primary functions served by the treatment in today's entertainment business are selling and diagnosing a story. For the outsider's purposes, what distinguishes one treatment from another is simply its effectiveness in making the sale, and/or laying out the story. So how does one go about writing a treatment? Why do you need one and what do you put in it? What differentiates a treatment from a screenplay?
    Agents, producers and movie studios receive hundreds of screenplays every year. Because of this, rarely does the buyer have the time to read each one without having some idea of what they are about to look at; hence the treatment becomes a very important selling tool, second only to writing an entire screenplay or teleplay on 'spec', your treatment maybe the best tool for getting a foot in the door of moviemaking. If a screenplay focuses the story for a film, the treatment does the same thing for a screenplay. A treatment could be considered a written pitch; something that catches the buyers attention and makes then want to see more.
    There are several key elements that make a treatment good and worth reading. The first is keeping it relatively brief. Generally, a treatment will range anywhere from one to twenty-five or more pages, depending on the kind of treatment it is and its purpose. The three most common kinds of treatments are Original dramatic treatments, treatments of true stories and Adaptation treatments. Another key is to keep the treatment user-friendly and straightforward.
    One big difference between treatments and screenplays is that treatments are written in paragraph form where as screenplays have a very technical format. Keep the language simple yet forceful and declarative. The purpose of the treatment is to describe the events of the story so that it can be visualized and brought to life. This should be done using the least amount of words possible.

    Shorter the better

    Because the treatment is a relatively brief and loosely narrative pitch of a screenplay, it does not need to include every detail that will be in the screenplay. Therefore, the writer should highlight the major points of the story, the necessary details that are essential for the story to make sense. The treatment is just the beginning of the writing process. The writer should use it to urge the reader into asking for more, which is where the screenplay will come in.
    So what turns a good treatment into a great one? A treatment can be useful in getting your story straight, as well as getting the details of the screenplay you wish to write clearly spelled out. When you begin creating the details of the script, it's too easy to lose track of the backbone of the story. The treatment focuses on the story's backbone, allowing it to be seen clearly. The shorter the treatment is the better.
    There are several aspects of a treatment that must be in place in order for a treatment to be effective. These include a solid opening that takes hold of the reader from the very beginning. There must also be a climax to the film that strikes and satisfies them. In between, there must be a protagonist/ or main character that the reader can relate to in some way. This does not mean that the main character will always be a hero or someone that the audience likes, only that the protagonist is someone that stands out and draws the audience in. The story must also contain a central conflict around which all the action in the story revolves.

  • #2

    A writer with an unproven track record is not
    going to make a sale with a treatment. A
    producer or studio needs to know what the
    scribe can do DRAMATICALLY - which
    a treatment doesn't demonstrate.

    It's sort of like trying to sell a song by tap
    dancing it instead of singing it.

    I despise treatments and VERY RARELY see
    them - which tells me that few people are
    actually using them.

    A treatment is most useful as a tool to a
    writer - to work out the kinks of his story.

    Even still, what works perfectly in treatment
    form often has to be altered or modified
    when it is adapted into a dramatic

    Treatments certainly have a function for
    writers - but "writing treatments that sell"
    is more of an exception than a rule. And
    budding screenwriters should be practicing
    the craft of dramatic writing.

    Using treatments as a way to avoid the
    very thing a screenwriter wants to do seems
    a little anti-productive.

    As a writer trying to break into the biz,
    the best possible calling card to have is a


    • #3



      • #4
        Re: TREATMENTS

        creativexec, would you say the same thing if one were dealing with television? Would a treatment be a good thing to have in your back pocket if one were going that route? Many thanks in advance.


        • #5
          Re: TREATMENTS

          Ditto Creativexec... if your agented and a producer or studio is interested in a pitch they may then ask for a treatment which is simply an elongated version of the short synopsis and will usually run 6-22 pages.

          However, if you have a good idea that you want to bring to fruition and you are serious about moving the project... a treatment isn't a bad idea to have on hand if asked for it!:smokin

          Besides, every serious screenwriter should have experience at writing a good treatment!


          • #6
            Re: TREATMENTS

            I agree, they can come in handy. But for the longest time I couldn't find agreement on a format or indeed, ANYONE, who could show me how to write one. The prevailing wisdom was that there WAS no hard and fast format and that treatments took many forms. Now I think I can write a passable treatment that will get the job done but I had to scour many sources and even then it's not written in stone.


            • #7
              Re: TREATMENTS

              There is no real "format" to a treatment.

              The trick to writing a treatment is making
              it readable and comprehendible. It must
              also enable one to see the dramatic
              potential in the material.

              I cannot see how a treatment would
              benefit a new writer (from a marketing
              aspect) in any medium - including TV.
              As stated, a treatment is great in
              helping a writer focus his story
              before dramatizing it and a treatment
              may be part of the studio development

              When putting together a TV package,
              a writer may have a treatment - along
              with character breakdowns and a
              synopsis of possible episodes - but
              nothing works better than the pilot
              script itself.

              As a dramatic writer, you should always
              push your scripts. Because one has a
              talent for writing a treatment doesn't
              mean he has the ability to take that
              prose and structure it dramatically,
              write believable dialogue or create
              suspense in a dramatic format. So,
              what does a treatment show an agent
              or producer? If he's trying to sell a
              script and you give him a treatment -
              it doesn't help much.

              If you're working with an agent/manager
              /producer, he may want to see a treat-
              ment before you dive into the script but
              - again - this is part of the writing process
              and not a marketing tool.

              If a new writer were merely trying to sell
              his story (good luck) and allow another
              scribe to write the script, then a treatment
              would be plenty.

              A proven screenwriter/TV writer could
              certainly lead with a treatment, but a
              newbie will most likely have to prove he
              can write scripts.

              As always, there are exceptions to every
              rule - the above is simply the status quo.


              • #8
                Re: TREATMENTS

                I've had producers who wanted a 5 page treatment before proceeding to script and others who wanted a 15 page treatment. It's whatever the producer wants.

                I don't know what use a treatment would be in TV. Episodic TV is assignment & staff based, so it starts with sample scripts, then they interview you, then they probably give you one of the freelance scripts or hire you on staff.

                What kind of TV show are you talking about?

                - Bill