The Difference Between A Synopsis And Film Treatment.

The Difference Between A Synopsis And Film Treatment.

There is no way you are going to skip the writing of both synopsis and film treatment whenever you are writing film or TV script.

I believe you have come across both words before and seeking to understand them is the reason you have stumbled on this article and I promise to feed your curiosity by helping you to understand the difference between a synopsis and film treatment in the best simple way that I can.

As a matter of fact a synopsis is simply a short overview of your story plot which you can either use to pitch to your script to movie agents and producers in the hope of selling it to make money. A film treatment on the other hand is a longer overview of your script which is often written before the screenplay.

In this article therefore, I am going to carefully elaborate further on the differences between a synopsis and a film treatment and in the end will show you how best and when to use both methods of scriptwriting.

After reading this article, you will gain a better understanding and be able to use these methods to come up with a captivating screenplay.

And if you’re ready, I am so let’s get started right away.

The difference between a synopsis and film treatment.

The main difference between a synopsis and film treatment is that the synopsis is usually very short, not even up to a page while the film treatment is usually longer and may take more than 10 to 40 pages of writing.

The table below breaks down more differences between a synopsis and film treatment for you to better understand:

SynopsisFilm treatment.
1. A synopsis is usually very short, not up to one page of writing.1. A film treatment is usually long, and scriptwriters like James Cameron has been known to write more than 40 pages of a film treatment.
2. Synopsis usually consists of a short description of your plot, main characters, and the story world. It briefly tells the whole story from beginning to end in an easy-to-read sort of way. 2. Treatments includes a detailed description of important scenes, characters and locations but without dialogue.
3. Synopsis will allow you to use few paragraphs, or maybe a whole page, to describe the whole concept of your story.3. With a script treatment, you can use more pages explore your story concept to the fullest.
4. Synopsis are written after the whole script is done.4. Film treatments are written before the script.
5. You cannot sell a synopsis or use it to sell your script.5. A film treatment can be sold as well as used to sell a script. You can learn how to do so via the article: How To Sell A Film Treatment.
Difference between a synopsis and film treatment.

What is the purpose of a synopsis?

A synopsis my be defined as a brief description of a screenplay which will make people easily understand what your entire story is all about. Your synopsis must not exceed one page in length but include the main ingredients of your story.

Synopsis does not only apply to film and TV scripts because when you skim through every books and novels that has ever been written, you will see few paragraphs in the back that feels you in on what the book is all about. That is a synopsis.

Now ehen you are writing a synopsis, you must take the following points into consideration:

  1. Use a simple voice and tone you are using in the main script which implies sticking to the third person and present tense.
  2. Adding dialogue is not necessary unless you want to use it to draw attention to something you want to stand out in your whole story.
  3. Do not conclude your plotline in your synopsis, rather allow some room for some form of suspense by not revealing what actually happens at the end of your story.
  4. Ensure your main characters are easily spotted by making them stand out in your synopsis.

What is the purpose of a film treatment.

A film treatment is a detailed description of a screenplay which reveals the plot, main characters, the world of the story etc. When writing a film treatment, you have to go a lot more in-depth, because there are so many film treatments that have been discovered to exceed 30 to 80 pages on a 14-sized paper.

One important point to note about a film treatment is that it is usually written before a script or screenplay; and it is one of the surefire screenwriting format that can help you to sell your script.

When writing a film treatment, you must ensure you observe the following;

  • Ensure your film treatment has a title which is also going to be the title of your script.
  • Also include a logline in your film treatment.
  • Let the plot summary be very outstanding in your film treatment.
  • Ensure all your characters are given a special place in your film treatment based on the roles they are each going too play.
  • Make sure you outline your entire script in your film treatment, but do so in a story format without adding dialogues.
  • Write your film treatment in the third person and present tense just as you do in your synopsis, especially when you are describing the acts and characters.
  • After writing your film treatment, read it over and over again to discover plotlines and characters you need to rework or add to your story, s that when you will be writing your screenplay you will feel confident to concentrate on the dialogue and get the inspiration that will help you come up with more scenes that will help to make the story more interesting.

Final thoughts.

Don’t forget to keep it in mind that your synopsis should be written only when you have finished writing your script, and this means you should get started with your script writing journey by writing a film treatment.

If you have any questions or additional information about the differences between a synopsis and film treatment, please fell free to make it known via the comment section. An do not also forget to share this article in order to help a friend understand the difference between both screenwriting format.