For some reason both 'treatments' and 'outlines' are freely exchanged for one another despite being two separate things. I was always told outlines are 2-5 pages in length and are just the main beats, where as treatments are lengthy details of every single aspect of the story from beginning to end.
T.A. Tilley is right...traditionally a treatment is a VERY detailed account of everything that happens in each scene of a movie - beat by beat, minus dialogue. It may seem unfathomable, but in the past treatments have actually been over a HUNDRED pages, and they can even run longer than the script itself because a treatment should include subtext and characters thoughts, neither of which can show up in an actual draft since it's mainly the territory of the actor. Contemporarily speaking, however, the word 'treatment' has been extended to include short and long form outlines. It really depends on who your speaking with, but people who have been in the industry longer (30, 40 plus years) still tend to use the term 'treatment' in the way it was originally intended.
Part of shorter attention spans is the fact that we're able to process information faster, because we've been trained to do so. So, more info in less time = smarter in my book.
Again, look at this from the reader's POV, not the writer's. They're getting a TON of crap daily. They can tell if you know what the heck you're doing in a paragraph...they can get the gist of your idea in a page. If they like it and you, they'll ask for more. Asking people to write 20 pages is a waste of everyone's time.
And if you can't get your idea across in a page, ideally a sentence, you need to rewrite it. In the end, give them what they ask for. They're the client, it's their house rules.
Well, yes if the treatments were 20 pages they would not get read. I'm just saying that they CAN get up to that many pages depending on the project; despite current trends, there are no set rules for the entire industry. It boils down to preferences and the 5 page rule is a trend caused by shortened attention spans thanks to modern technology keeping everyone connected to the internet.
I concur with Michael. Talent is easy to spot. The reader will get the gist of your idea in 5 pages, but more importantly, will get a great sense of your writing style. Actually, you can see if someone knows what the hell they're doing in a single paragraph. If you're good and your idea has merit, they'll contact you for more.
though what you say has a lot of merit, from a writers perspective, I used to read and would not want to sit for Amazon and read treatments that were 30 pages long, I would find every reason under the sun to toss them in the trash can, any and all reasons to not read them. That is why I think we were limited to 5 pages, for me that was more than enough...
But the point of a treatment, really, isn't to lay out all the visuals... it's to show off plot points. Keeping it pared down to 5 pages garuntees all the "fat" is cut away to have a nice tight clean story.
The "30" number is a typo, it should have read 20. I think 10-20 pages would be ideal for a feature-length animated film. I say animated because animation is a visual medium and would require more detail in the descriptions than that of a traditional film. The five page rule would be okay for short films and television but I am not sure it would be ideal for animated films--there is so much more potential for creating better detailed story. With five pages in my opinion, you are quite limited to the the kind of story you have to tell versus the kind of story you WANT to tell.
I'd love to know where you got your numbers... because everything I've ever been told (from writers on movie sets I've PA'd on) and read in various screenwriting books say that a treatment is never more than 10 pages.
Actually Treatments are more detailed and are between 15 and 30 pages in length. As an example, The original Terminator treatment is 44 pages in length. What Amazon Studios asked for was a treatment but one to five pages is more or less for outlines which only cover major story beats and not a play-by-play from beginning to end.
T.A. 5 pages or less is industry standard for treatments.
I don't reply to much of this, but I have to here. Awsome rant ... thank you. The 4 P's were ... (wait for it....) ...... PERFECT!
I love that Amazon has an Open Door Policy, with the rest of the entertainment world (books included), it's all about being lucky or knowing someone who knows someone who has dirt on someone, all of which are closed to most of the general public. You need an agent to submit, but can't get an agent unless you are a WGA member but can't get that unless you make a sale and get credit and can't do that unless you have an agent--and the cycle never ends until you get lucky.
Here, we have a chance... a small chance but a chance nonetheless and that's awesome. My only complaint is being limited with so few pages. For a story like this I'd say that double of what was allowed would have been better. As an example, ten pages for the treatment, four pages for the characters and two for the "creative vision."
Thanks so much, Don, the reduction to 70% did the trick. Wow.
I've been trying to enter a proposal, but the proposal link only gets me to the guidelines. How can I make this work? Please, help.
Hi there Amazonites!
Just posted mine form the U.K. - isn't the interweb wonderful for connecting the world?
Great notes, fun concept, thanks Amazon for the opportunity!
I just entered. Now comes the finger crossing and prayer!
I was able to submit by reducing the screen to 75%. No worries.
Thank you for your excellent post and attitude. I am concerned, having never written a treatment, about how to adequately show the beats... I understand the "rules" of beats for a full-length screenplay, but... do you have advise or feedback about how best to capture the kinetic flow of the story inside a treatment? Also... I just found this opportunity; I've watched the full-legth story board/demo 'reel', and read the scripts... but the ideas I have to solve some of the issues are fairly far off-road, so to speak. I want to honor the original screenplay and author... and I don't know if a drastic departure may be detrimental... You were so generous in this previous post (I assume you are submitting a treatment, too!), I wonder if you might be willing to answer these questions as well. Thank you!
Collaboration with Rob is closed. Has been since before the rewrite opportunity became available. there is still 7 days to submit a proposal.
A Participant says:
It better not be closed! Please follow up here when you are able to submit. Thanks.
My five pages of story explains the Fairy Queens motives, creates characters that come from the depths of purgatory and how happy the girls where to have them help in Yannick rescue from the depths from where they once dwelt in horror and pain. So Black and Evil it is almost funny and contrast that with the entrancing song and dance enhanced with bright lights of virtue that is all they need to carry out their mission of peace through constant love for all.
Oh, I am having trouble uploading my Treatment and five page story. It says Rob has “closed the contest”?
A Participant says:
Sandie, you have 7 days. May 14th. I love to be helpful, but I have to wonder when people can't figure this much out how the heck they will ever make it through the submission process.
In other words, if you can't click through a couple of internet pages here on Amazon Studios' website to find your own way, how will you ever help a hero find his/her way through a script?!
When I first submitted, there was no ack. I resubmitted, and got the mail Christian mentioned, so I know it went in ok now....
I have just become aware of these opportunities because of the Amazon press release about future endeavors. I see that this opportunity for writing/revisions is dated back in April. Can you tell me how deadlines are communicated, and is this still an open opportunity? Thanks so much! Please email me your reply? firstname.lastname@example.org