A sample film treatment is a document by a film treatment writer to showcase their writing skills. New film script writers have to prove their ability to write film treatments and scripts. In order to get your foot in the door of films script writing, it is essential to write a number of samples, which can be shared. It is a self marketing strategy, which is part of the writer’s portfolio.
The screenwriter should ideally prepare samples to suit every conceivable situation that may arise. This is done to show potential customers that the writer can accomplish the task of compiling extraordinarily-brilliant film treatments and movie scripts. Copies of the sample film treatment are distributed to people in the film industry as well as literary agents and those seeking to hire a ghostwriter. Agents represent the writer to the film ‘insiders’. When production houses, studios, individual producers, or directors are hunting for someone to author a screenplay or treatment, they can pull out the spec samples submitted by different writers. Another option is for them to approach agencies, which are in direct contact with writers seeking work.
By evaluating the sample treatment, the potential client can pick and choose a qualified writer. Wisdom dictates that screenplay writers prepare samples in many genres and different types:
1. Original draft treatment – Slightly longer and more detailed manuscript
2. Presentation treatment – A much shorter and crisper version of a screenplay
3. Adaptation treatment – A treatment based on adapted work of another novelist.
Certain precautionary measures must be taken before doling out copies of a sample film treatment, including the following:
• Get your work registered with WGA so that your idea is never stolen.
• Give complete contact information on the front page of the treatment.
• Ensure that your work is absolutely flawless to make a great impression on the reader.
• Accompany the treatment with a cover letter highlighting your expertise, awards and credentials.
• If possible, attach a self addressed stamped envelope for ease of communication.
• Follow the industry norms regarding the format as closely as possible.
Since treatments are considered “easy reads,” it is important to keep your sample film treatment brief without sacrificing any important element of the story. This makes the treatment seem incomplete or distorted. Sometimes it is more difficult to compile articulate treatments than full-fledged screenplays. Make reading a sample a pleasure. Include enough white space so that the reader does not cringe from going through it from cover to cover. If the readers begin to lose interest or feel overburdened, they are likely to fling it aside hastily. Your aim should be to induce the reader to go on until reaching the end, setting it aside with satisfaction. A well-written film treatment has improved chances of being read and the writer propositioned to write the full-length film script.