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How to Write a Film Treatment in English- The Best Step by Step Guide

If you have an exciting story idea, you want to tell it as soon as possible. But just having a great story idea is not enough. You need a proper plan and execution idea too. That’s where writing a film treatment comes into play. Being able to write an impressive film treatment is as important as your screenplay itself. Thus, if you want to learn how to write a film treatment, follow the steps below.

What is a Film Treatment and Why You Need One?

A film treatment is an in-depth summary of your project or movie. Basically, it is a document that illustrates the main idea of a film. A good film treatment should be clear, concise, persuasive, and dramatic to be able to grab the attention of the producer, and all the potential members. Besides, it is also useful for the writers to give them a vivid direction and help them to get the essence of the story and the image of the characters.

It is written in a narrative style. So, you should use the present tense. And it includes the logline of your screenplay, the title of your film, the summary, and the description of your characters.

Writing a good film treatment is useful in getting you your movie’s story and also in raising some money, in case your producer likes it enough. So, it helps you to structure a behind-the-scenes reference to guide you or the screenplay writer to make a framework or roadmap of the screenplay. Furthermore, you need a film treatment:

  • To set up the world you want your viewers to see
  • Help you identify the parts of the story you may be missing
  • Get a clear image of your characters
  • Make the structure of the story

Film Treatment Vs Spec Script

A film treatment and spec script often make confusion for writers as they both serve the same purpose of getting a clear view of the screenplay. A treatment is written before you start writing your screenplay and it is a detailed summary of the characters and the events in your film. While a spec script is longer and is the complete version of the film story which is written in a screenplay format.

How Long Should a Treatment Be?

The length of the treatment depends on you as the writer. Because there are no set rules for the length of a film treatment. You can choose to write a film treatment as short as one page and as long as 20 pages or even more. However, if you want to give your film treatment to your producers or other potential members of the film or movie, it is wise to keep it as short as possible. The best length is between two to five pages.

Elements of a Treatment

Well, there are no set rules for what you should or you should not include in a film treatment. So, it is totally up to the writer that what they consider as important to include in their film treatment. Generally, a film treatment has:

  1. A title
  2. The logline: It is basically a brief description of what is your story and film about.
  3. The key characters: Next, include all the important characters of your film and mention their roles and importance.
  4. The plot summary: It is an overview of the plot. And it can be as long as one page or as even 70 pages.

Also Read:

How to Write a Perfect Screenplay – Step by Step Screenwriting Guide

The Best Step by Step Guide to Learn How to Write a Film Treatment

Writing a good film screenplay takes up a lot of time, effort, and preparation. Similarly, writing a good film treatment can also be time-consuming. But if you follow a step-by-step guide, you can write a good film treatment in no time.

Finally, Write a Treatment

Now that you know what is a film treatment, why you need a film treatment, its length, and what you should include inside a film treatment, you are ready to start writing your film treatment. So, follow the easy steps below and let us know in the comments if you have any doubts.

Step 1: Start with Your Title

The first thing you need to do is to give your film treatment a title. The title should be something that summarizes the story within a few words. It can be associated with the name of the main character “The Man in the Hospital” or the setting “The Maze by the Sea”. The title can also be metaphoric. For instance, Voes of the hunted city.

You should keep in mind that the title you choose for your film treatment should be a unique one. It should not match any already existing film title.

Step 2: Make Your Logline

A logline of treatment is a single sentence or sometimes two that is able to capture the essence of the movie. For instance, in your logline, you can say who the protagonist is and how they are against the world in your movie. It should be powerful enough to capture the attention of the reader and make them read your whole film treatment.

Step 3: Summarize the Story Idea

After composing your logline, you can summarize the concept of your film. In this section, you have a chance to expand your logline and give a brief overview of your story and its background. However, you should not tell the entire story yet. So, just keep it brief and minimal.

Step 4: Set Up Your Characters

Next, you should start building up your characters. Who they are, what roles they have in the story, where they come from, what will become of them, and much more. All in all, you give a description of your characters and try to build the story up.

Step 5: Build the Acts

Now that you have built the characters, composed the title and the logline, you are good to start building the acts and the scenes. So, all you need to do is tell your tale. This is the fun part. You should only tell enough of the story. So keep it short. But include the juicy moments or interesting parts of your story to make your reader be engaged with the tale.

Step 6: Write the Epilogue

In the final paragraph, you wrap up the story by stating the ending, the premise, what happens to your characters, and the lesson your film is trying to give (if any). So, this is where you want your reader to feel a bit emotional by telling them what happens to this world.

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