|Treatments can be anywhere from 8 to 10 pages up to 50 or more sometimes. It depends on how detailed the writer wants to be. Since treatments are generally just tools for a writer to flesh out and further development his or her idea & story, there is no right or wrong. This is a very basic example of what a treatment looks like. As you will notice, in this sample, dialogue is explained in prose form.
by Sally Screenwriter
Late afternoon. Smoldering. A dry wind pushes a tumbling tumble weed towards the horizon. There is no way to escape the heat except through death which for some would be a welcome relief. In the distance a small cloud of dust emerges on the horizon. A taxi cab cruises down the road it shares with single tortoise. As the cab approaches, the DRIVER snaps from his daze just in time to dodge the small reptile. The sudden swerve of the cabin awakens its only other occupant, DEREK HOPKINS. He gasps as if coming out of a bad dream. Derek rubs his strong square jaw, then runs his hands through his shaggy hair. He's handsome without even trying. His piercing eyes look out over the desolate land. He's seen worse - but not much. Derek asks the driver how much longer, but the cabbie only smiles and nods his head.
A metal spike is driven into the dirt. A worker ties off a flap that has been loosened by the wind. The flap is connected to the ragged and worn Big Top -- the center attraction of "Annie's Amusement O'Rama." As the worker finishes his task, he walks around to the front of the tent and surveys the entire park. Before him lays equally worn smaller tents which cover various booths that sell food or provide an outlet for the locals to lose their money in a rigged game of chance. Behind the tents is a small village of trucks and trailers which the workers and performers refer to as their "hell away from home."
The taxi cruises down the main street of the small Texas town - population, 22,000. Derek soaks in the new surroundings. The cab takes a quick turn at the end of the street and drives a few hundred yards to the amusement park. It stops quickly at the entrance creating a large swirl of dust. Derek exits. Hands the driver a few dollars and pulls out his one and only piece of luggage -- a large Army duffel bag covered with various patches from car racing, to truck builders, to rock groups.
STEPHANIE WINTERS, an attractive ticket taker, notices Derek entering. She greets him with a warm and inviting smile. Stephanie clearly likes what she sees. He explains that he is passing through the area and had heard the carnival might be looking for an extra pair of hands. Stephanie explains he would need to speak with the manager and that she'd be glad to personally escort him. Derek thanks her but just ask for directions to the managers office.
Derek approaches a rusting, dusty trailer. Duct tape holds the screen on the door. He raps on the side. HERB NORRIS, early 50's, rugged appears in the door. He is not happy to be bothered, but Derek persists. Herb decides to hire him on the spot. He'll have Derek help run the secret gambling tent -- to help add a little "atmosphere." Herb explains that he will still have to get ultimate approval from the owner, but at least Derek will have a place to sleep for the night regardless.
The next day, Derek is called in to meet the owner of the park who turns out to be his former girlfriend, ANNIE DUNCAN. He confronts her about selling his house, car, and valuables out from under him. She tells him he would have lost the money anyway -- gambling and drinking. Derek angrily tells her he doesn't need a job that bad and will continue on his way. Annie reassures him that she will not get him fired -- he can stay if they just avoid each other. Derek relents knowing that he desperately needs the cash.
And so on....