The Film Treatment
Although a logline is great way to get a potential reader and/or buyer hooked onto the idea of the story, it is simply not enough to persuade them to actually read the script. Yes the logline does hook them but now they must be reeled in and the best way to accomplish that is buy using a film treatment. A film treatment is essentially a short story version of the script. The treatment gives all of the important details of the script without the use of dialogue. Everything including the plot, the theme, the characters, and even the mood of the script should be in the treatment. Also remember to write the treatment in three acts like the script. It is important to have all of the vital information of the script within the treatment but it must also be concise. Remember that these are all busy people who are ready to pass on anything if they feel it will drag out. The shorter it is the better but do not forget all of the vital information that is within the script. On top of that try to avoid using phrases like “In this scene…” or “We open with…” because this strays away from the short story style. The treatment should not read like a scene that is being described but instead flow like a prose in literature.
It is entirely up to you on whether to write the treatment before or after the script is completed but I prefer to write it before. The treatment provides a solid structure of the story and it also provides a better understanding of the direction it is going. If the treatment is well written then chances are that the script well be on par. However, regardless of when the treatment is written, it must receive the same focus and dedication that the script will. The treatment will be the first time someone will read the story and if it does not capture their attention then the script will not have a chance at all.
Although the focus on here is mostly film; the value of a treatment reaches far beyond just film. The use of a treatment can be applied to every aspect of media. It is something that is used on TV shows, music videos, short films, video games and even commercials. Therefore learning and mastering how to write a treatment will be beneficial to a person regardless of what area of media they decide to work in.
The link below has a treatment written by James Cameron for The Terminator. It is a good example of what you would want your treatment to be like.