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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Screenwriting Class  ›  Treatment Workshop Moderators: George Willson
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  Author    Treatment Workshop  (currently 7955 views)
Alan_Holman
Posted: January 2nd, 2004, 6:08pm Report to Moderator
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A treatment is a synopsis of your movie.  It explains the story, including the ending.  It should also reflect the theme.  A decision maker will enjoy this handy document.  

User "bert" submitted this insightful comment ...


Quoted Text
If you have a story that you actually intend to shop around, I think you should prepare a treatment.

What if somebody asks for one and you ain't got it?  You can't -- CAN NOT -- whip up a decent one of these in a couple of hours.  You can make a bad one, but not a good one.

Better to have it and not need it than...well, you know.


An one hundred and twenty page script generally is pitched to a studio along with the help of a six page treatment.  The treatment gives the reader a general feel for the pacing of the story; more importantly, it tells the entire story of the script, in a readable, understandable, and entertaining fashon.  If a good treatment is submitted to a studio, they may ask to read the script.  Let's use this thread to post treatments of our various projects, critique eachother's treatments/projects, and to help share the stories of our scripts through treatments, and to help develop eachother's treatment-writing/summarising skills. 

If your treatment is being written to sell a script to a studio, you must include every turning point and twist.  In fact, you must blatantly make apparent to the reader (preferably someone with power in a studio) why point A leads to point B, and why point B leads to C, and so on, to Z.  You gotta tell the entire story of the script, in readable prose.  Basically, a treatment should include the most important events from most scenes.

User Paula-Hanes submitted this insightful comment ...


Quoted Text
If you have a finished script the treatment is EASY.

Anyone who intends to sell a script should learn how to write a treatment. I try to keep mine under 20 pages.


Treatments are generally written AFTER you write the script, as a selling tool, not
as a pre-draft summary.  A lot of people use the word treatment to describe their pre-draft summaries, and although that goes against the definition, feel free to go against anything if it helps you write better scripts!

User "Dr.Mabuse" submitted this insightful comment ...


Quoted Text
If you're writing a treatment to plot out your story, you can put in choice lines of dialogue if it's important. [A treatment] wouldn't require dialogue unless it's some kind of revelation that's important to your story.

Your treatment should be a scene by scene description of your script. If good dialogue pops into your head as you're writing, you may as well include it.


User "Wesley" submitted this insightful comment ...


Quoted Text
They are really good for helping you and whether or not anyone ever sees it they will see the screenplay in which it came from.



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Alan_Holman  -  December 19th, 2005, 4:29am
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I've never written a Treatment in my life. And I have written 4 feature length
scripts! But then again, I'm just stupid. Hurr. Hurr. Hurr.


Actor trying to write...

"A good script is never rejected because of layout or lack of technical jargon. If people like it, then any experienced film or TV PA or secretary can lay it out in professional manner and add all the technical terms necessary"

-- Ronald Wolfe "Writing Comedy"

"We don't make movies for critics, since they don't pay to see them anyhow."

-- Charles Bronson.
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Alan_Holman
Posted: January 19th, 2004, 5:26pm Report to Moderator
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You've never written a treatment in your life?  Well, now's your chance to learn how!  Start by reading treatments in the TREATMENTS section of SimplyScripts!

{Don notes, "The Treatments section is located at: http://www.simplyscripts.com/treatments.html
   }

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JerryR
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I'm having trouble writing a treatment for one of my scripts. The problem is that I want to write a 4 page treatment/ I get to verbose. Also are 4 page treatments double spaced? And are dates put beneath the authors name on a treatment?

JerryR

http://www.angelfire.com/ca6/boys



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Alan_Holman
Posted: February 15th, 2004, 1:12am Report to Moderator
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1.  To make your treatment less verbose, first
you should learn to use smaller, tighter
sentences.  Consider this sentence from your
post:

  "I've written a script adapted from a short
  story I wrote that had gotten published."

That sentence is good, however you might want
to replace the sentence with a re-arranged version
such as:

  "I've adapted my published short story into
  a script."

