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Well-written movie treatments are a great way to pitch your idea for a screenplay. Put in very basic terms, treatments are the prose version of the script that you plan to pen. This creative tool can help in jump starting a career of a budding screenplay writer in such a way that he immediately wins acknowledgement and perhaps a project from the theater or a studio. The ideal length of a treatment is shrouded in controversy. The point to keep in mind is to maintain brevity without forfeiting the actual sap of the story. A treatment forms the backbone of the screenplay and assists the author to stay focused. There are fundamentally two types of movie treatments that differ in the point of time they are created:
1. Original draft treatment - These are a full synopsis of the screenplay, including all the main scenes and character development. Generally of about 30 pages but less than 80, draft treatments give a clear picture of the flow of the story to the members of the crew, thus making them handy tools for filmmakers.
2. Presentation treatment - These are shortened version of the entire script, starting with the concept, theme and characters. They run for less than 30 pages and are a hand-out left with the film executives following a sales pitch.
Movie treatments can aid in getting the movie financed if the producer is impressed by them. Another great advantage is that they act as wonderful creative and diagnostic tools for the writer. Treatments are a perfect way to test whether the writer's idea is sale-able or not, saving him many years of toil and sweat. Later on, they act as guidelines along which the script writer can move smoothly while elaborating upon the short version of the screenplay. The objective should be to prepare movie treatments right from the heart in a compelling way so that the readers should want to see it on the large screen. Treatments can be viewed as the foundation upon which the structure will come up at a later date.
Movie treatments must carry all the relevant information, such as:
1. The working title (preferably relevant to your story)
2. A logline (the plot in a sentence or two)
3. Writer's contact information
4. WGA registration number
5. Scene-by-scene breakdown of the story, introduction of all the characters
6. A few main dialogues
7. Short description of the setup, crisis and the resolution (a beginning, middle and an end).
Movie treatments are always written using present tense and unlike the screenplays where stringent formatting rules are followed, treatments are divided into paragraphs. The writer enhances the chances of catching the attention of the producers/directors by compiling an exemplary treatment. Ideally it should leave the important people hungering for more of it. Use forceful words that help the readers visualize what the eventual screenplay is going to be like. Be brief and highlight only the main points. Develop the characters of the protagonist and antagonist very clearly. By keeping these tips in mind you can write a great movie treatment.
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