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Monday, August 10, 2009

The Treatment

As photographers morph into the world of motion-picture video, presenting a client with a brief but complete description of the project, whether still photography, video or both can mean the difference between getting the gig or missing out

A Commercial Example

Below is an example of the treatment for the breast cancer awareness PSA. You can see the corresponding video at loulesko.com/2009/04/25/im-a-ten-year-old-director/.

OPEN ON A BABY’S hands playing with crib toys as the camera pulls wide to reveal the baby in the crib, then fade to...
A YOUNG GIRL with blond hair on the lawn of her house looking up into the camera, holding out her hand proudly displaying her age as three. It’s a beautiful day and she’s in the open shade of a large tree. The camera does a medium-slow move as if moving on from the girl to...
A HIGH-SCHOOL TEENAGE GIRL throwing the camera a kiss and smiling while she’s walking away from camera down a high-school hallway. She’s flirting with the camera as if the camera was a teenage boy. She walks away into a blur where we fade to...
A COLLEGE SWIMMER in a swimming pool in bright sunlight. She has just won a race at a swim meet and she high-fives a fellow swimmer in the adjoining lane of the pool. She then turns to the camera and pumps her fist in excitement. The camera continues its slow pan across the scene where we see...
A YOUNG MOTHER clapping her hands in encouragement of her DAUGHTER riding a bicycle a little wobbly, just out of focus in the background.
FEMALE NARRATOR VO (voice-over): “For all the ways that we use our hands...”
We fade into a GRANDMOTHER reaching out to her GRANDDAUGHTER who’s smiling and skipping toward the grandmother. It’s a sunny day and they’re walking on a tree-lined street in a neighborhood. CUT TO a TIGHT shot of the hands connecting.
FEMALE NARRATOR VO: “...to communicate to the world around us...”
The camera pulls away as if to indicate that we journeyed through the life of a woman, from being a child to being a grandmother, and now we’re leaving. Fade out to...
A WOMAN with her back to us, topless, giving herself a breast self-examination as the camera slowly circles around to reveal what she’s doing.
FEMALE NARRATOR VO: “...take a minute to send a message to yourself.”
CUT TO: Final frame, final graphics.

As you can see from the video, the baby scene was cut in the final execution of the spot. Also, the dissolves with the mini-portraits of each character were suggested by the editor in postproduction. The tighter shots versus the location reveals as indicated in the treatment were decided as we went. Finally, the last scene with the young woman doing the self-examination was changed when we consulted an oncologist about the proper way to do the exam. Truth be told, today I would have researched the exam method before writing it. The way I did it is an example of a real rookie move.


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