Screenplay vs Treatment

Status
Not open for further replies.
Joined
May 5, 2018
Location
Columbia, Maryland
Conundrum number one of many for me. I recently wrote a one-page synopsis that could be turned into either a feature film or a mult-part Netflix, Hulu, Amazon series. I registered the synopsis with the Writers Guild of America, East. Next...I sent the synopsis to an acquaintance who has written two major films (and directed one) and has written episodes of Treme. She wrote me back a glowing review, saying that I had a "brilliant story that is so original it has to become a movie."

Do I attempt to turn it into a screenplay? Could a one-page synopsis be considered a treatment? Are treatments currently selling?
 
I'm so confused by this question because I keep reading in many places that ideas for stories are worth nothing without a finished product. Is this just something that people who don't have original ideas tell other writers? I've read several writers' opinions that no one should bother worrying about anyone stealing their book or their ideas because the real challenge is getting someone to want to read it. What is reality here?
I was in the music business for a long time. Getting a record company to hear material from a new group was very much like getting someone to read a film treatment or a new novel...it seems to boil down to a combination of who you know and luck. I have had over 400 feature articles published, but I am still considered a new writer to publishers and studios. I am not a screenwriter as much as a storyteller. The time that has to be put into writing a screenplay...well, so many other projects. Perhaps a collaboration. I'm just not sure.
 
@Michael Oberman .Have you thought of asking said friend if she has any advice on where to take it next? She might be able to put you in touch with people who can help you.

Re: turning this into a script: I guess it will depend how much you want to see this on screen. How passionate do you feel about it? You may or may not waste your time, you may or may not get somewhere, but time is never wasted on writing what you enjoy.

There's always the indie filmaking community. Not exactly Holywood budgets; people make their projects on a shoe string, but you might find a group of keen people who are willing to pool together. Have you heard of Shooting People? It's a community of filmmakers. I've been a member for years. Like with most things, you have to wittle out the nonsense but there are great people on there who have experience in indie film making. Raindance is also worth snooping around. And check out InkTip.

I think there's software that helps you write a screenplay. Final Draft or something. My head isn't in gear this Friday evening. Not sure how good they are though.
 
Last edited:
I've heard here on Litopia that screenplays can be written much more quickly than novels. 6 months compared to a year or more. I've also heard here that screenplays are harder to sell because there are so many of them. That makes who you know much more important, I suppose.
My personal problem is too many ideas and too little time. I am trying to finish a memoir about my life in the music business. "Fast Forward, Play and Rewind" is not an ego driven memoir but more a personal piece of my time spent with Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, David Bowie and others...along with snippets from the interviews I did with many artists. The time consuming part of this is tracking down and obtaining rights for a lot of photos that will appear in the book. I also spend 40 plus hours a week as a wildlife photographer. I'm thinking about taking a break from my photography, moving for three months to a place where I have no interruptions and just writing.
 
Have you thought of asking said friend if she has any advice on where to take it next? She might be able to put you in touch with people who can help you.

Re: turning this into a script: I guess it will depend how much you want to see this on screen. How passionate do you feel about it? You may or may not waste your time, you may or may not get somewhere, but time is never wasted on writing what you enjoy.

There's always the indie filmaking community. Not exactly Holywood budgets; people make their projects on a shoe string, but you might find a group of keen people who are willing to pool together. Have you heard of Shooting People? It's a community of filmmakers. I've been a member for years. Like with most things, you have to wittle out the nonsense but there are great people on there who have experience in indie film making. Raindance is also worth snooping around. And check out InkTip.

I think there's software that helps you write a screenplay. Final cut pro or something. Not sure. My head isn't in gear this Friday evening.

Thanks. I have used screenwriting software in the past. My friend connected me with HBO but the connection at HBO said I had to go through an agent. HBO put me in touch with an agent and she responded by saying, "Yes...definitely send it to me and a copy to my assistant." That was four months ago. After six weeks went by with no response, I sent a polite note asking if she had read the synopsis. No response. Behavior that isn't unexpected.
 
Gawd. I'm not qualified to help, whatsoever, sorry, but did your contact offer to write it, or write it in collaboration with you @Michael Oberman? Or could you ask her where she would recommend you went next with it?

