Understanding what is the treatment for a screenplay

Comprendre ce qu’est le traitement d’un scénario

The treatment

 

This is a moment that I say to myself that this article was missing ! I don’t know why I didn’t write that before…lately you’ve been numerous to ask me, so today I offer finally the article on : the treatment !

Before attacking the heart of the matter, I would like to give you back the order of the documents that you need to write. When you begin a story it is absolutely necessary to start with the pitch. The pitch defines in a few lines the idea, the concept of your film. Once you have placed it on the paper, you can write the synopsis and then the treatment, the séquencier and finally the continuity of dialogue.

But, the treatment for a scenario of long, in fact, what is it ?

You can actually ask what is the difference between a synopsis and a treatment. Yet it is quite simple. A synopsis, as you already know, this is a summary of your film, but it did not matter which. In fact the synopsis is about a maximum of 5 pages and summarizes the main plot from A to Z and reveals the characters that have the most importance. To sum up all, a feature film in a maximum of 5 pages, you can imagine very well that it is necessary to reduce to a minimum and remove all the details, in short, all the superfluous characters and situations.

You will have understood, the treatmentis a long synopsis that goes much further than that without spread over pages to no end. Where a continuity of dialogue is going to be 90 to 130 pages, the treatment will only be 15 to 20 pages , and should give a global vision of what will be the continuity of dialogue. The treatment is presented as a text type new, that is to say, in a style more literary than is the continuity of dialogue.

 

I doubt that this must seem bizarre to a treatment so that the story you’ve already told it once in the synopsis. Except that the processing, contrary to the synopsis, will contain, not only the main story but the side stories, all the characters, the ins and outs of it but especially the links between the characters and their interactions.

Therefore, the treatment is simply the entirety of your story without the superfluous details. This is pretty much the continuity of dialogue without the dialogue…or almost. This will also allow you to see if all of the ideas you have had are consistent once set. More like you don’t bother with the details of locations, dialogue, costumes, and I don’t know what, and well it is much easier to edit your text or change your mind.

Once your treatment is finished you will have your entire history, but you will also know what the characters are saying. Then I feel like I lost a part of you. The treatment is written in present, which enables you to be more close to the action and also allow the reader to facilitate empathy. But you must also tell your reader what is said or what will say the characters. Once again the dialogues are to be explained, summarized. That is to say that they should not be presented like this :

Marc

It is where my bike ?

David

I have lent it to Christelle, she had to go get bread

Marc

And how do I use it now to go home ?!

David

You expect her to come back !

But rather : Marc wants to know where David has put his bike because he wants to go home. David did more, he has loaned it to Christelle who had a race to do. Marc will have to wait for her to return to retrieve it.

Obviously it will have to avoid : Marc said that, David responded that, etc…it is necessary that the reading is fluid and less repetitive as possible.

 

I know that some of you have to say, yes, but the continuity dialogue is richer, we can put more details, the universe is also more easily palpable etc…And you’re right ! But in a first time, the important thing is to be able to write and finish your story. And tell you one thing, I’ve read treatments amazing where we felt the links between the characters, where the universe was indeed present, some of which were funny or touching. Reading the treatment, one feels certain emotions, then imagine once transformed into a continuity conversed ! A good treatment it is the promise of continuity conversed even better !

 

And as in the treatment you will already have descriptions of the action and you will know what is said, you will only have to look at the good turn of phrase, the right word and not on the bottom ! So, pay attention, this is a work of titan to find the right turn of phrase or the right word, but you will know each time where you are going and you do you will lose more on the way ;o)

So everyone agrees on what is a treatment, and although it is as if you were to make a summary of a movie (try doing it with one of your favorite movies), written in the present, where all the important characters, their relationships and their actions are understandable and form a unit : The story. A treatment must tell the story of the beginning but also the end of the story, we must all understand and do not ask any question.

And if I write a short ?!

Actually as I said earlier, the treatment is only in the film long-feature film or telefilm. If you write a short film you can also make a treatment. But this document will do that for you, it will be a working document to facilitate the writing of the continuity dialogue. In any case, you do not need to send your processing to short to be a producer, you do not need to send only that the continuity of the dialogue.

To finish, don’t forget that the treatment is governed by the same rules of dramatic structure that the continuity of the dialogue, that is to say that it is necessary that there are three parties, that is to say, the 3 acts. Not the penalty mark act 1, 2 and 3 in the treatment ! It should be simply as your history is structured around the acts. If you use the hero’s journey or a different form of narrative structure, your points of passage, your key points must also feel.

Well, I hope that this has you well informed about what that is : a treatment.

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Soon,

Tom Weil

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