Screenwriting : Treatments by Matthew J. Kaplan

Matthew J. Kaplan


I'm sure this discussion has already appeared here, but I also know that industry standards evolve and that everyone approaches things differently. I have never written a treatment for presentation. What are your thoughts? What should and shouldn't be there? How long should the document be? How "professional" vs. "in your own language" should the treatment be? Are there different treatments for different people you will present to? Does anyone have any amazing examples? Templates? All thoughts, links and jokes are welcome! Thanks! Matt

Dan Guardino

My opinion is I have never written one and never will.

Rutger Oosterhoff

How do you "structure" Dan? Do you go from synopsis to (step) outline?

Kay Luke


That first link is not the type of treatment they want. Those are in house studio jobs, more of an outline for production, not to be confused with a writer's treatment.



A Treatment is a simple narrative that tells your story and introduces the characters without getting too detailed. At the same time, no cliff hangers. and include resolution. Only include scant dialogue, and then only catch phrases or a line that showcases your skill. And NO script formatting. It's a short story.

You need a One Sheet, a 3-5 page, and maybe a 30-35 page Treatment (for sure if it's big budget). And if you don't have whatever is asked for, you better be able to write one on the spot.

A week or two ago, someone asked basically this same question and I posted a One Sheet and a 3-5 page on the thread. I'm sure you can find it if you search.

Dan Guardino

Rutger. I normally just write a very brief three act synopsis if I am writing on spec. If I am writing on assignment which I don't do very often I use STC beat-sheet but only as a guide.

Matthew J. Kaplan

Thanks for everyone's comments so far. Kay, I couldn't find your posted documents. If you'd be so kind, would you mind reposting? Thanks!

Rutger Oosterhoff

I think I got it Dan. Your working with a mental map.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Thanks for sharing the link from screenwriter Terry Rossio, Rutger. I'd say his insights and advice are highly regarded and his site is a great resource. ;)

Dan Guardino

Rutger. Yes and sometimes I just write down scenes as I see them unfold in my head. Not probably the best method but that is what seems to work best for me.

Other topics in Screenwriting:

register for stage 32 Register / Log In