Who, what, when, why and where.
Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers! The key to writing a great screenplay is to spend most of your time planning the story before you begin to write it.
After that, writing a story synopsis which is not the same as a treatment; more about treatments, later of no more than one page double-spaced, would be a good next step.
Once you have that one page nailed down and are certain it will work as a movie, from there you might want to write a slightly longer synopsis—perhaps two or three pages double-spacedtops. Dialogue, if any, should be limited to a powerful line or two.
The synopsisby the way, is writing a screenplay treatment samples your own use only unless you send it for analysis by an industry pro and is not for public consumption. After you write a synopsis for your own use in planning your plot, you might go to index cards —writing just one sentence on each card to sum up what happens in each scene of your script.
How many cards do you need? It varies tremendously, of course, but 50 is about right, since there are about 50 scenes in a typical two-hour movie. While there are many ways to organize a script using computer software, I still prefer being able to move things around with my hands instead of on a computer desktop.
Of course, working with index cards is just one of many ways to plan your story. You should use what you feel is most useful for you.
Typically, treatments range from about 10 or 15 pages to 30 or more. They are hardly ever useful for screenwriters who are trying to plan a script before writing it.
There are several reasons for this. That will at least give you a clue about whether they might really mean a plot synopsis and not a treatment. If they say they want to see about two or three pages, they are not talking about a treatment, they actually mean a plot synopsis.
I assume the reason they ask for this is that they want to make sure the story is on the right track before you write the first or next draft of the script. There are usually a number of people involved in the development process for a movie.
A treatment is one way for them to make sure everyone is onboard with what you have in mind before you actually write or rewrite the screenplay. The purpose is not really to help you, it is mostly to help them.
What are some tips for writing a treatment, in case you ever have to write one? You are not just telling the story. All of that has to be conveyed along with the plot, of course in the treatment, as if the movie already exists.
But knowing what to leave out of your treatment is really important, too. Each one is a unique and compelling work of art that demonstrates your skills as a screenwriter in microcosm while simultaneously conveying the plot of the movie in the present tense, focusing on the major roles as you tell the tale.
In my view, a 10 or page treatment is long enough. And make no mistake: Writers need a sense of discovery when writing their scripts, so that they can remain fully engaged in the process. Hardly ever do film producers buy treatments from unknown screenwriters when no script has been written yet.The odds are high that your chosen script exec/producer/director will want you to write a treatment for the show at some point (alongside a great screenplay for the pilot episode).
The odds are high that your chosen script exec/producer/director will want you to write a treatment for the show at some point (alongside a great screenplay for the pilot episode). Whether the screenwriter is creating a new story or writing a treatment based on an existing script, the first step is to make sure that the screenplay has a good title.
The first contact a prospective producer has with a script is the title. Screenplay Treatments by Marilyn Horowitz Treatment writing is a skill that can help any screenwriter succeed, at any point in the creative process.
It can also help jump-start a professional writing career because a strong treatment communicates the screenwriter’s movie idea in a brief but compelling way. Writing a treatment is a fast way to test out an idea before the screenwriter commits to writing a script.
If it isn't terrific, move on. Part of of succeeding as a screenwriter is to write at least one great screenplay. She is the author of six books that help the writer learn her trademarked writing system, including editions for college, high school, and middle school.
The college version is a required text at New York University and the University of California, Long Beach.