Film Treatment Examples — Download E.T. & The Shining (2022)

Whenever you read a full-length screenplay, it is important to understand all of the steps that led to the final draft of that script. Stories are often changed and workshopped long before they are written into a screenplay. The pre-writing phase of a screenplay is essential to many writers and a fundamental device used is the film treatment. A treatment is utilized for various reasons and can be a key component to developing the seeds of an idea. So, what is a treatment in film? Let’s unpack the definition of a film treatment and why they are important for all writers to understand.

What is a treatment in film?

First, let’s define film treatment

If you take a look at some film treatment examples in the industry, you’ll notice they vary in length, content, and even format. While there isn’t necessarily a definitive template for treatment, understanding the foundational definition of a film treatment will help you write an effective one.

FiLM TREATMENT DEFINITION

What is a film treatment?

A film treatment is a summary of a film or television show. It should communicate all of the essential scenes, themes, and tone of the project to entice or pitch to buyers and producers into reading, developing, or even purchasing your idea. Film treatments are also referred to as story treatments, script treatments, and movie treatments.

What are the key elements of a treatment?

  • Title
  • Name and contact information
  • Logline
  • Key characters
  • Summary of the story
  • Conveys themes and tone

What is a treatment in film?

Why do film treatments matter?

Treatments are extremely effective at saving time for both you as the writer and those reading the treatment. Learning how to write a film treatment is an essential skill for any writer looking to break through in the industry. Not every writer has time to write a full-fledged screenplay or pilot. Writing a treatment is a great way to get your ideas and story down on paper and have something physical to present. It is also effective at gauging your interest in the story and whether or not it has the potential to become a full screenplay.

Getting potential producers or executives to read a script treatment is a lot more achievable than getting them to read a full feature length screenplay. For this reason, they’re also great at providing shorter reads to gain and gauge interest in a story. Understanding how to write a film treatment will make you a more effective and efficient writer.

Film treatment formatting

Reasons to write a film treatment

As a writer, there are various reasons why you might want to write a film treatment. The first reason would be to create a detailed summary of a film or television show that serves as a shareable plan for the screenwriter’s unwritten screenplay. This is great to gauge the interest in an idea before dedicating time and energy into writing a full length script. This is an early step and an essential part of StudioBinder’s TV Writing and Development Masterclass.

Ideas in television are plentiful, but are rigorously tested among the audience's interest. The episodic format of television entails numerous ideas being pitched and thrown around. Rather than writing full episodes, treatments allow writers to summarize and pitch episode ideas especially in the writers room.

Knowing how to write a treatment for television is an essential skill for any television writer. Check out our video in which we break down the steps to writing a television show treatment.

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How to Write a TV Show Script Treatment • Get the Entire Masterclass Series

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On the other hand, you may already have a full screenplay written out. However, getting others to read a full length screenplay can be an ambitious request. Writing a treatment that deconstructs and distills your screenplay into a more digestible summary will help you get others to read it.

Beyond the benefit of the reader, treatments are also worth writing for the sake of the writer. Treatments often serve as general blueprints of a story’s plot, structure, and framework. This is helpful to have when undertaking rewrites of a script or having other writers hop on board a project. For the writer, treatments also serve as a diagnostic tool that can help you identify problems in your story and work on them.

Once you’ve decided to get started and write a script treatment, first check out our article on how to write a film treatment in which we breakdown various film treatment examples that demonstrate key components of a great film treatment.

Film Treatment Examples

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 2(1982)

One of the best ways to learn how to write a treatment is to take a look at treatments from major motion pictures. Consider this film treatment example from Steven Spielberg’s vision for a sequel to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

In it, we learn the value that a movie treatment has in deciding NOT to make a film. Spielberg and screenwriter Melissa Mathison wrote a treatment for the potential sequel only to decide that it wouldn't work. We've imported the treatment into StudioBinder's screenwriting software so you can download and read it yourself. Just follow the link.

Film Treatment Examples — Download E.T. & The Shining (1)

Writing a movie treatment enables others to give you feedback on your idea while also allowing you to recognize holes in your story’s concept. This can be important in deciding whether or not a story is worth taking into Production.

Film Treatment Examples

The ShiningFilm Treatment

Many auteur directors have to develop the vision of a story early on. This can be especially important when adapting a story for cinema as is the case inThe Shining.For Stanley Kubrick, this movie treatment example demonstrates his early visions of the film and how most of it saw it through to the final cut. Let’s take a look at the auteur film director’s treatment example of The Shining.

