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Writing A Tv Treatment
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Special skills are needed for writing a TV treatment. In the common terminology used by the entertainment industry, a treatment is a long synopsis of a screenplay. They trace the development of the story scene-by-scene, including the character arc and every important element of the script. Writing a TV treatment is imperative for the eventual success of the TV program. Treatments are used to sell the idea of a TV program to the networks and large production houses. They can be used as guidelines for planning by the crew members.
Writing a TV treatment serves another function too. It saves the writer many hours of hard labor. If the idea is faulty or does not flow smoothly, the writer can either drop it or make necessary alterations before transforming it into a full-blown screenplay. Ironing out kinks results in a better TV program that attracts greater number of viewers. This is ultimately reflected in increasing the earnings and popularity of the author, director, and production company. There are several aspects that come into play when you set out writing a TV treatment:
- Almost all those who want to take up writing for TV love to watch TV. Study the popular TV shows at that time and decide which genre you would like to work on. It should be one that you are passionate about and already have the basic knowledge of.
- Write the logline of your intended story. This is a handy marketing tool. Even before the executives go through your treatment, they will want to know what it is all about.
- Decide how long the show will be -- an hour or for a shorter duration. Split it into distinct acts, interspersed with commercial breaks. While writing a TV treatment, keep this precept clearly in sight.
- Every act must end in a cliffhanger -- something to incite the viewers to continue watching. Similarly, the end of the episode should break off on a note which the audience would like to know more about. This is a good strategy to keep the viewers engaged.
- The opening scene must essentially be a smashing hit, goading the readers and later the viewers to go on.
- In the treatment the filler scenes and all the dialogues can be comfortably left out. Mention only important elements that push the story forward.
- If your treatment is planned to be four pages long, the first act must be only one page in length; the second act should be two pages long; the third act should be one page. Make all the acts seem to fuse together, giving an impression of fluidity in the story.
- Read the treatment aloud preferably to a few well-wishers and get their honest opinion. Make corrections if required.
The rule of the thumb for writing a TV treatment is to use persuasive, snappy language, edit and re-write till perfection is reached. The main idea is to hook the readers, compelling them to take up the project, help the production team, and keep the viewers glued to the TV show. A TV treatment writer can help turn your idea into a completed TV treatment.
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