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Screenplay Basics


 A treatment is the telling of the screenplay's story in narrative form. This is a very detailed, virtually a scene-by-scene, description of the characters and the Story's events. Treatment lengths vary, but in general a treatment can be ten to fifty pages long.

The average motion picture treatment usually runs between twenty and thirty pages. There are three basic styles of treatment: the story point treatment, the scenario treatment, and the narrative treatment. A treatment is the screenwriter's blue-print. It is in the treatment that you work out the storytelling problems, so that when you begin the actual script you have the confidence of knowing what you are doing.

You may want to side track from the main theme, which is part of the creative process when better ideas occur, but having a detailed blueprint keeps the writer on -track..

1. The story point treatment:
 This is a list of sequences that tell the story in skeletal form. No one else will ever see it. It is the writers blueprint.

2. The scenario treatment:
This is a mini-script. It contains all of the slug lines, a brief synopsis of what each scene accomplishes and what characters are in it, but there is no, or very little, dialogue. This is the most difficult treatment to write, but if you choose to do your treatment in this style it will simplify your final script.

3. The narrative treatment:
 In this type of treatment the characters are described and the plot is written in a longer and more detailed story.

Structure: The architectural design of your script. The most traditional choice is the three-act structure, with a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Subplot: A subplot is a secondary story that runs parallel to the main plot. A subplot provides brief diversion or respite from the main action, or perhaps comic relief. In series television, a subplot is called "the B story."



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