Film Treatment Examples — Download E.T. & The Shining (2)

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By choosing to take artistic direction by straying from the book the film was adapted from, Kubrick began to explore his own version of The Shining early on by writing this film treatment.

Film Treatment Examples

Mr. and Mrs. SmithFilm Treatment

Directors and screenwriters like Kubrick and Spielberg often have the luxury of breaking structure and writing their movie treatments how they see fit. This is not always the case for screenwriters creating a film treatment. So let’s take a look at the treatment forMr. and Mrs. Smiththat utilizes a more organized structure that is more common for aspiring screenwriters.

Film Treatment Examples — Download E.T. & The Shining (3)

By breaking down the screenplay treatment into overview, character set-up, and story, the screenplay treatment is clear and direct. While it may not fit a concise one-page film treatment, it does effectively and efficiently cover all the necessary material.

Movie Treatment Examples and Tips

What not to do with film treatments

It is important to understand the basics of how to write a film treatment, but it's just as important to understand what not to do. Firstly, don’t think that you have to write a film script treatment for every project. If you find yourself in a situation where someone asks you for a movie treatment, you plan to send out a treatment, or you as the writer need a treatment for the sake of perspective, then by all means write a film treatment.

That being said, every writer has a different process. If you are excited about writing your ideas into a full screenplay or spec script right away, then you may not want to use that energy on the screenplay treatment. Many writers operate this way and find success in doing so.

Another "don’t" in the script treatment writing process, is don't forget to workshop your movie treatment. One of the main functions of a film treatment for a writer is to help identify major problems in their story. Because a movie treatment should be concise yet cover the entirety of a story, it is great at revealing major flaws in a narrative.

Being aware that these problems may come up will help you fix these issues before sending out your film script treatment to be read by others. Dr. Ken Atchity talks about script treatments as a diagnostic tool in this video by Film Courage.

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Writing Script Treatments That Sell by Dr. Ken Atchity

If you do fall under the category of writers who choose to skip writing a film treatment, be open to the idea of writing one if you hit any roadblocks when writing your full script. Like Dr. Ken Atchity says, movie treatments can be more than just a marketing and pitching device. They can also serve as a diagnostic tool for your story.

Understanding how to write a film treatment and their place in the industry will inevitably elevate your skills as a successful writer.

UP NEXT

How to write a movie script

Once you gain interest in your treatment or even sell it you’ll need to write a script. Be sure to check out our article on how to write a movie script like a professional in which we dig into the format, content, and structure of a full length screenplay.

Up Next: How to write a script →

FAQs

What is film treatment example? ›

For example, if someone asks you for treatment, they could mean a two-page overview or a thirty-page document, basically the script without the dialogue. However, film treatments are generally defined as a summary of a tv show or film.

How do you write a good film treatment? ›

How to Write a Treatment in 6 Steps
  1. Start with your title. A title should be something that encapsulates the essence of your story. ...
  2. Compose your logline. ...
  3. Summarize the concept. ...
  4. Set up the main characters. ...
  5. Explore the acts. ...
  6. Epilogue.
3 Sept 2021

What is a treatment for a short film? ›

A treatment is a short document that presents an idea for a film in a clear, concise, dramatic and persuasive way. It's designed to grab the attention and excite the interest of a producer, commissioner, director or other collaborator, and to 'sell' the idea and it's creative and commercial potential.

How do you write a treatment for a video? ›

5 Essentials for Writing a Video Treatment
  1. Give it a good title. The title should be something that captures the essence of your video. ...
  2. Write a clear logline. ...
  3. Introduce the main characters. ...
  4. Write the story synopsis. ...
  5. Make it visual.
13 May 2022

How long is a film treatment? ›

How Long Should a Film Treatment Be? A film treatment should be fall between five and ten pages, twenty max. There are extreme examples where people argue they can be 60 to 70 pages (James Cameron is notorious for long-winded treatments), but as a rule of thumb, less is more.

How do you write a film script? ›

Here's a step-by-step guide to creating your movie script:
  1. Write your logline. A logline is a one-sentence summary or description of a movie. ...
  2. Create an outline. ...
  3. Build a treatment. ...
  4. Write your screenplay. ...
  5. Format your screenplay. ...
  6. Edit your screenplay.
28 Sept 2022

How do you write a film treatment template? ›

What should you include in a film treatment?
  1. The title of your movie / show. This one's pretty important.
  2. Your name and contact details. So if someone does want to make you a superstar, they know where to find you.
  3. Logline. ...
  4. Explanation of act one. ...
  5. Explanation of act two. ...
  6. Explanation of act three. ...
  7. Final wrap-up.
7 Oct 2022

How do you write a one page treatment? ›

Write a few notes to yourself about what your story is about. Go ahead and get philosophical. "It's about lies." "It's about how love can cure you." Your message can be cynical or positive, but be aware of what it is. You're going to have to cut out all kinds of important information to fit it into such a small pitch.

