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How to Write Better Commercial Treatments

Tanner Shinnick

Writing a solid treatment is the key to landing your next big commercial or music video gig.

Cover image via Shutterstock.

Treatments are the most concise and organized way to relay your vision as a director to your client. A well thought-out and organized treatment will not only help you land your next commercial job but also instill trust in your client. Effectively organizing and presenting your thoughts and vision will inherently help you to create the best product possible.

Below are some of the key components of landing your next commercial or video with an amazing treatment.


Be Visual

This isn’t news, but filmmaking is a very visual art. Your treatments should reflect this by being very visual. From the beginning, your clients are looking for a visually appealing experience. This all begins with your treatment.

Sometimes we may fall into the trap of getting too wordy with our treatments. Instead of writing boring paragraphs that try to convey your creative vision, show your creative vision. You can do this by using reference frames from films or other commercials that inspired you. This is your opportunity to showcase the unique style and approach that you see for this project.

By providing your client with lots of reference images, you help them see your unique vision. As filmmakers, we constantly hear that showing is better than telling. The same principle applies to your treatment. You can make it as visually appealing as possible with good design. Personally, when I create a treatment, I use InDesign, but there are other great programs out there like Keynote or even Google Docs.

How to Write Better Commercial Treatments — Software
Image via Shutterstock.


Be Bold

The last thing your client wants is a boring video that doesn’t stand out. As a director, you’ll have strong opinions about the creative elements of the project. Be bold with your creative vision and stylistic approach, and be confident in those decisions. Use confident language when you write that showcases how you can bring these visuals to life. Avoid using a passive voice, and use an active voice instead.


Be Unique

It’s always wise to include a director’s statement in your treatment. A director’s statement is basically the cover letter for your treatment. This is the section where you can communicate why you’re the only person with the right credentials for the job. Most likely, you will be competing against other directors to land this commercial. This is your opportunity to relay your experience and what makes you the perfect fit.

Crafting perfect treatments is an art form in itself. While it isn’t the most glamorous aspect of the filmmaking process, it’s an essential component to creating professional work.

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