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Writing a Video Treatment

When creating a video project (particularly for a client), one of the best of the things you can create is a treatment. The treatment is considered a standard part of the development cycle for most film and television productions. The truth is that all kinds of video producers can benefit from creating a treatment.

The goal is to write a single document that defines the videos concept and summarizes the creating approach to be taken. Usually this can be as short as a single page. The best part of making a treatment is that is formalizes the creative process for the video producer. The major benefit here is that the document can then be shared with others as you work with other creative professionals, get approval from a client, or even seek funding or approval for the project.

I recommend the following approach to developing a treatment:

  1. Define the Goals and Set Parameters. What is the core message you are trying to convey in your video. Who do you want to watch the video? Whats the desired outcome youd like to create (volunteering, purchases, political change, or a good laugh?) Whats your budget and how long will the video run.
  2. Whats the Concept? You’ll want to be able to quickly summarize the theme and objective for the video. Describe to others the core message and frame its delivery method.
  3. Whats the Approach? Nows the time to lay out the specifics. This is generally a narrative summary of the journey the audience is going to take. In a way, it might resemble a book report you wrote in school. A clear summary that reveals all of the important details which will be presented to the viewer. Describe specifics that will elicit response by the audience including music choice, shooting style, and editing approach. Describe the emotions you will solicit along the journey and how the audience will feel at the videos end.

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