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Thinking about Writing Treatments Again


I went ahead and gathered all my old (short) treatments and posted them HERE. If I don't wind up writing new ones in the next month or so I may take them down, or more likely find a clean way to add them to the Other Writings page.


Quick history of this website. This started as a writing exercise of, believe it or not, writing a logline every day. It worked great! Whereas before the website I would sometimes struggle to come up with ideas for new screenplays, after a couple months I already had more ideas I wanted to write than I'd ever get around to, and was in good enough practice coming up with ideas that even if I lost everything I'd posted, I'd be able to come up with new ones no problem.

But I didn't stop there; I was also writing a short (~3 pages) treatment every week, and a longer (~10 pages) treatment every month. The idea being that I'd then pump out a full first draft every two months or so, and then polish that into a final draft over the next few months. So in theory, once I was up to speed, I'd be writing six screenplays, twelve long treatments, and fifty short treatments a year.

Obviously, that never quite happened.

I think the problem was that I tried to kick-start the rhythm by writing Shadows in a week so I could jump write to the editing portion of things. Trouble is, Shadows was bad - like, really bad - probably as a result of being written in a week. Go figure.

So instead of getting me into the rhythm, it kind of killed the rhythm instead, and I fell out of the habits. Stopped even writing loglines for a while. Never stopped writing, but stopped my little system.

Then a while later, I was trying to come up with ideas for a new screenplay, and realized I was having way more trouble than I'd used to. What had changed? I used to be able to come up with kickass ideas at the drop of a hat! Then I realized, duh: I'd stopped coming up with a new idea every day. I was able to come up with ideas easily because I'd been practicing regularly, but without the practice, I couldn't. So I started writing loglines again - not quite every day, but enough to stay in shape.

But then once I could come up with cool ideas again, I struggled to turn them into full screenplays, and I realized I needed to get back into the habit of writing treatments again, too. Except I didn't, I just buckled down and wrote instead. Which brought me to my current position, where over the last.. I dunno, two years? Three? I've written two screenplays I like (Distant and Good Enough for Me, which is approaching final draft now), and 20-50 pages of half a dozen other screenplays - all of which I like the core of, but none of which I really know how I want to finish.

So I think I'm going to start writing treatments again. Maaaybe just short ones every week, but if I'm smart I think I'll do long ones every month as well. Then maybe a first draft every other month, or honestly, maybe I skip long ones and do a full first draft every month? That seems like too much, but also seems like great practice, so I don't know.

I think about the Parable of the Pottery Class a lot. I think the smart money is on writing a whole lot of shitty screenplays vs. writing fewer good ones. But at the same time, writing a lot of shit requires being okay with writing a lot of shit, and that's a surprisingly difficult mental block to move past.

Which is probably why it's good practice. Ugh.

This post is mostly me talking things out with myself, but also, now you have an idea of what to expect. Or else of what to be disappointed in me about. We'll see what happens.