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How To Write A Screenplay Treatment

How To Write A Screenplay Treatment

Do you know how to write a screenplay treatment? Do you even know what one is? A treatment is a multi-page document written in prose that explains what your story is about in the screenplay, like a synopsis with sparse dialogue and action. It works as a roadmap for the reader, producer, and writer as it breaks down into an easy-to-follow document for all to pick up instantly. It can be easily understandable for an assistant, layperson, executive, and agent as your screenplay treatment will only shine with hard work.

How To Define Treatment

Treatment is a narrative-like prose written in the present tense description of your film’s entire script to present the basic idea. It covers all the vital information regarding screenplays, such as logline, title, character description, and story summary. So with the treatment, one can test the idea before investing energy in writing a new screenplay as it summarizes the whole story. It helps the writer to present the highlights to the producer to finance the film.

What Are The Elements Of A Film Treatment?

Treatment means describing the film story. In short that includes theme, roles, character, setting, and plot to show how the story would play out for the audience. There are four elements of film treatment;

1. Title (Give your treatment a title, even if it’s just a working title)

2. Logline (This is a short sentence summarizing the premise)

3. Plot summary (Depend on you as some writes one-page summary or other 70 pages)

4. Key characters (Provide a breakdown of key characters, including their arch or how their character develops in the story)

Why Do You Need A Film Treatment?

It can help you find your film story and help raise money as the research for both the treatment and film gathers the same story with the same individual and facts. You must understand how the story will be shown on screen and how you should communicate your passion, vision, and knowledge on the page as it comes early in writing a screenplay.

You need to sort out the necessary story elements such as;

-Create a world you want the reader to envision

-Layout the structure of your whole story

-Help you identify plot holes, or parts of the film you’re missing

-Describe characters and figure out the importance of each role

-Treatment must serve as a roadmap that makes the journey of your film easier to navigate

How To Write A Treatment In 6 Steps

These are the necessary steps every professional writer takes to write a treatment of the screenplay to make the reader fully understand the scope of the screenplay.

1. Start with your title

The title is a basic element of screenplay treatment that sums up the whole story to tell what it is about, but it depends on the writer. Some people write a title on the story’s main character, setting the location, or the premises and metaphorical. But the title should be as original as possible and shouldn’t be as similar to the other previous film, so it must be unique and attractive.

2. Compose your logline

Logline comes after the title as it’s a short description of 2 or 3 sentences that captures the film’s general objective and describes what the protagonist is up against in the film’s world.

3. Summarize the concept

When you are writing your screenplay treatment, you must be confined and limited, not comprehensive. Start with a precise introduction and how the story will take place with the theme, tone, and relevant background.

4. Set up the main characters

Your screenplay treatment should be conceptual and understandable with the addition of characters and show their brief version of a possible arc. Their existence, role, and reason in the screenplay creates an emotional drama for the reader to pay attention to.

5. Explore the acts

When you have told all the basic things to the reader, begin with the actual story by knowing how it should be started, who will be the audience, etc. It’s like telling a tale about your screenplay while creating it in the imaginary world.

6. Epilogue

Your story will remain unfinished without an ending description and thrown into the dustbin with all your imaginations and creativity. So you must state what will be the end of the story, how the premise concludes, about how characters end their story and if they have a satisfying ending. Always tie up loose ends, give the reader a sense of a finished story.

How Long Is A Film Treatment?

Treatment should be concise in writing since it has no limits of page and length and depends on your entire story. You can either keep a series of treatments under ten pages if you have something specific in mind. It also depends on the reader and how he wants the treatment, how long it should be so particular writing can be done according to the need, and extending it to 20 pages.

Never Write A Treatment For Free

Free work is a curse for all writers, so nobody will suggest you write a film treatment for free because it is an excellent tool for writing your story. So you can have plenty of places to get cash for your work instead of free work for others.

Wrapping Up Script Treatments

Finally, screenplay treatment projects help with your ideas. While they may not be commercially viable things, a great way to develop executive friendly ideas is to check the marketplace’s value. Screenplay treatments works as a defense before you invest efforts and energy to write an entire script; it saves you from that.


Every writer tries to get an impression with great effort to fit his idea in the reader’s mind through the screenplay treatment. All you have to be careful about is that producer may not have enough time to listen to the whole story, so keep it concise and describe the highlights only. You must write about your story’s characters in treatment as necessary to explain in the script. Luckily, if they like your story, you will see it on the screen soon.

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