Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Treatments & Proposals

Hi Folks,

We will be reviewing treatment and proposal writing in class.

Due date has been extended to next week.

Here are some general guidelines:

In place of a script, doc filmmakers use treatments,proposals, or even outlines--to describe and help plan a documentary project. There is a lot of overlap between these concepts and different filmmakers use them in similar and often interchangeable ways.

A treatment is a short story narrative written in simple, non-technical language (ie. no camera angles, transitions, etc.)

A proposal, which frequently includes a treatment, is a thorough description of all
aspects of a project. It is created in the pre-production stage of a documentary project to persuade funders, distributors and others to support the project.


An effective proposal will:
• Tell a good story
• Make human truths emerge through images—not just verbal description.
• Present a personal, critical perspective on some aspect of the human condition.
• Inform and emotionally move an audience

Usually a proposal will contain the following information:
• Length of work, format.
• Who is the intended audience?
• Goal or intended purpose(s) of the film
• Has any media work already been produced on this subject? If so, what is new,
different, interesting, engaging about your approach?
• Style (Any key stylistic elements in writing, shooting, audio, editing, etc.)
• What about the soundtrack? (Any music, narration, etc.—If so, who? what?)
• Who is working on the project? And what similar projects have they done in the
past? (Credibility of production team)
• How will this work be distributed? (Which markets, any distributor on board
• Project history or current status of project.
• Historical background or context of the story
• Who, what, where, when, how, why?

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