Treatment

Today I’m working on the treatment for a spec script – a one-hour drama for TV.

Having brainstormed for months and 5-acted it and written the synopsis, I am moving on the scene-by-scene.  This is definitely one of my favourite stages of the writing process.

This is the place where the writing can till be novelistic, the motivations can be explicit and the author’s intention most evocatively expressed.  Well, that’s what I believe.  The next step, the first draft, turns your characters thoughts and feelings into actions and behaviours, makes their psychology physical.  Ideally.

Having read about a million scripts this year I am astounded by how many proficient writers still give their characters thoughts, instead of actions to perform and dialogue to inhabit.  Even the most beautiful prose and well-motivated psychology in stage direction is wasted.  Film / TV are audio-visual media, and that has to be expressed in your script.

But the treatment, as part of the writing process, allows so much more freedom and story-telling perspicacity – real rhetoric and flair.  Obviously the best scripts will carry this into draft stage.  But for me the treatment is the last ultrasound, a perfect glimpse at my baby, fully-formed but as yet not fully-developed.

And here the metaphor ends, as the next step is to beat-out the story and hammer-out the plot faults.  Something I also enjoy, but not something I would recommend with a baby.

Diversion ends, back to work … three acts down and two left to plot.  Well, a cup of tea first of course.

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