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Movie Treatment Format

By Expert Author: Matthew Scott

Rules regarding movie treatment format are in a constant state of evolution. Due to the continuous progression, there are sometimes discrepancies in the correct formats used for movie treatments. Individual producers or studios follow their own standards, making it somewhat challenging for treatment writers. Discrepancies have accrued because of the following:
1. The public preferences are changing
2. Newer technology has revolutionized the film industry
3. Time constraints have made changes in treatments imperative
Public preference - It was the silent movies that ruled the roost in the beginning, creating a need for treatment writing. For the first 30 years of the existence of cinema, people were appreciative of movies with no dialogues or sounds, sometimes with a narrator to explain the flow of the story. With the passage of time, historical classics stormed into limelight that required a big budget. Now the trend is more towards fast moving action, romances or thrillers, with sound. Treatment writing has undergone gradual change keeping in tune with what the masses want to see on the screen. The equipment utilized for filming has undergone a vast change, calling for an alteration in the movie treatment format today. When in doubt, use the most up-to-date format, and if you are writing for a specific company, determine if they have a preference.
Technology - The availability of software for the creation of treatments has taken much of the burden of formatting and pagination away from screenwriters. Specialized software has built-in techniques to churn out the completed treatment instantly at the punch of a few keys. The writer need not bother about the formatting rules that they are supposed to follow. This leaves him with more time to concentrate on other more important aspects of movie treatment format, like its appearance or presentation.
Time - People, especially those at the higher rungs of the film industry lack time. Running against the clock, movie formats have been compressed to a fewer pages. It is considered to be better the shorter the treatment is. Therefore, the strict rules that governed the movie treatment format have been replaced by more lenient ones. So much so, that everything is acceptable as long as it is short, crisp and tells it all.
The main purpose of a good movie treatment is to ease the task of:
The writer to sell his idea or be awarded the project to write the entire screenplay.
It provides him with a skeleton to work within so that he does not deviate while writing.
The filming crew, where a common platform of understanding is established.
The planning process. The set, location, lights, camera men, costume designers can lay out practical plans to do justice to the script that they will soon be filming.
In case of a documentary, the treatment itself is used instead of a script.
The main considerations for an ideal movie treatment format are:
The length of the treatment
The language and the terminology to be used
Its structure
Formatting, fonts, spacing, indents
Marks of punctuation, capitalization
Page numbering strategy
Cover page and binding
A movie treatment is approximately 10 percent of the length of the full length movie script. By writing or hiring a ghostwriter to create the movie treatment, you can present the formatted movie treatment to those who may be interesting in investing in the full length movie script. The treatment will provide enough information for potential investors to determine if they want to fund your screenplay.

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