View Full Version : Treatment Writing

09 September 2005, 12:16 AM
since i'm not skilled at drawing, i can't make a storyboard
so i decided to go for the alternative option, movie treatment
the problem is that i've never tried writing treatment cause i don't know how to
and i also searched in the internet, i found no help.

can anyone give a link or any information about treatment if you have some?

thanks in advance....

09 September 2005, 09:52 AM
Well, as opposed to writing scripts there is no actual format or rules as to how a treatment should look. This is why it's hard to find any information about it on the internet. A place that has a few papers on the subject, however, is This is the homepage of sceenwriters Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot who're most known for the final version of Pirates of the Carribean (they're also pennig the sequels). There are a lot of nice articles on a every possible subject on writing for film. Check out the treatment and stepoutline for there early take on the american Godzilla movie.

Well as I stated ther is no actual "way" to tackle a treatment, one genarally just write a sum-up of the entire story in a somewhat "booky" way. All the acts with there plot points and everything that goes on in the film without doing it in complete script form.

Treatment usually wont hold any dialouge but rather jsut block out the events. More describing what happens as opposed to how exacly it happens EX: If you have a sceen where a person (Lets call him Michael is trying to tall someone (Josie) in to following him. Instead of writing in exact action description and exacly what the characters are saying you sum it upp as Michael persuades Josie to follow him. If you want to you can put some dialouge in there if you have a great idea of how you think it will end up.

The real reason for writing a synopsis is to block out the story more detailed then in your Synopsis so that you have a clear view of what happens and in wich order and still not have too much text to have to wade throug when re-writing. Aslo to have something to show other people that still shows the pace, tone and feel of your film.

Personally i allways start out doing a basic rundown of the concept in Synopsis form. 1-5 pages that goes through the entire story. Like a longer version of the blurb you might find on the back of a DVD cover.

When I've re-written that to where I'm satisfied (or can't get any further without just heading in deeper in the story) I move on to a Treatment form. I usually start out with a step-ouline. A stepoutline is just like chapter names on every dramatic block of your scene. EX:
1. The move.
2. Settling in a new home.
3. Michael meets Josie
4. Etc, etc

While doing this I keep the details in my head for a while then slowly start to fill them in under the appropriate chapter. Describing what goes on and finding the bridges between each dramatic block. (i recomend reading STORY by Robert McKee and The writers journey by Christoffer Vogler on more details for how to get the best out of your sceen placement)

By doing this I get an easy text to maipulate. If I want to move a scene for better pasiong I can easily move information by just cutting an pasting and then re-writing the bridges and moving around detail to better fit the story.

When all the chapters are described just erase the headlines and voila you have your treatment. I try to stay between 8 and 30 pages but sometimes you just love some details so much you had to put them in as not to forget them later and one might end up at up to 90 pages for a 120 page script.

During this process I might have to go back and change things in the Synopsis and simultaniously wright character bios and moving back and forth between all of these as information changes in one of them.

When the process is done you have a complete story ready to be transferred in to a script. You'll find yourself going back and changing things during that part too. I usually find myself forced to make script changes during production since one notices a lot of things during the filming that are hard to predict or that just did not work on camera as it did on script for varios reasons.

Well I've blabben on for long enough I guess. Hope my rantings helps you on your way to writing your treatment.

Best regards

Peter Broqvist

09 September 2005, 11:36 AM
i just gotta say thanks so much
your information is real helpful........

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