Without characters there would be no such thing as a film or movie as some choose to call it, and you will quickly agree with me that every story in the world will require actors who must make it a point of duty to play the role of the character so as to interpret the story and make it as interesting to the audience as possible.
But the ability of an actor to best interpret the role of a film character must begin with how well the screenwriter was able to introduce the characters in their screenplay or script.
And as you can perfectly see, it is your responsibility as a screenwriter to introduce your characters in a way that will help the actors interpret their roles very well. And the best way to do so is to start such introduction in your film treatment before you set down to write the screenplay or turn it over to the person who will do so.
Therefore, this article will focus on helping you to learn how to introduce characters in your film treatment. But before I walk you through the necessary steps that will help you do so, I will start by answering a little question frequently asked by people about who writes a film treatment.
And if you will read this article to the end, you will also discover how many pages is a film treatment as well as the fonts used in writing a film treatment.
So without any further ado, let us get started with this article.
Who writes a film treatment.
A film treatment is usually written by a screenwriter who has the original idea for a film, drama, TV production or any visual project.
It is worth noting that in so many cases, the screenwriter is not the one who usually writes the screenplay which includes all the scenes and dialogues of any visual production. But the fact always remains that he is the one who has the original idea for the whole film.
Therefore he must be the one to write a film treatment which is but a multiple page synopsis that gives a brief description or details about any visual project like films, TV productions etc.
Now one of the most important aspect of a film treatment is the character introduction, so let me quickly move on from here to show you how to introduce characters in your film treatment.
How to introduce characters in your film treatment.
To introduce characters in your film treatment, you need to follow the following steps:
- Write out their names in capital letters.
- State their age.
- Describe their general outlook.
- Give your characters an occupation.
- Show the world or background your characters are coming from.
1. Write out their names in capital letters.
To make it easy for you to understand and identify each character you introduce in your film treatment, you must ensure you write their names out in all capital letters. In film production we call it all CAPS.
2. State their age.
Now when stating the age of your character, don’t be really specific about their particular age instead find an age bracket or range you are going to place them.
For example, instead of saying “a 30 year old guy emerges from the dark room” you can say “a guy in his early (mid or late) thirties is seen emerging from the dark room.
The reason you don’t have to be specific on your characters age is to enable whoever is going to shoulder the film production find a fitting place for any actor he prefers for a particular role in the production.
3. Describe their general outlook.
While introducing your character in a film treatment, you must ensure you are able to describe their outward appearance based on the role they are going to play.
For instance, if the character is a reggae or dancehall artist in the film, you need to help the screenplay writer and later on the viewers easily understand and identify him at first sight by describing him as wearing a dreadlock with a bloodshot eyes.
In addition to that, you cannot describe a Pastor as wearing a jean over a sleeveless polo because even in a casual outing it is very rare for Pastors to appear in such manner. So the best description here should be a Pastor appears wearing a suit and carrying a Holy Bible.
This will make it easy for anyone to identify him as a Pastor, even at first sight.
Character outlooks may also include their skin colour, hairstyle, the way they walk, talk, laugh etc.
4. Give your characters an occupation.
Many screenwriters usually fail in this regard, but if you want to make your story more realistic, you must ensure you give your characters an occupation when you are introducing them in your film treatment.
5. Show the world or background your characters are coming from.
Of course it is the world or background of your character that will influence their general attitude in a film.
And as a matter of fact, your story needs to happen in a particular world, and that world must be reflected in your character.
Especially if the character is just relocating to the particular world of the story, their attitude at first must aim to describe a different world they are coming from.
How many pages is a film treatment?
There is no specific number of page estimated or required for a film treatment and for that reason the total number of pages for your film treatment will depend on how you want yourself, a screenplay writer or a potential buyer of your script to easily understand what your story is all about.
Some screenwriter however recommend a 5 to 6 pages for a film treatment, but considering the fact that James Cameron is known to have pages that number up to 42 for his film treatment like that of the Terminator, it is not a crime on film treatment if you choose to toe the same line.
However, if you are writing your film treatment for a specific buyer in mind, it is advisable to reach out to them and inquire their recommended number of pages for a film treatment.
Fonts used in writing a film treatment.
Always se a contemporary Arial or Cambria font to write your film treatment. Cambria is the serif font that was used as a replacement for the Times Roman font which is seen as the most common default serif font.
While using these fonts, don’t attempt to cheat or reduce your font size in order to reduce your film treatment to 5 pages, remember there is no hard rules to how many pages your film treatment should be.