Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

Collapse

Announcement

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

  • Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

    Thoughts on treatments, please, in relation to the creative process?
    It's the eye of the Tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

  • #2
    Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

    I like treatments. It lets me get a handle on my "macro" stuff: the background of my world, the characters, the basics of the story...

    Once I have all that locked in, I feel much more comfortable moving on to an outline.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

      Originally posted by Jules View Post
      Thoughts on treatments, please, in relation to the creative process?
      1. 30 or as many versions of a log line as are necessary.
      2. Outline (treatment?) which for me are now going 40-45 pages.
      3. Script, which is a breeze after step 2.

      #1 often overlaps #2, and even #3. Throughout 1-2, research, notes, character studies, etc. That leaves #3 as simply breaking out the detailed outline into dialogue and action description, almost paint-by-numbers.

      Works for me.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

        Same boat as Todd. I love treatments.

        It's a mock up of the script that makes for easier tweaks before going into actual script production.

        Just a personal preference, though.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

          I must confess that the treatment, outline, and script are all in one on Final Draft. Every now and then I'll do a beat sheet. But that's all.
          "I ask every producer I meet if they need TV specs they say yeah. They all want a 40 inch display that's 1080p and 120Hz. So, I quit my job at the West Hollywood Best Buy."
          - Screenwriting Friend

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

            I think all those kinds of exercises are good. I tend to not want to do them, but if my execs make me do a one page summary or a treatment or an outline, after I'm done bitching about it, I'm always glad.

            They really help you get clear. I always think i'm clear but whenever I do one of these summary type of steps, I discover i wasn't.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

              Absolutely EVERY TIME!

              I've said it before with regards Treatments, Beat Sheets and Outlines. If you don't do either, and play the 'I just want my writing to unfold organically on the page' then you are not only not serious about your craft, but you'll come hugely unstuck the first time an exec asks for one (and they will. EVERY TIME!)

              In fact, I'm surprised the Pros that responded weren't more adamant about this. I've NEVER not been asked for one by a producer on a new project/assignment/pitch.

              I normally try to avoid these extreme reactions, but I absolutely do not understand how anyone that wants to break in thinks that they'll ever be able to avoid not doing one and if you know that it's part and parcel of the business, why not get comfortable with it from the outset.

              The only way you can avoid them, is to write everything on Spec. And even then, you must be repped so any agent/manager worth his salt are not going to let you toddle off on a new project without an outline or treatment to show them you're not wasting your time.

              Get used to writing treatment. Get used to beat sheets. They are UNAVOIDABLE!

              'Hey Mr. Architect, how'd you get on with that office block you built without using plans and blueprints.......really? Wow......how many dead?'

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                i didn't used to but now that i do and realize how beneficial it is to have a full treatment/beat sheet i wouldn't attempt to write another script without one. it makes writing the actual script a breeze in comparison to just winging it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                  I didn't until I had to write one for a producer, and even though that project fell apart, I realized how useful they can be. I do a boatload of rewrites as it is, so the treatment really helps me focus and maybe keep me to one less rewrite in the end.

                  I write chronologically, so sometimes when I get to a scene I'm not sure about I stop until I figure it out. Since I started doing treatments, I no longer have that problem so my momentum doesn't screech to a halt.
                  Chicks Who Script podcast

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                    Originally posted by Harbinger View Post
                    Absolutely EVERY TIME!

                    I've said it before with regards Treatments, Beat Sheets and Outlines. If you don't do either, and play the 'I just want my writing to unfold organically on the page' then you are not only not serious about your craft, but you'll come hugely unstuck the first time an exec asks for one (and they will. EVERY TIME!)

                    In fact, I'm surprised the Pros that responded weren't more adamant about this. I've NEVER not been asked for one by a producer on a new project/assignment/pitch.

                    I normally try to avoid these extreme reactions, but I absolutely do not understand how anyone that wants to break in thinks that they'll ever be able to avoid not doing one and if you know that it's part and parcel of the business, why not get comfortable with it from the outset.

                    The only way you can avoid them, is to write everything on Spec. And even then, you must be repped so any agent/manager worth his salt are not going to let you toddle off on a new project without an outline or treatment to show them you're not wasting your time.

