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Your Treatment is a visual...word-picture in paragraph form...for each scene in your movie/TV show, play, etc...

This is the written step just before you begin writing the actual dialogue and action in the script formatting phase.

An Outline lists the main bullet points/actions in your story.

This Treatment describes the main actions and key elements which take place in the actual scenes in your script.

The scenes are written in the present tense (as if they are happening NOW...) right before our very eyes, even when it flashes back to 50 years in the past.  (Example: Jody sits on the couch and falls asleep as her sister, Tammy tips past her while wearing Jody’s favorite shoes that she just bought.  Tammy quietly exits outside with a sneaky smile on her face.)

Each scene is written in its own paragraph.  The main Protagonist is striving to reach his/her goal in one way or another.  At the same time, whether in the background or directly, the Antagonist continues to strive to stop the main good character from reaching his/her goal.  There will be obstacles that are difficult and could, for a brief moment, stop the protagonist, but the protagonist has to overcome each and every obstacle in one way or the other and get right back on course to reach his/her main goal!  This is a must!

Whether your script is:

A play: 2 Acts (approximately 2 – 2 1/2 hours)
A TV drama: 4 Acts (one-hour show)
A situation Comedy: 2 Acts (half-our show)
A feature movie: 3 Acts (90 minutes – 3 hours)...
A film short: (Anywhere from 1 minute to approximately 30 minutes on the average)...

You still want to follow the basic rule in the acts of the storyline:

(A) After a "typical" day happens, a drastic problem occurs in a person or a group of peoples' lives...
(B) it gets worse...
(C) it worsens deeper (depending on the number of acts, more worse and even more worse...) then...the major obstacle and some minor obstacles get resolved with much effort being utilized and keeping the audience’s interest all the way up to the climax and then the denouement (the resolve) in the last act within the story.

You want to end EACH act with a cliffhanger to keep the audience interested in what’s going to happen next!

Dialogue typically is not written in the treatment unless it is crucial to state key specific information that are trigger points or trigger words (maybe a line or two at that time).


Film: 10 Double-Spaced Pages
Film Short: Approximately 5 Double-Spaced Pages
TV Show/Pilot: 8 – 10 Double-Spaced Pages
Remaining Formats: 5 – 10 Double-Spaced Pages

WAIT!  Note some key info before you format your script!  I've heard Writing Agents, Readers for agencies, Producers, Etc.  Express that they will toss your script if it is not formatted correctly!  Offices/Companies talk amongst each other, too!