Wednesday, March 10, 2021

What should a proposed film treatment (leading to the spec script) comprise?


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Shane Stanley, “Writing a Treatment and Synopsis for a Screenplay”

Stanley suggests that a treatment, besides a logline and tagline, would include a functional summary of the components of the work

For example a paragraph for each of the five acts (Freytag or “Shakespeare” structure).  But there are other models, such as Don Harmon’s story circle, or Michael Hauge’s Six Parts (similar to Freytag but there seem to be two critical points of plot turns in his model).

If you were submitting a treatment for copyright there might be a question as to who owns the “structure” you are using (legally). 

But the basic parts of any story can be aggregated and numbered into various steps and sub-steps,

I think, especially in science fiction, you need to summarize the “rules” in your world.  This may lead to a political structure which could become disturbing or controversial.  Imagine how alien civilizations, maybe on more than one planet, could have had to deal with race or even gender and sexuality. (I still wait for a movie on Clive Barker’s “Imajica”.

You would want to list the major characters and suggest a character arc for the major ones.

Stanley suggests specifying alternative possible endings.

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