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Film Treatment or Scriptment, What is the Difference?

Updated: Dec 22, 2023

A film treatment and a scriptment are both key documents used in the process of developing and pitching film projects, but they serve different purposes and contain varying levels of detail.

Film Treatment

  1. Definition: A film treatment is a concise, narrative summary of a screenplay or a film project. It's more detailed than an outline but less detailed than a full screenplay.

  2. Length: Typically, treatments range from a few pages to about 20-30 pages. They are meant to be read quickly, giving the reader a clear idea of the story and its major elements.

  3. Content: It generally includes the main storyline, key plot points, and descriptions of significant characters. It might also touch upon the setting, tone, and the genre of the film.

  4. Purpose: The primary purpose of a film treatment is to pitch a film concept to producers, investors, or studios. It's used to sell the idea of the movie before a full script is developed.

  5. Style: Treatments are written in prose, similar to a short story, and are usually written in the present tense. They are meant to be engaging and evocative, painting a vivid picture of the film’s potential.


  1. Definition: A scriptment is a more detailed version of a treatment. It's a hybrid between a screenplay and a treatment, containing elements of both.

  2. Length: It is usually longer than a treatment, sometimes as long as a full screenplay, depending on the level of detail.

  3. Content: A scriptment goes beyond the basic narrative summary. It often includes specific scenes, extended dialogue, and may even suggest camera angles or shots. It provides a clearer picture of how scenes will play out.

  4. Purpose: Scriptments are used in various stages of film development. They can be a step between a treatment and a full screenplay, used to further develop and explore the story and its characters. They can also be used for pitching, especially when a more detailed visualization of the film is necessary.

  5. Style: The style of a scriptment is a mix between the narrative prose of a treatment and the technical formatting of a screenplay. It's more detailed than the former but less rigid and technical than the latter.

In summary, both a film treatment and a scriptment are tools for developing and communicating film ideas, with the treatment being more summary-like and less detailed, and the scriptment providing a more comprehensive, detailed overview of the project, including elements of screenplay structure and dialogue.

Want to view a real example from the writers we all admire? Check out this related article for more details and PDF examples from E.T.2 and The Shining. Read More...



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