Shorter is better, where sentences are concerned,
because it fits more ideas into a smaller space.
In other words:  Shorter sentences contain more
ideas, in less space.

So how can I make my sentences shorter?

So how do I shorten my sentences?

How'd ya shorten that sentence?

How are sentences shortened?

How I make sentence short, y'all?

Me wanty short sentence, okay?

Look for the important parts of your sentence, and
for the parts of your sentence which seem to make
the sentence move foreward, and arrange your
sentences accordingly.

In other words...

Arrange your sentences according to their foreward-
moving, and important, elements.

A foreward-moving sentence element is a part of
your sentence that somehow keeps you in suspense
until the end of the sentence, if not beyond the
end of the sentence.

In other words...

The suspenseful, foreward-moving elements of a
sentence, keep you in suspense until or beyond
its final word.

So how do you properly arrange your sentences?
It varies depending on the purpose for which
the sentence is written.  Usually, you'll find
the important parts of a sentence by looking it
over once or twice.  I hope this helps you
lessen the verbiage of your treatment; if not,
try a combination of sentence-tightening and
the following method of summarization:

Every scene in your script contains an important
element of plot.  Identify that important element
for each scene in a one sentence summary of each
scene; thusly, write one sentence per scene until
your script is summarised, and revise that summary
artistically until it's got only the flaws of a
diamond!

It's good to include dates somewhere on your
treatment document.  Remember that format is
in the eye of the beholder; meaning, there's
no set format for treatments.  Simply make it
appear professional, to the best of your
abilities, and people will think it was
professionally formatted!
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Impulse
Posted: July 31st, 2004, 6:06pm Report to Moderator
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I read somewhere that some Treatments are over 20 pages long for feature films, I'm definitely writing the 6-page treatments.
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angelparis
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Quoted from Alan_Holman, posted January 7th, 2004, 2:46am at here
Pre-draft summaries are
important, though, and a lot of people use the
word treatment to describe their pre-draft summaries,
and there's nothing wrong with that.


When I'm planning each episode for my website (An Alternative Angel), first I type up a 6-10 line summary of each episode for the season (22 episodes)...so all the key events in each episode that lead up to the season finale.  Once I've done that, then I take each episode and type up a scene-by-scene summary with some key dialogue (which can be anything up to about 10 pages long).  Once I'm happy with that, I type up the script, then do final editing.  Each episode ends up being somewhere between 45-60 pages (depending on whether or not there are fight scenes, or lots of short sentence dialogue).  I've not written a treatment before but for me, the scene-by-scene summary that I mentioned is about the closest thing to one.

Everyone has their own style of writing and everyone prepares to write in a different way.  You've just got to do what you feel comfortable with.

angelparis


Paris: You may have a human soul, Angel, but Angelus is still in you. (An Alternative Angel, ep 2.09, "The Amulet")

Come and visit...
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Old Time Wesley
Posted: August 18th, 2004, 4:33pm Report to Moderator
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So if you're not trying to sell your script to a studio than I guess treatments are a waste of time, yeah?


Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.
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Alan_Holman
Posted: August 18th, 2004, 4:53pm Report to Moderator
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A treatment is still a good exercise because it can re-enforce the details of your story's structure within your own mind, and perhaps give you new perspectives on certain events.
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Old Time Wesley
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I started writing a kinda treatment for my new script which has no name or even a thought of a name because they all sounded to stupid, eventhough it is a hero script about a normal guy who gets a superpower it will be a serious action adventure drama

Anyways if you write a treatment and add in dialogue and or partial scenes is that good or bad? I kinda found myself as I was writing it, writing some dialogue and some partial scenes. I normally wouldn't try something like this but as of late I noticed I cannot write a full length script very well

I already ate up 2 pages on the first act alone and am not even done that yet but I was just looking for some guidance in the way of a treatment

It may be elsewhere on just how to do it but I find people and not articles to be more helpful

Thanks in advance for any help


Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.
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Alan_Holman
Posted: January 2nd, 2005, 9:10pm Report to Moderator
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Wesley --

If you use "treatments" as a personal tool for the development of your own scripts, they can be as free-form as you wish.  Open your mind to infinite possibilities.