                    Get used to writing treatment. Get used to beat sheets. They are UNAVOIDABLE!...
                    Don't forget synopses.

                    From a prodco I reached in January, from a single blind query:

                    We do not usually accept unsolicited scripts but I would be happy to look at a detailed synopsis of each of your screenplays. If I feel any of them suit our ambitions going forwards then I will request the full script from you... I usually like to have synopses up to about 5 pages for unsolicited screenplays, just to get the broad strokes of what the narrative covers.
                    Well, I had to spend the entire week writing them all, because I didn't have any! But now that they're done, I promote them in my query along with the script, and I've found it's opened up more doors.

                    Let's face it, it is odd that we'd expect them to read a 100-120 page screenplay from a blind query with a simple log line. That just feeds that faulty sense that our wonderful masterpiece can actually be interpreted by a ten second glance at a log line!!! Now, I push the synopses, and they seem pleased they're available.

                    The alternative? Maybe first 10 pages or something, but I hate that. It's just giving them an excuse to avoid the meat of your story.

                    I'd rather spill the beans with the detailed synopsis. And, no, don't HIDE any of the surprises, because having the big surprises in there makes the cold read easier for them when/if they ask for the screenplay. They sort of know what surprise is coming so they can concentrate on the big picture instead of being boggled 3/4 of the way through by a twist they didn't see coming.

                    I still do my log line/outline/screenplay method (described in an earlier post), it's just that before I query I throw together a synopsis. Under most cases, it should easily be generated from the (much longer) outline by stripping out the details.

                    In this case, this fellow requested a screenplay from one of the synopses, even though they do "not usually accept unsolicited scripts"!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                      On an assignment it's one of the steps, so it's a good idea to be able to work that way.

                      I often write a treatment on specs, because it helps finds all of the places my outline seems to work but doesn't. Things that work in abstract form but don't come together when you try to put them on paper. Also, a great place to find plot hole type problems before you end up with 110 pages that must be rewritten.

                      Treatments also give me a chance to flesh out some aspects of the story, and even though I always try to find the unusual route to my destination in outline form, sometimes in treatment I can come up with a better unusual take on a scene. I also might brainstorm up a great dialogue exchange and put it in the treatment as a reminder for later on when I'm writing the script.

                      For me, outlines and treatments are good for solving story problems before you go to script. Much easier to fix big problems on the "condensed version" than on the 110 page version (where you may be throwing away all of act 2 or something). Also, easier for me to try out some strange story experiment in the "condensed version" and see if it works or not.

                      Another use for treatments: Sometimes I will be writing a script and come up with a full blown idea for something else. Instead of dumping the script I'm working on, or just jotting down the new idea on a card, I will write a treatment with all of the details I have - doesn't take much time, so I can go back to the script... and I end up with all of the details of that story that were in my mind. Also - you can register it and try to set it up so that you get paid to write it. I have a bunch of these... probably never get around to writing a quarter of them.

                      As with everything - figure out what gets the best results for you and do that. Not what is *easiest* for you, but what gets the best results.

                      - Bill
                      Free Script Tips:
                      http://www.scriptsecrets.net

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                        No. I've never written one.

                        I use a general bullet point "beat sheet" to start the process, and then move on to an "outline" that has each scene delineated. I end up writing several versions of each. The outline looks like someone else's board with scene cards, but I use a Word doc & paper.

                        Since a screenplay is written in scene form, I find it's best to work in that form.

                        I don't have the story worked out until after I go thru the outline process so it would be hard for me to write a treatment (synopsis) of the story before that step.

                        "Trust your stuff." -- Dave Righetti, Pitching Coach

                        ( Formerly "stvnlra" )

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                          David Goyer on writing outlines/treatments: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd4Cp...eature=related
                          "Making movies is a collaborative process...bend over."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                            Outline > Treatment > Scene Breakdown > Drafting. Always.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Do you write a treatment before you write the screenplay?

                              I hate 'em.

                              I understand why producers want them, but to me a treatment is a horrible way to present a cinematic story - the scary stuff isn't scary, the funny stuff isn't funny.

                              I'm pretty good and holding the whole story in my head, so I prefer to go from an outline (which can get fairly detailed) straight to draft. Although I'm not going to show my working document to producers.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X