How do you write a treatment for a director? ›

The Basics of Writing a Director's Treatment

You're basically breaking down all the elements of the story/commercial, and even including a brief paragraph where you talk about why it will connect with audiences. This breakdown should make the idea simple and easy to visualize in your imagination.

What is a creative treatment? ›

Creative therapy uses art forms — such as dance, drawing, or music — to help treat certain conditions. Trained therapists can administer creative therapy to help people experiencing a range of mental, emotional, and physical issues. Creative therapy does not require a person to have any sort of artistic ability.

What is a story treatment? ›

A film treatment (or story treatment) is a detailed summary of your film, TV show, or project. The screenplay treatment communicates all important scenes, sequences, and story points in a prose style that evokes the tone of your movie.

How long should a series treatment be? ›

For example, treatments for TV dramas are typically 10-15 pages long while those for sitcoms are usually 2-5 pages long. This depends on the complexity of the story and how much detail you want to provide about your idea before pitching it.

What is an example of a Logline? ›

Examples of Effective Loglines

“The Godfather”: “The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.” “Reservoir Dogs”: “After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.”

What is the difference between synopsis and treatment? ›

A script synopsis is a short overview of your plot that could be used in part as a pitch to producers, managers, or agents. A script treatment is a longer overview of your script that's often written before the script is completed.

How do you write a treatment for a reality TV show? ›

Be engaging, use detail, wow your audience--but be concise. This is a treatment, not a script, so brevity is important. Consider each paragraph an "act" in the first episode: character introductions, rising conflict, the twist or surprise, the climax, the tease for episode two.

What is title treatment? ›

What is a title treatment? It's just a fancy industry term for a movie logo. When it comes to a good title treatment, it needs to have just enough personality without being busy and cluttered, and the best ones have some sort of clever allusion to the storyline of the film.

How many pages should a treatment plan be? ›

But generally, rule of thumb, a treatment is no less than 4 pages and now more than 10. The key here is to get all the information down, as interestingly as possible, as economically as possible, with as much clarity as possible and not to over write. You make each word, each sentence, each image, each page, count.

What is an outline for a film? ›

An outline is a scene-by-scene breakdown of the entire story of your screenplay. An outline can be as detailed as the writer needs it to be: it can be a simple breakdown of story elements, or it can be more comprehensive, including action and even lines of dialogue.

How many pages is a 5 minute script? ›

An audio script (double-spaced, Courier 12-point) is about 250 words. That means that a voice-over script for five minutes would be about 3 pages.

What are the 5 basic elements of a script? ›

The 5 elements that make up a great story

For this introduction, we're going to call them character, want and need, plot, structure, and conflict and resolution.

How long is a script for a 90 minute movie? ›

Scripts written in proper screenplay format average a page per minute. A feature is roughly an hour-and-a-half – two hours long. Thus the 90 – 120 page rule. Screenwriting books and expensive screenwriting gurus will all tell you that scripts should fall within the 90-120 page rule.

How do you write a short film? ›

6 Tips for Writing Short Film Scripts That Connect
  1. Find a small, specific, significant idea you can tell well in a short script. ...
  2. Craft a complex character with a small, significant want. ...
  3. Create a pattern of external and internal change. ...
  4. Start your story on page one. ...
  5. Hit your scenes late and get out early. ...
  6. Show don't tell.
26 Aug 2020

Should there be dialogue in a treatment? ›

Script treatments are typically written in prose, rather than in traditional screenwriting format. They provide an overview of what happens in your movie but do not include dialogue or scenes from the film itself.

What's the difference between a screenplay and a treatment? ›

A treatment is a detailed overview of a screenplay or script idea written in prose form that is used as a marketing tool for both spec and for-hire screenwriters to sell their project. It is sometimes referred to as a written pitch.

How long does it take to write a screenplay treatment? ›

Long gone are the days of taking six months to a year or more to write a script. The standard contract for a feature assignment will generally give the writer just ten to twelve weeks to finish the first draft, which means you could have less than three months to write a script from beginning to end.

