Treatment – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Screenwriting Glossary Terms

I. What is Treatment in Screenwriting?

In the world of screenwriting, a treatment is a detailed outline of a screenplay that serves as a roadmap for the story. It is a condensed version of the script that highlights the key plot points, characters, and themes. Treatments are typically used as a tool to help writers organize their ideas before diving into the actual scriptwriting process. They can also be used to pitch a screenplay to producers, directors, or other industry professionals.

II. How is a Treatment Different from a Script?

While a script is a fully fleshed-out document that includes dialogue, scene descriptions, and other specific details, a treatment is more of a summary or overview of the story. Treatments are usually shorter and more concise than scripts, focusing on the major beats of the plot without getting into the nitty-gritty of individual scenes or lines of dialogue. Treatments are also more flexible and can be easily revised or expanded upon as the story evolves.

III. Why is a Treatment Important in the Screenwriting Process?

Treatments are an essential tool for screenwriters because they help to clarify and solidify the core elements of a story before diving into the scriptwriting process. By outlining the key plot points, characters, and themes in a treatment, writers can ensure that their story is cohesive and engaging. Treatments also provide a roadmap for the writing process, helping writers stay on track and avoid getting lost in the details. Additionally, treatments can be used to pitch a screenplay to potential buyers, giving them a quick overview of the story and its potential.

IV. What Should be Included in a Treatment?

A treatment should include a brief summary of the story, including the main characters, setting, and central conflict. It should also outline the major plot points, including the inciting incident, rising action, climax, and resolution. Treatments may also include character descriptions, key themes, and any other important details that help to convey the essence of the story. While treatments are typically more concise than scripts, they should still provide enough detail to give a clear sense of the story and its potential.

V. How Long Should a Treatment Be?

There is no set length for a treatment, as it can vary depending on the complexity of the story and the preferences of the writer. Treatments can range from a few pages to several dozen pages, with some writers opting for shorter, more concise treatments while others prefer more detailed and expansive outlines. Ultimately, the length of the treatment should be determined by what best serves the story and helps to convey its key elements effectively.

VI. How to Use a Treatment to Pitch Your Screenplay?

Treatments can be a valuable tool for pitching a screenplay to producers, directors, or other industry professionals. When using a treatment to pitch a screenplay, it is important to focus on the key elements of the story, including the main characters, central conflict, and major plot points. Treatments should be concise and engaging, capturing the essence of the story and its potential to attract an audience. Writers should also be prepared to discuss their treatment in more detail, answering any questions or concerns that may arise during the pitch. By using a treatment effectively, writers can increase their chances of selling their screenplay and bringing their story to life on the big screen.