It's only when you use "treatments" for selling the script when you must look like you're conforming to a style.

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Old Time Wesley
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Can I post a treatment for the first act of a screenplay and get some help on scaling it down to fit what I want?


Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.
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Alan_Holman
Posted: October 24th, 2005, 5:02pm Report to Moderator
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I don't know if you'll find help.  It depends on so many things.  

So in case, not write really long lines, but extract the best parts ... it's called ...

VERBAL ECONOMY.

If you want more awesomeness in less space, erase redundancies -- or otherwise useless stuff -- from your text!

{IN OTHER WORDS: To shorten stories, erase useless text!}

Here's how!

EXAMPLE 1
The following paragraphs relay the same information.

1. Now I'll show you how to shorten a paragraph into a much shorter thing, such as a sentence or two. Shortening paragraphs in such a way serves to tighten your stories, and make the information seem like it was arranged with more thought.
2. A shorter, tighter paragraph, is a thoughtful arrangement of information.
3. Information is best arranged in short, tight paragraphs.
4. Short, tight paragraphs, are best.
5. The best paragraphs are short.
6. Shorter is better.

EXAMPLE 2
The following paragraphs relay the same information.

1. If you mean to change your meaning, feel free to delete more than what is redundant!
2. Deleting non-redundant words might change the meaning of the paragraph!
3. Deleting non-redundancies might change the meaning of the paragraph!
4. Non-redundancies provide the paragraph with meaning; don't delete them.
5. Don't delete the meaning of the paragraph.
6. The meaning is not expendable.
7. Redundancies are expendable. You'll notice that as you delete words, you'll be compelled to alter other words, in order to make the new composition have the same meaning.
{IN OTHER WORDS: As you delete words, you'll alter other words, in order to retain the same meaning.}
{IN OTHER WORDS: Delete some words, and alter others, but never lose your point.}
{IN OTHER WORDS: Skillfully applied deletions and alterations will retain important information.} {IN OTHER WORDS: Drastic edits can retain important information.}
{IN OTHER WORDS: Delete non-information.}

Now put all your shorter, tighter work, into one composition... "Non-information is redundant; delete it, because shorter is bet ... you get the picture!

Do you?

If not, remember semi-colons and double-dashes.

~~SEMI-COLONS~~

EXAMPLE
"Non-information is redundant; delete it, because shorter is better."
IS SHORTER THAN ...
Delete redundant, non-information, because shorter is better.
NO, IT'S NOT!  I used a bad example! -- or did I?  Mwah hah hahaha

~~DOUBLE-DASHES~~

If you write a very long sentence, or a lot of sentences, and if the information in them can all be combined by taking out sentence fragments from the sentence, or from the bunch of sentences, and putting those sentence fragments into a shorter sentence, through the use of double-dashes, the shorter one will relay the same amount of information, but it'll be less redundant, and it'll take up less space.

FOR EXAMPLE ...
"If sentence fragments from a very long sentence you wrote contain information which contributes to the ..."
GAH!  That was another bad example!  Or was it, mwah hah hahahah

I'll try again ...

If you write a paragraph, and if that paragraph contains a lot of sentences, you can combine fragments from sentences which have the same subject.  Like, for example, this sentence has the same subject as the previous one; namely, sentences.
IS LONGER THAN ...

The subject of this sentence -- sentences -- contributes to the entire sentence.

That example was corny.  But you get the picture ... or do you? mwah hahahahahaha hahah ahah ahaha
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Old Time Wesley
Posted: October 24th, 2005, 5:35pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for the thought but you see as you might think it's a lot of extra words (I don't care how long the treatment itself is.) The problem is that the first act will be too long and no amount of changing words in the treatment will change that fact. I have too many scenes and not enough time if you know what I mean.


Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.