How do you pitch a script? ›

How to Pitch a Movie
  1. Pitch the right people. Make sure the investors or producers are the right fit for your screenplay. ...
  2. Find pitching opportunities. ...
  3. Know the elements of your film, inside and out. ...
  4. Prepare to answer questions. ...
  5. Be passionate and confident. ...
  6. Follow up. ...
  7. Shop your script around.
7 Jun 2021

How do you write a treatment for an advertisement? ›

How to write a TV commercial treatment
  1. Listen up. Ask a lot of questions so that the brief is crystal clear. ...
  2. Is the ad Story or Spectacle? If it's story then it should have a beginning, middle and end, with at least one character. ...
  3. Get your story essentials in place. ...
  4. Brainstorm. ...
  5. Getting it down. ...
  6. Make a Mood Board.
30 Jul 2018

What should I look for in a film director? ›

Look for a director who is bold with their creative vision and stylistic approach, and be confident in their decisions. Look for jargon-free, confident language and visuals that spring to life.

Can you sell a movie treatment? ›

Can You Sell a Screenplay Idea? No, generally producers don't listen and buy movie ideas because of legal reasons and you cannot copywrite an idea. But if your idea has some type of influence such as a famous actor, producer or intellectual property attached with a film treatment then yes.

What is treatment note? ›

The Film treatment basics

It's a multi-page document written in prose, that tells the story that happens in your screenplay. It is a synopsis, with action, sparse dialogue, and works as a roadmap for the reader, producer, and writer.

What is a treatment in animation? ›

A treatment is a type of document commonly used in film, television and animation. It provides a basic outline of the idea for a media production. A treatment is usually short and allows the reader to understand what the media production will be about, without having to read a completed script or storyboard.

How do you write a creative vision for a film? ›

Jodie Foster's 5 Tips for Realizing Your Creative Vision in Film
  1. Use reference images to convey your vision. ...
  2. Speak in terms of emotion. ...
  3. Assemble a team who can execute your vision. ...
  4. Be true to yourself. ...
  5. Make sure every decision is meaningful.
16 Jun 2021

What is a treatment in advertising? ›

A commercial treatment is a 5-12 page document that outlines your vision within the parameters set up by the advertising agency. Treatments help you establish trust between yourself and a well-known brand. They can read your treatment and see you have a decisive vision for their service or product.

What is an episode treatment? ›

A Treatment Episode is defined as the period of contact, with defined dates of beginning and end, between a consumer and a treatment provider or team of providers, in which there is no change in the main treatment type or the principal drug of concern, and there has not been a non-planned absence of contact for greater ...

What is a shooting script in film? ›

A shooting script is a key piece in the production of a motion picture. It's a version of a screenplay that includes detailed cinematography instructions laid out in the order that they'll be needed, such as certain camera shots, props, and locations.

What is the difference between a pitch and a treatment? ›

If they ask for a treatment before you've pitched, then again it's semantics: they don't mean a treatment, they mean a written pitch. But if you've pitched and they like the idea, and they tell you the next step is a treatment, what they're really looking for is a way to make sure you know how to execute the story.

What is treatment in TV production? ›

A treatment consists of a written condensation of a proposed film or TV dramatic production. It covers the basic ideas and issues of the production as well as the main characters, locations, and story angles. In part, its purpose is to sell the proposal to financial backers and major stars.

What is a video treatment? ›

How To Write Music Video Treatments! - YouTube

How do you write a killer logline? ›

Preparing for Online Pitch Contests: How to Write a Killer...
  1. A description of your main character (WHO)
  2. The inciting incident or event that triggers your story (WHEN)
  3. The action your character takes or the struggle or obstacles they face (WHAT)
  4. The goal (WHY)

What are the three parts of a logline? ›

The elements of logline construction include:

Protagonist. Inciting incident. Goal. Stakes/conflict.

How many words should a logline be? ›

A simple logline formula

Most screenwriters advise writing loglines that are only one sentence long. Some people say no longer than 30 words. But if your movie is on the complicated side, you might need to stretch your logline to a couple of sentences.

What is a synopsis example? ›

Example of a Synopsis. Here's an example of a short synopsis of the story of Jack and Jill: Jack and Jill is the story of a boy and a girl who went up a hill together. They went to fetch a pail of water, but unfortunately, their plan is disrupted when Jack falls and hits his head, and rolls back down the hill.

What comes first outline or treatment? ›

An outline is generally a document created by a writer for the writer to perfect his/her story before penning a full script. It usually contains less detail then a treatment which is more of a presentation document used to sell a film idea to a studio or production company.

