Screenwriting Episode 04 - Treatment, Synopsis and Feedback
1. A synopsis is a one page document that gives the whole story of your film.
2. A logline is one sentence that sells your story to anyone you pitch it to
3. A treatment is usually your entire script written in prose form - like a book. It is different to a synopsis because it goes into more detail as to what happens in each scene. It’s a document that you usually send to the producer when you’re trying to get funds for your film or working with a producer.
Treatments help you sell your script idea to a producer or company. They are also brilliant for making your story and structure stronger.
As well as that, treatments are really good for sending to people for feedback. Scripts are hard to read, especially for people who aren’t used to reading them, so sending a treatment allows other people to read your story and give you their feedback.
Getting Feedback on Your Script:
- Send your script or treatment to friends and family. Try and meet other filmmakers or writers and ask them for feedback.
- When you get constructive criticism, LISTEN to the advice. One of the most common responses to feedback is to defend every part of your script. If you do that, there is no point in asking for feedback because if you justify every area criticised than you’re never going to make the script better. I have had so many people send me scripts and ask for feedback and then when I make one tiny point about something that doesn’t work for me, I get a response saying something along the lines of “well, I see your point but I feel that the character is acting this way because of this,this and this, or I’m confident this works.” No one is questioning whether it works, but whether it will come across to the audience. You don’t have to change your story for other people but if people are finding certain parts of your story hard to understand or they don’t get a character’s motives then listen to them. Look at that part of the script. It’s usually just a case of something not being explained rather than a bad story.
- Be ruthless with your own work. I meet so many new filmmakers who think everything they make is wonderful. It’s good to have confidence but if you think everything you make is great you’ll never get better, you’ll never try to be better. The best thing that ever happened to me artistically was I took Art A-Level at school. I had 3 art teachers and one day they asked us to paint a composition. I did and I worked really hard on it and I was so proud of the result. Then my 3 art teachers came and looked at it and then they started to rip into it. They said it was boring, that I had used the wrong colours. They told me I should rip it up and start again. I was heartbroken…and angry. But it taught me such a good lesson because I did redo it and from then on I began to learn that tearing your art up and remaking it will often make it better. Once you learn to release your work and stop hanging onto it like it’s something precious, you will realise that you have more control over your work. You can steal criticism from people, even when it’s hurtful and use it to make something beautiful, without feeling as thought someone else has insulted your art. In fact, I would suggest taking one of your projects, a film you’ve made or a piece of art and doing it all over again. Re-edit your film to be completely different, make it half the length. Re-paint a painting you thought was perfect. Watch John Cleese’s talk about creativity - it goes along with what I’m saying.
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