By: Ritchie Steven
Have an idea for a film? A plot? Characters? Than why are you here!? Go create a new word document and get cracking… on the perfect treatment.
Treatments should include everything IMPORTANT in your film. That means it should include the BEGINNING (B), MIDDLE (M) and END (E) of your film in an easy to read and understand PROSE format (not the traditional script format we know and love). The B, M and E should all be broken up into their own paragraphs (think and write with the 3 act structure in mind) and they should be right to the point with getting the action of the story across. Know what you want to have in the film and write it here. No stone should be left unturned. Don’t write any dialog in the treatment (unless it is a key line or two… anymore would be too much). No worries kid, you’ll have plenty of room in your script to write dialog. As hard as this is, try to keep your treatment under 2 pages (for a 20 page script or a 200 page script). This means that you will have to be on point and directly to the point, while getting your story across in as little words as possible (in real life you’ll be lucky to have more than 2 minutes with a producer, so this is good practice).
Wait a minute, my character has complex background and history! Surely I should add that to my treatment, right? NO! Never. Nada. Only write what will be seen in your film. The fact that Johnny when to Beaver Hills High School with a girl named Betty is interesting but not needed here. If we can’t see it on the screen it should not be in your treatment.
What about extra info on characters themselves? It’s a good idea to add a single extra page after the treatment with character descriptions and breakdowns (which will make the project easier to cast later). But in the treatment itself, I just wanna know the motions of the script.
ADDITIONAL NOTES ON TREATMENTS
-When ever a new character is written into the treatment, put their name in CAPS.
-Place all locations in CAPS.
-Spoil your twist ending. Don’t leave with any cliffhangers or have it end like an advertisement.
About the author:
Ritchie Steven is a film director who works on short format films of all genres. You can visit his work at http://www.utopianproductions.net
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