Sunday, January 9, 2011

After you Write, Treat....

Treatments - the most maligned writers tool. At least as far as most of the writers I know are concerned! Any mention of them and people start rolling their eyes and saying what a hassle they are to write. I wasn't wild about them either, until recently.

I'm currently doing a big rewrite of a script with a producer who's interested in getting it made. This was a project that I always had doubts about - there was something not quite right about the script but I couldn't identify what needed to be fixed. The producer had the answer: do a treatment for it.

So I did. The thing is, you can't hide from anything in a treatment. If someone's motivation doesn't make sense, or if a plot twist is too unbelievable, this becomes obvious. Whereas in a script, it's often really hard to see these issues.

We're currently on draft five of the treatment and it's gone from 11 pages to 16. There's dialogue in there and everything. The idea is that when it's done, the redraft will be a breeze to write because all the heavy lifting will be over.

The whole process has made me think about how I approach a script. I'm developing another script idea at the moment and before I put serious pen to paper (well, finger to mouse), I'll be doing up an outline and pulling it apart for days or even weeks. It's going to save me a lot of time down the road if I take the time to think it out now.

So my prescription is as follows: before you write, outline. And once it's done, treat...

1 comment:

Kevin McNeill said...

Hello Eilis I'm a regular follower of your always thought provoking blog. I just wondered if you have a guide/model for treatments. Do you mean like as in McKee?
Good luck with the producer.
Kevin