The Outline Treatment

We touched briefly on the concept of the treatment in chapter 8. In docu-drama, you don't have to do a treatment, but this tool can be a great help in fact-based films. The ideal time to write a treatment is after you've settled your questions of focus and character choice.

The treatment is your first attempt to outline the drama. It is normally written as a series of loosely sketched sequences. They can be numbered or not, according to your fancy, and each sequence should indicate a location and the action of the characters. Occasionally, they may contain scraps of dialogue or paraphrase what the characters are talking about. The opening sequences of a treatment I wrote about a British nineteenth-century explorer in Palestine went like this:

1: Lawns of Cambridge University, 1865. Crowds of students. Kings College dominates. Inside the college palmer thanks audience for making his trip to the Holy Land possible.

2: A desert oasis. Three British officers stretched out in the sun. Officer arrives on a camel and dismounts. He indicates there is no word from palmer and he may be lost.

3: Luxury house. Dinner is over. Men in evening suits. palmer points to the map of Sinai, an unknown desert, where the Children of Israel wandered for forty years. "Gentlemen. With my time and your money I intend to bring God to the heathen and make the darkness visible."

4: British headquarters, Jerusalem, 1878. Drinks on table. Officers look at Sinai maps. bagley worries that the Turks may have palmer and the gold will be lost. franklyn suggests he is already dead. bagley, decisively: "There will be hell to pay if the story gets out. Palmer must be found."

As you can see, the treatment is very much written in shorthand form. It's not a literary document. It's not for publication. It's merely a device to help you and the producer see where you are going and what you want to do.

Film Making

Film Making

If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment