How to write a top notch treatment

By Sophie Robertson

You’ve spotted an intriguing brief on our website and you’ve got an idea that’s going to rock our world. So what’s next? The killer pitch. One that’s going to sell you and your idea, stand out and persuade our client that they need to commission your film straight away.

Reviewing a treatment is one of the best parts of our job and we see a lot of them, in all shapes and sizes. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes an attention-grabbing treatment (like most things in the creative industry, it can be subjective) but, since we read a fair few every week, here’s some friendly advice from us to you.

Read the brief.
Okay, this sounds obvious, but it’s so important to make sure you read through the brief thoroughly and make sure you’ve answered it. Maybe even read it twice! If you’ve got any questions, there’s always a friendly MOFILM producer at the end of an email or Skype call ready to talk. The brief will always include what we would like to see in your response… this part is normally towards the end of the brief, along with creative mandatories. Don’t skip it! Let the brief be your guide.

Get to the point.
However tempting it is throw everything but the kitchen sink into your document, the truth is a 30-page treatment with even the best idea hidden on page 24 isn’t going to work in your favour. We want to read the first couple of pages and instantly understand your vision. So, explain your idea as succinctly as possible – think of it as an elevator pitch. You can go into more detail later on, but make sure you get the core idea upfront and distilled into a paragraph or one-pager. Use great headings to break up the rest of your treatment and to signpost all the key elements for us as we read on.

Keep it good looking.
Let’s be honest: a premium, professional-looking treatment is half the sell. The style of your document represents you as a filmmaker and if your treatment is well put together then it tells us (and the client) that your film will be as well. We love presenting a slick treatment that has clearly been pored over by you. Imagery is king and not only gives us an insight into your filmmaking style but also how you want the film to look.

Make it personal.
I know we just said to keep it professional but also remember it’s a creative pitch. Don’t lose your artistic flair, and make sure your personality shines through. Sometimes, we can present a large number of ideas to a client during a meeting, so make sure yours stands out not only because of a killer idea but also because of the person who’s behind the camera.

Be your own curator.
It can be tempting to send in all 10 of your ideas, just to get something to stick, but you’re actually diluting the strength of the very best ideas you have by burying them. We typically have a lot of ideas to get through so just send us your very best, most awesome, favourite ideas – the one that nails the brief. If you really can’t decide between a couple then, of course, we’ll take a look at both.

Show off your experience.
As well as your showreel, please try include the most relevant work to the brief. If the brief asks for documentary experience, make sure you include this in your submission. It’s all very well creating a beautiful treatment, but we need to believe you can deliver the film you’re pitching. It’s sometimes worth knocking up a brand new reel tailored to the project you’re pitching for. This really will make you stand out… promise!

And that’s it. Simple, right? If you’re now feeling inspired, head over to our live projects page to see if any of our current briefs take your fancy.


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