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Don  -  December 18th, 2005, 1:45am
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DDP
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Quoted from Alan_Holman
You've never written a treatment in your life?  Well, now's your chance to learn how!  Start by reading treatments in the TREATMENTS section of SimplyScripts!

{Don notes, "The Treatments section is located at: http://www.simplyscripts.com/treatments.html
   }


I know this thread hasn't been updated in a while, but I'm wondering if there is still a "Treatment" section that I can check out. The link above doesn't work anymore. Thanks in advance.


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Don  -  January 28th, 2007, 5:10pm
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Steve-Dave
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On the simplyscripts home page, just look in the very top right hand corner.


"Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd" - George Carlin
"I have to sign before you shoot me?" - Navin Johnson
"It'll take time to restore chaos" - George W. Bush
"Harry, I love you!" - Ben Affleck
"What are you looking at, sugar t*ts?" - The man without a face
"Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death." - Exodus 31:15
"No one ever expects The Spanish Inquisition!" - The Spanish Inquisition
"Matt Damon" - Matt Damon
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Alright. Thank you so much.
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Mikel24fps
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Hallo, i am new here and i have read some of your Comments about treatments. Of course, there is no law about whether if you have to write a treatment before starting with the actual script or not. I have never written a screenplay before. I am just starting to get into it. I am an aspiring screenwriter. I have been working on a step outline for weeks. I would love to share with you two sources from my screenwriting teaching books that I consider to be very important from my point of few.


Quoted from Impulse
I read somewhere that some Treatments are over 20 pages long for feature films, I'm definitely writing the 6-page treatments.

In
"STORY Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principle of Screenwriting"  by Robert McKee (fourth edition, published by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers), it says here on p. 442 (German edition):

“Widespread distributed ten or twelve pages treatments in the present industry are no treatments but rough drawings … A 10 page drawing is not close enough material for a script….But a step outline that is being extended to a scope of  60 to 80 page treatment equals an increase of creative power .”(back-translated by myself)

The book "Teach yourself screenwriting" by Ray Frensham is citing the screenwriter Adrian Hodges, Tom And Viv, The Lost World, Lorna Doone under " The treatment" (p. 201):

“Treatments can be a poisoned chalice. They are enormously difficult to write, a nightmare, and they can only give you a sense of the movie. The problem is: you can’t write a script before you write a treatment”


Quoted from Old Time Wesley
Anyways if you write a treatment and add in dialogue and or partial scenes is that good or bad?


In
"STORY. Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principle of Screenwriting" by Robert McKee (fourth edition, published by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers), it remarks on p. 447 (German edition):

“The wise author postpones writing the dialogs as far as possible because a premature writing of dialogs stifles creativity.” (back-translated by myself)


I have heard a lot of reports on TV, i. e. Making Of documentary, about screenwriters and personal statements from screenwriters themselves, who proudly states finishing their screenplay in just 3 or 6 month or even in just a few weeks. But I never ever get to hear from them about the preworks, treatments followed by time consuming step outlines that took them maybe one, two or more years to finish. Those kind of reports discourages new aspiring screenwriters and is non-factual. I was discouraged too, till I got to read the following books I would like to cite from.

Some literatures as already cited from above recommends to start with a step outline before starting with the actual treatment. The Book "Teach yourself screenwriting" by Ray Frensham says under the subject "The Step Outline" (p. 198 ):

"you will need a set of ... index cards. Each card represent one scene of your script".

The same recommendation is given by the book "STORY. Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principle of Screenwriting" by Robert McKee (fourth edition, published by arrangement with HarperCollins Publishers), it says here on p. 442 (German edition):

"A successful author invests the first four month on putting notes on a set of index cards: Each stack of cards - three, four or more - represents one act. ... For months he focuses of just a few stacks of cards. ... To convert this step outline into a screenplay the author extends each scene of one or two lines to a detail by detail description." (back-translated by myself)

Yes of course, many authors skip that recommended pre-work and are still successful. The same source remarks:

There are authors “who skip the treatment-stadium but still produce good screenplays; But I am asking myself in this case, how much better they could have done if they had chosen the more tougher way” (p.448, back-translated by myself).

