Nate Herman’s “How To Write A Movie Treatment”

This, according to Nate, is all you need to write a movie treatment and save yourself a tonne of money on books and courses! In fact, by his estimation, you don’t need all that I have written below, some of this is specific to a film I am writing myself. Short, isn’t it.
Watch all the Bolding Brothers films – all of them!
Then identify who it is that you are seeing the story through the eyes of.

When writing your story out, have it seen through various different people’s eyes, to try them on for size.

What contradictions are there?
There must be a love interest, if there is none, manufacture one.

All dialogue must be read aloud for you to hear how it sounds. This will illuminate many glaring issues that otherwise might be missed.

For story, read Walt Whitman, Mark Twain and Three Men in a Boat.

A treatment = A storyline and how I am going to attempt to tell the story.

Writing a full script is a waste of time as this will be rewritten. However, write a decent treatment and you may be invited to write the script.

Make it delightful – not plot heavy (see 3 Men in a Boat for example of what to do)
Tell it as if I were telling it to a niece or nephew.
Read it, then go back and take out half of the information.
Get to the heart of the matter. This means vital editing. Better to leave them wanting more than to bore them.

Read scripts of the Full Monty and other big films that you want to emulate. What makes them charming? How simple are they? What are their identifiable plot lines?

Identify: What is the heart of the matter? What is the conflict? Who is the lead character?

This might turn out to be the person our lead character is watching. Which would be a more delightful way of presenting it?
Who underwent the transformation? Find the thing that is deeper.

A Treatment can be written in a page.
Identify the main characters, the location, the time period (i.e. over how many hours / days / weeks / months the action takes place)
Identify the view point and the tension.

Longer is possible but not desirable, however if you think of it as a 3 act play, this allows you to say how you see it developing if you are asked, and is a worthwhile exercise in itself.

Most films fall apart in the third act, so it is highly important to carry this into the third act. This act has to be based on something that has already happened.
This gives completeness and gets us back to the beginning, ties it all up.


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