How do you write a film synopsis? ›

5 Tips for Writing an Effective Movie Synopsis
  1. Stick to the main plot points and main characters. One page is limited real estate, so focus only on what's necessary to tell your story. ...
  2. Write in the style of the movie's genre. ...
  3. Create narrative propulsion. ...
  4. Emphasize character development. ...
  5. Spoil the ending.
7 Jun 2021

How do you write a outline for a TV show? ›

How to write a TV series outline
  1. THE TREATMENT: The Treatment will be the first thing you need to nail before you move on structurally, with the rest of your tv development. ...
  2. THE CHARACTER ARC: All plot comes from Character. ...
  3. TITLES AND THE NARRATIVE THROUGH LINE: ...
  4. THE SERIES ARC: ...
  5. AND FINALLY… ...
  6. BUILDING THE STORY WALL:
22 Oct 2020

How do I write a TV proposal? ›

Write a short synopsis of the TV show using what, why, when, who, where and how. Name the characters, the setting, the main storyline and the style of the show. Keep this brief but imaginative as it will be either the first or second thing read.

How do I start my own reality show? ›

How to Get Your Own Reality Show - YouTube

What is a treatment in advertising? ›

A commercial treatment is a 5-12 page document that outlines your vision within the parameters set up by the advertising agency. Treatments help you establish trust between yourself and a well-known brand. They can read your treatment and see you have a decisive vision for their service or product.

What is a treatment in television? ›

A treatment consists of a written condensation of a proposed film or TV dramatic production. It covers the basic ideas and issues of the production as well as the main characters, locations, and story angles. In part, its purpose is to sell the proposal to financial backers and major stars.

How long should a treatment be for a short film? ›

When figuring out how to write a film treatment, you're probably wondering how long it should be. Treatments have no set page length, but you do want to keep them pithy. If you're writing without anyone specific in mind, try to keep a series or film treatment under ten pages, single spaced.

How do you write a show treatment? ›

Tips For Writing a TV Show Treatment

It's simply a document that explains your concept in as few words as possible. Your treatment should be a short teaser introducing who you are and what the theme of your show is. In other words, it's a summary. You'll later expand on it and explain what is in it.

What is a creative treatment? ›

Creative therapy uses art forms — such as dance, drawing, or music — to help treat certain conditions. Trained therapists can administer creative therapy to help people experiencing a range of mental, emotional, and physical issues. Creative therapy does not require a person to have any sort of artistic ability.

What is a video treatment? ›

How To Write Music Video Treatments! - YouTube

How do you write a treatment for a reality TV show? ›

Be engaging, use detail, wow your audience--but be concise. This is a treatment, not a script, so brevity is important. Consider each paragraph an "act" in the first episode: character introductions, rising conflict, the twist or surprise, the climax, the tease for episode two.

What is title treatment? ›

What is a title treatment? It's just a fancy industry term for a movie logo. When it comes to a good title treatment, it needs to have just enough personality without being busy and cluttered, and the best ones have some sort of clever allusion to the storyline of the film.

How long should a TV treatment be? ›

But generally, rule of thumb, a treatment is no less than 4 pages and now more than 10. The key here is to get all the information down, as interestingly as possible, as economically as possible, with as much clarity as possible and not to over write. You make each word, each sentence, each image, each page, count.

How do you write a one page treatment? ›

Write a few notes to yourself about what your story is about. Go ahead and get philosophical. "It's about lies." "It's about how love can cure you." Your message can be cynical or positive, but be aware of what it is. You're going to have to cut out all kinds of important information to fit it into such a small pitch.

What is an example of a logline? ›

Examples of Effective Loglines

“The Godfather”: “The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.” “Reservoir Dogs”: “After a simple jewelry heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.”

Can you sell a movie treatment? ›

Can You Sell a Screenplay Idea? No, generally producers don't listen and buy movie ideas because of legal reasons and you cannot copywrite an idea. But if your idea has some type of influence such as a famous actor, producer or intellectual property attached with a film treatment then yes.

What is a story treatment? ›

A film treatment is a summary of a film or television show. It should communicate all of the essential scenes, themes, and tone of the project to entice or pitch to buyers and producers into reading, developing, or even purchasing your idea.

What does a documentary treatment include? ›

What is a documentary treatment? Documentary treatments are between two and ten pages and help you summarize the essentials of your project: the budget, the topic, who's involved, where filming takes place, and more. It's meant to give investors, collaborators, and others a window into your perspective.

How do you write a film synopsis? ›

5 Tips for Writing an Effective Movie Synopsis
  1. Stick to the main plot points and main characters. One page is limited real estate, so focus only on what's necessary to tell your story. ...
  2. Write in the style of the movie's genre. ...
  3. Create narrative propulsion. ...
  4. Emphasize character development. ...
  5. Spoil the ending.
7 Jun 2021

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