questionmarkI was looking through your library section at the TV shows you’d written and noticed a few things that caught my eye. I’m trying to write a treatment/pitch for a TV series and, well, first of all:

In writing it out, is it called a “pitch” or a “treatment” or a “write-up”?

I noticed that all three of your “write-ups” were different in terms of style, as in there didn’t seem to be any sort of template or format to follow specifically, like you would with a screenplay. How do you know what to do technically? Even down to the fonts used, and what is in bold. Sometimes there are bullets.

I also noticed your page numbers: 1 of 5, 2 of 5…. and so on. How did you do that? Did you do that manually or is there some setting I am not seeing in Word that allows for that, because I couldn’t find it.

— Jeff Fradley Anchorage

answer iconTo me, an outline tends to be less prose-y and feature more bullet points, but there is no common consensus in Hollywood about what’s what. In features, we use “treatment” and “outline” and “beat sheet” interchangeably.

A “write-up” is generally a written version of something you’ve pitched. It could be long or short. A “leave-behind” is a written summary of a pitch that you literally leave behind after the meeting. 1

As far as page numbers, I’m a big fan of X of Y headers — I even do it on handwritten documents. They were probably more important back when we were faxing documents around, but they’re a good idea overall.

ops sample

Pretty much every word processor can do this kind of page numbering.

In Pages, Insert > Page Number. Then type “of.” Then Insert > Page Count.

In Word, use the header bar/ribbon thing to Insert Page Number, then “of,” then Insert Number of Pages.

In Google Docs, well. It’s hard to do in Google Docs.

  1. Leave-behinds are often a terrible idea, because this written version becomes the basis of all future conversations. And you’ve essentially just delivered free work.