Before you make something for someone or with their money, you need to find them and get the job. Here are some basic, but less obvious, tips for getting good clients:
The world of media production is a huge one and there are many potential “clients” who will require the services you provide. There’s always someone getting married or wanting to sell a home. Do your best in every project you put your name to and it shouldn’t take long for people to be seeking you out. In all of this, determine how much you want to be your own entrepreneur and how much you like someone else to bear the burden of responsibility at the end of the day. If you like to go home at 5:00 work for someone else. Like all things in life, there’s not much of a secret to it; lots of work brings lots of reward.
A PNA is the first thing we’ll talk about. It’s sort of a first step verification that the thing you’re wanting to make is worth making. This is more typical in a commercial-type setting. It is NOT a content document like a treatment, but it helps establish the reason for the program (something too many companies insufficiently consider):
In the process of creating something visual, you’ll often have to communicate your idea to other people. The visuals, lighting, mood, color palette; the soundscape, editing style, and the overarching message and feeling you intend to convey. There are various tools to help get your message heard, seen, funded and made. We start with the simplest.
One sentence that tells the uninformed listener what your project is all about. It’s the distillation of your entire narrative idea and it’s main arc into one, very descriptive, sentence.
The idea here is that you need to know your story well enough to convince someone, in a short space of time, that they should care about it as well. If you stumble across a generous billionaire movie producer on the elevator, how do you pitch your story in the two minutes before he gets off?
“Treatment” and “proposal” are loosely-defined terms which you’ll hear many people use interchangeably. As a generalization, a “proposal” might include more details on the scope of the project, its financing, execution, and the environment it serves, while a treatment is usually a more visual document with a focus on conveying creative intent related to the actual content of what’s being produced. For our purposes, we’ll associate the term “proposals” with the documentary world and the term “treatments” with the commercial one. The most important lesson is to customize your treatment and/or proposal to the specific needs of your audience (often whoever is providing you funding). For this assignment, we’ll merge the principles discussed below as you create your group “proposal”.
The world of commercial program development will employ many of you. The process varies depending on your location and the scale of your project, but these ideas will give you a good foundation of the process. If you’re working in-house as a media specialist for a company, they’re likely the one’s coming to you with the ideas. In this section we’ll look at options you have for pitching your take on a creative project to an actively-searching ad agency or client.
A film treatment is sort of an expanded pitch, communicating visual and story features of the narrative and focusing on a cliff-notes version of the highlights.
A film treatment (or treatment) sits between scene cards (index cards), which are often used to first outline the structure of a film, and the first draft of a screenplay for a motion picture, television program, or radio play. It’s something like a condensed script. You tell your story in screen order, in present tense, with all the main plot points. Do so in a way that really shows the reader/viewer what is happening. I advocate making a treatment with some sort of visual element as well, though it’s not always essential. In the commercial world, a treatment is a detailed sort of outline that takes the viewer through the entire idea for the commercial, communicating both visual style and thematic content along the way. Communicating the specifics of who is involved in your story, what their narrative arc may be, and the style with which we’ll experience this journey can all be touchstones of a well-produced treatment.
The ad agency will solicit bids from directors. The directors give the agency a written and visual presentation which convey’s their creative vision. That presentation is called a “Treatment”. Another useful term is that this is the “Minimum Viable Film”. This is the most affordable, quick and useful way to create your story and convince others of your vision before a script is even written.
It’s a visual and thematic idea of how the program will appear. Written before the script. This is the first talking point on what the actual content of the media will be once you’ve done your PNA. It gets everyone s on the same page (important in the collaborative world of film). It also gives investors confidence in the project. Find out the form of treatment preferred by whomever your submitting it to. You’re trying to convey the story and your approach. Write in present tense like a fictional script, tell us what’s happening and what is being shown as it pertains to our understanding of the story’s structure.
“In the ad world, a treatment is used to woo the creatives, account people, and agency producers—convincing the entire gang that the potential director (or production company) is the right person for the job. A treatment is practically used the same way in the Hollywood studio system.”-NFS
“A treatment is a well-designed mood board.”
Examples of Treatments
We’ll take many of these treatment-related ideas and use them to craft our own project proposal. Here are some pointers:
“Fair Use” is the component of U.S. copyright law that allows you to use another copyrighted work without permission. There are many good sources of information on the internet, but here are a few big things to remember:
In the case of content posted to YouTube, it’s worth remembering that you pay nothing to post on a public platform, but Google bears an enormous litigation risk as the distributor. Given the scale on which YouTube® operates, don’t expect them to care about you or listen to your argument that your content complies with fair use should you receive three copyright strikes and have your channel shut down.
Here are a couple great resources on fair use: