How to write a treatment.
Probably the most critical step in pre-production is writing a treatment. One treatment is the director’s vision: a summary of the play to be shot. A treatment is a sales tool. Agency people and clients are extremely busy and have very short attention spans. They don’t have time to meet and discuss projects, but are happy to flip through a 4-12 page treatment of the commercial you plan to shoot for them. This is your first look at the material. If they’re excited about the few pages of the treatment, they’ll be willing to give you the job. If they’re not excited, you’re out of the picture. There is no standard way to write a treatment. You just need to make it interesting enough to sell your ideas and approach.
Management is very competitive. One of the main factors that determines whether you’re going to get the job is writing a treatment of how you plan to shoot the material you’re looking for. Whether it’s a feature film, a TV pilot, a commercial, or a music video, the process is very similar. Whoever is paying for the work to be produced goes through a stack of actual directors to come up with a shortlist. These directors then have to write a treatment of how they plan to shoot the material. The director is the one who makes the central decisions in a production and his treatment covers what he plans to do. Go into detail about the look they’re after, the brand, the use of the product, how they expect the sound design to play, what kind of music they want to use, which actors they want to cast, costumes, locations, publishing. .. the list goes on. Everything that is part of the director’s vision must be included in the treatment.
There is no set format for the treatment of a director, except that the director must do his best to secure the job. Some treatments are a couple of typewritten pages, some include photos, and some are multimedia song-and-dance shows packed with audio and visual references. Anything goes as long as it leads to getting the job. If you’re the producer and director, it’s a good idea to write a treatment as a way to develop the idea in your head. The more you think and prepare, the more successful you will be. The secret is to treat it as if you were writing it for someone else. If you’re in a hurry or need help, you know who to call.
My job is to win your next job.