A one-page synopsis does not seem to be considered a treatment:

...treatments are something of an amorphous scriptwriting document. It is bigger than a logline (1-3 sentences) and a synopsis (1-5 pages), but shorter than a movie script (90-110 pages). What is it’s function? Where did it come from? What does it want? Why bother?

For the large part, film treatments are not something emerging writers should worry about. Generally, newer screenwriters should write a great logline to generate interest, followed by an impeccable script. Some scriptwriters (not me) write treatments in lieu of an outline.


More HERE
 
Gawd. I'm not qualified to help, whatsoever, sorry, but did your contact offer to write it, or write it in collaboration with you @Michael Oberman? Or could you ask her where she would recommend you went next with it?

A one-page synopsis does not seem to be considered a treatment:

...treatments are something of an amorphous scriptwriting document. It is bigger than a logline (1-3 sentences) and a synopsis (1-5 pages), but shorter than a movie script (90-110 pages). What is it’s function? Where did it come from? What does it want? Why bother?

For the large part, film treatments are not something emerging writers should worry about. Generally, newer screenwriters should write a great logline to generate interest, followed by an impeccable script. Some scriptwriters (not me) write treatments in lieu of an outline.

More HERE
I did ask my friend if she would co-write. Unfortunately she is a Prtoffesor of Creative Writing at a major university and is also currently working on her own new film. No time.
 
Thanks. I have used screenwriting software in the past. My friend connected me with HBO but the connection at HBO said I had to go through an agent. HBO put me in touch with an agent and she responded by saying, "Yes...definitely send it to me and a copy to my assistant." That was four months ago. After six weeks went by with no response, I sent a polite note asking if she had read the synopsis. No response. Behavior that isn't unexpected.
Hmmm.

Is it a big budget script? Maybe shoot it yourself? The film, I mean. Get a group of quality people, maybe even crowdfund. Once you have the finished project approach people again. They may like it as it is, or else might want to re-make it. Sort of happened with a TV series I was in. Not sure this is the standard approach though, but if nothing else, you have a finished, written and produced, screenplay to 'go on your CV'.
 
An actress/producer bought the option on one of my mum's books 20 years ago. In the end she didn't make it because she was never happy with the screenplay. Last year she got in touch with me about the possibility of reviving the project. I asked whether I could be involved in the screenwriting process. She very politely declined, saying that professional screenwriters are a jealous lot and would object to an amateur getting involved (fair enough). You see often enough at the end of movies a credit 'based on an idea by...' or 'based on such and such a book', so I imagine that even if you come up with a brilliant idea, there'll be a screenwriter somewhere fending you off, and that the industry itself will always favour its own professionals.
 
Hmmm.

Is it a big budget script? Maybe shoot it yourself? The film, I mean. Get a group of quality people, maybe even crowdfund. Once you have the finished project approach people again. They may like it as it is, or else might want to re-make it. Sort of happened with a TV series I was in. Not sure this is the standard approach though, but if nothing else, you have a finished, written and produced, screenplay to 'go on your CV'.
Without pasting the synopsis in...could not be done as an indie film. The story transpires from 1682 to present day on both coasts of the U.S. and elsewhere.
 
An actress/producer bought the option on one of my mum's books 20 years ago. In the end she didn't make it because she was never happy with the screenplay. Last year she got in touch with me about the possibility of reviving the project. I asked whether I could be involved in the screenwriting process. She very politely declined, saying that professional screenwriters are a jealous lot and would object to an amateur getting involved (fair enough). You see often enough at the end of movies a credit 'based on an idea by...' or 'based on such and such a book', so I imagine that even if you come up with a brilliant idea, there'll be a screenwriter somewhere fending you off, and that the industry itself will always favour its own professionals.
True words Rachel.
 
Without pasting the synopsis in...could not be done as an indie film. The story transpires from 1682 to present day on both coasts of the U.S. and elsewhere.
I know of a group of people who made an indie film set in medieval times. They researched and made a bunch of cosumes, gathered a bunch of re-enactors in their outfits, then asked some medieval village museum thingy somewhere in Europe to be allowed to shoot there. Done, dusted in the can, the cowboy method. Not sure what happened to it all in the end though.
But yes 1682 onwards isn't easy.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top