Even the most experienced and accomplished screenwriters may find it tough to sit down and begin writing a full-length screenplay on a single day. A treatment is a narrative screenwriting tool that aids in the exploration of ideas, the development of characters, and the fleshing out of different story possibilities.
What Is a Treatment and How Does It Work?
Before drafting the whole script, a treatment is a document that outlines the story idea for your film. Treatments are frequently written in the present tense, in narrative-style writing, and focus on the most crucial aspects of your picture, such as the title, logline, story synopsis, and character profiles.
Treatments allow a writer to try out an idea before committing all of their creative efforts to a new script. Treatments also enable authors to condense their plot idea to submit it to studio executives or producers who may be interested in financing the picture.
What Is a Film Treatment and Why Do You Need One?
Treatments can assist you in determining the story of your film while also assisting in the fundraising process. Gathering the same information, speaking with the same people, and constructing the same plot are all part of the research for both treatment and film. You'll have a better idea of how your story has to be told on the screen by figuring out how to communicate your enthusiasm, knowledge, and vision on paper.
A script treatment is used earlier in the writing process, before any actual scriptwriting, to help you sort out the story elements you'll need. Writing a film treatment serves the following purposes:
1. Set the scene for the reader to imagine the world in which you want them to live.
2. Make a plan for the entire story's framework.
3. Assist you in identifying plot flaws or missing portions of the film.
4. Fill in the blanks with details about the characters and the roles they play.
5. Assist in navigating your film's journey.
What Is the Difference Between a Treatment and a Specific Script?
Both treatment and a spec script are used to help authors develop screenplay ideas and market a film or television show.
A treatment is written earlier in the production process and contains a detailed summary of the characters and events that will take place throughout the film. Before the first draft of a spec script is written, a treatment is written.
A spec script is a lengthier, more full version of that story prepared as a screenplay.
What Is the Appropriate Length of Time for a Treatment?
A treatment might be as little as one page or as long as forty or fifty pages, depending on the writer. If you're showing your treatments to people who want to fund your film, keep them as short as possible. The sweet spot is usually between two and five pages.
A Film Treatment's 4 Elements
Treatments provide extensive explanations of the setting, topic, character roles, and plot to demonstrate how the story will be experienced by the audience. A therapy must include the following four elements:
1. Title. Even if it's only a working title, give your treatment a name.
2. Logline. The premise is summarized in one simple line. This page will teach you how to write a logline.
3. An overview of the plot It is up to you as a writer to determine how long you want your tale synopsis to be—some writers use one-page summaries, while others utilize 70 pages to convey their film's story.
4. Characters who are important Give a rundown of the main characters, including their backstories and how their characters evolve over the novel.
In six simple steps, you can write a treatment.
1. Begin by composing your title. The substance of your story should be encapsulated in the title. Characters ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin"), locale ("Manchester by the Sea"), and concept ("Get Out") are all used in certain titles. Titles should be as unique as possible, and should not sound or look too similar to those of other films.
2. Make up a logline to go with your story. A logline is a one- or two-sentence summary of your film's main plot. Include the protagonist's name and the challenges they face in their world in your logline. The reader should be enticed to see the rest of your film after reading this condensed summary of the overarching concept.
3. Write a summary of the idea. Here's your time to elaborate on the shorter logline and provide the next step in figuring out how the movie will unfold. This is also where you should establish your story's theme and tone, as well as any essential background information.
4. Create a cast of characters for your story. What characters will appear in this tale? What are the motivations of these individuals? What are their chances of success? Provide a synopsis of their potential storylines. By providing the reader with a sense of who these characters are and what will happen to them, you aim to emotionally invest them in the story.
5. Investigate each act. It's time to start writing the story now that you've established the universe and its residents. Outline the beginning of the story: What's the first thing we'll do? Who are the people we encounter? Tell your film's story as if it were short fiction, and include the juicy details to keep the reader interested in the universe you've built.
6. Epilogue. The story is concluded in the final paragraph of your treatment. Explain how the story ends, how the premise is resolved, what happens to each character and what they learn (if anything). It is where you wrap up any loose ends and give the reader a feeling of what's going to come next.