There is no magic formula for writing a film treatment format. Format the film treatment according to your target audience. There are two main audiences, the audience that will ultimately see the film, and the person or persons in the audience who will initially judge its merit. In addition, the executive will seriously consider how well the entire movie will be liked by the audience.
The following elements of the film treatment format were considered:
• Name and font size, spacing
• Page numbering
• Treatment duration
• Quotation marks
• Character names
• Information contained on the first page
Font: Adopt an easy-to-read font in the film treatment format. Most well-established producers prefer Courier New, 12 point, although Times New Roman or Arial will also suffice. Don’t indent paragraphs, just include a double space between them. The single space is used everywhere.
Language – Use the present tense at all times and write in the first person. Use powerful words that convey a lot of meaning. Make the reader feel like they are watching a trailer for the script and not reading a treatment. Write in paragraphs as opposed to hyphens which follow a defined structure. The treatments reflect the tone of the script, be it humorous, romantic, ironic, etc. The film’s treatment format requires each paragraph to be short and light.
Page Numbering: The page number should appear as a header in the upper right corner. The first page is left unnumbered.
Length – Ideally, the length of a treatment should not exceed 15 pages. The accepted standard is 5 to 12 pages. There are variations on this depending on the type of treatment. A drama can be longer, while a comedy is shorter. It all depends on how much detail you would like to include, which in turn depends on the purpose of the treatment.
Quotes: Unlike hyphens, quotes are used to display dialogs in treatments.
Character Names: The first time a character name appears, it must be in all caps.
Margins: Like a script, a film’s treatment format also requires that it be written on 81/2 x 11-inch three-hole punched paper. The top and bottom margins vary between 0.5 and 1 inch, the left margin between 1.2 and 1.6 inches, and the right margin between 0.5 and 1 inch. The extra inch on the left hand side is to give a balanced look to the print. There are no hard and fast rules regarding margins.
Binding: The three holes are used for nail binding.
First Page – Should contain vital information such as a working title, author name and contact information, WGA number, a log line, and the total number of pages.
Executives are busy, so keep the discussion short and include only all the key points. Don’t go into unnecessary details. A couple of carefully chosen words will be enough to get the story across to these people. In case you’re planning to use it as a roadmap or for a friend you’d like to involve, be as descriptive as possible, without being too strict about following established industry standards.