Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Treatment

Sorry it's been a little bit; a lot of things have been in the works over the past few weeks. Even though the script is done and copyrighted and ready to go, I've recently been considering a change that'll turn the whole film on its head. More on that in the near future.

In the meantime, I thought I'd write (a long overdo entry) about script treatments. Usually this would come earlier in the process, but I actually wrote the treatment for "Bagged and Boarded" after I wrote the script. Basically, a film treatment is sort of like the outline of what the film is about, how the characters develop, and so on. It's usually between 7-13 pages, but that's no golden standard. Many professional Hollywood screenwriters will do many treatments a year as they (or their employers) "pitch" the film to a studio head. Many treatments get denied...which sucks because writers don't usually get paid for their time writing treatments.

While there are no definitive rules for how to write treatments, this site sums up a few different styles well. The author has a pessimistic view on how treatments are handled in Hollywood, and that's justified.

But treatments serve a much better purpose besides going directly to studio execs. I wrote mine to present to my probable director of photographer (along with a complete script). I made the treatment sort of the "cliff notes" version of the movie, complete with each characters' dramatic needs and arcs. I also gave my treatment to the owners of the location we're aiming to use. I figured it would be quicker for them to read seven pages rather than ninety (plus, it'd make the film look more intelligent to them...).

In the future I'll be doing treatments first, before the script. This way I can outline the events like I usually do, but also sort of "pitch" the movie to myself. It's a lot easier to bail on an incomplete treatment than it is on an incomplete script.

And that's my few words on treatments. I promise to be back in the very near future; I do have a lot to talk about. Look for a casting call announcement this week, as well as an official announcement on some of our crew.

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