I for myself, especially as a beginner, consider the recommendations made in the above cited literature to be very reasonable. I'll take them to heart. They help me to avoid making mistakes at the very beginning and that saves a lot of time.

Thank you for being part of your community
Mikel24fps
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Quoted from angelparis


When I'm planning each episode for my website (An Alternative Angel), first I type up a 6-10 line summary of each episode for the season (22 episodes)...so all the key events in each episode that lead up to the season finale.  Once I've done that, then I take each episode and type up a scene-by-scene summary with some key dialogue (which can be anything up to about 10 pages long).  Once I'm happy with that, I type up the script, then do final editing.  Each episode ends up being somewhere between 45-60 pages (depending on whether or not there are fight scenes, or lots of short sentence dialogue).  I've not written a treatment before but for me, the scene-by-scene summary that I mentioned is about the closest thing to one.

Everyone has their own style of writing and everyone prepares to write in a different way.  You've just got to do what you feel comfortable with.

angelparis


This is similar to the way I work. I Write out each scene and everything that will happen and in quite some detail to be honest. Since this is merely a break down, scene for scene and will not been read by anyone but me, I let myself go wild with detail - and plot, most of the story pages I write can end up around 30 pages, often exceeding that.
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The usual dichotomy about "Quality versus quantity" here. . .

Treatments don't necessarily get us past the wall. Usually, the man or woman on the other side of the wall has done this many more times compared to your first attempt to breach through that wall. So, it is up to them for the first few meetings about your proposed feature film or TV series pilot that you have in hand.

My two cents would be:

A) Write the story, let it take whatever number of pages it takes, complete the story, do not be episodic.

B) Be watchful of your own body language when at meetings with a studio big wig or even with an agent with the nit-grit to place your story into the right hands.  Avoid laughing out loud in meetings, keep a check on your own adrenalin flow. Never show any desperation in your presentation.

C) Try never to push the envelope at them, they are folks who have made a reputation, a name and a lot of money -- doing what they do best.

D) Avoid lengthy versions in the first few meetings for sure.

E) Make a hard hitting log line and quarter page to a half a page synopsis, see if it matches with the script as it flows, it need not be in the same "Scene by scene" format, think a "Trailer" here, make it hard hitting with at least the seven major plot points involving your protagonist and the antagonist, and the goal they must accomplish at all costs. Using the keywords such as "Compelling" in your verbal, as opposed to written form of storytelling / treatment or synopsis, is always advantageous. Avoid flowery language in the written format, but do not flinch from using them in the verbal pitch with a studio exec or a financier.

F) Never tell them that you have "Mapped out the perfect location, budget and the perfect Cast, crew for this project". That's definitely a SUICIDE MISSION.

G) Check for all typos, spelling mistakes and syntax errors before you send to anyone.

H) try "Reading out your story aloud when you are driving a car, imagining you have a co-passenger and narrating your story to him / her in a quick fire 25 seconds or 35 maximum, see if your storytelling is clear or not?

I) Oh, and -- "Avoid Chat lingo in all of your business communication, that is, words such as 'Hey', 'Howdy', 'Wassup?', 'Lol', 'LMAO', ROFLMAO etc. These should never occur in any typed communication with any industry pro, however close you might be with him or her.

J)  FINALLY, use only ONE character name or none at all in the pitch synopsis and treatment. The more names you introduce, the more convoluted the listener would 'receive' it as.

Good luck.
J.R.

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After reading all posts here about the script treatment, my POV is that the script treatment is the combination of the whole idea of each scene in the full lenght script, is it?

Some say, you can write the treatment before you start writting the script. Wow... that just hits me good because I have about 10 stories in my head that I can deliver 1 in every month or so by sitting in front computer a few hours/day.

Ever since I wrote the Visit and started to write its full version, the CONNECTION, until now I finished, it took me about 1 whole month to did so. And I spent about 4hrs or less to write everyday.


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