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May 18

How to Make a Director's Treatment

How do you sell your ideas?

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When it comes to pitching an idea that only lives in your head, how do you get clients on board? Obviously, they can’t take a walk inside your brain. Your presentation, then, has to give clients clear, concise insight into what you're thinking.

Whether you’re a novice or experienced video creator, you know what it’s like to share your concepts and ideas with potential clients. There’s an evident amount of pressure to knock the socks off of your potential client.

But if you’ve ever prepared and presented a video concept for a client, only to be rejected and sent back to the drawing board, there’s a good chance you’re missing an important piece of the process: a director’s treatment.

In this article, we’re going to cover what a director’s treatment is, how they’re prepared, and how they can help you land your dream clients and projects.

What is a Director’s Treatment?

A director’s treatment is a document that clearly outlines all elements of a film, music video, commercial, or TV pilot. It’s typically used by filmmakers, directors, television producers, or any other video professional pitching an idea.

A director’s treatment consists of the vision for the story, visual style, soundtrack, and characters, while communicating important scenes, story plots, and sequences to evoke a specific tone.

The director’s treatment is an important tool in the pre-production process to give potential clients a clear roadmap of what to expect from the final video.

It should be noted, then, that the director’s treatment is what helps seal the deal in your pitches.

An example Director's Treatment, showing the story with the visual.

Why Do You Need to Prepare a Director’s Treatment?

Like we mentioned earlier, you simply can’t open up your brain and invite potential clients to have a look around.

You could put together the most mind-blowing speech and romance the client with your vivid words, but at the end of the day, it won’t matter.

You’re a video creator, after all; visuals are your right hand (or left…we didn’t forget about you, lefties). Don’t forget this when you’re pitching.

The director’s treatment is what bridges the gap between your ideas and your client’s. It’s a vital piece of pre-production that clearly shows the client what you’re envisioning to get the both of you aligned on how to move forward.

The benefits of making a director’s treatment far outweigh the costs. It reduces friction when production kicks off, instantly draws your client’s interest, and sets you apart from other directors and video creators.

Plus, you’ll significantly reduce the chance of your ideas being rejected. Because before you’ve even turned on the camera, your client’s already gotten a pretty good glimpse into what you have in store.

Here’s How to Make a Director’s Treatment

Before you make a director’s treatment, you first have to know what the purpose of the project is. You can’t exactly pitch an idea without knowing what you’re working on.

When you’re in a meeting with a potential client, your main focus should be to unearth their goals. This meeting is meant for you to gather as much information from the client as possible so you can distill it down and synthesize it into a solution—AKA the director’s treatment.

You’ll want to ask questions more than anything. Some questions to ask include: who is the target audience? What message needs to be communicated? Why is this video important to the viewer?

Asking questions is such a crucial piece to creating a knockout treatment. You’ll come out of the creative brief with clarity of what’s expected, and avoid running back and forth from the drawing board.

In fact, there are three things you need to do before you design anything, and we cover them in depth in this video:

Pair Vivid Language with Beautiful Imagery

Your goal is to get the client to see what you see; to land on the same vision based on the creative brief. As a visual storyteller, the words you choose to convey your ideas have to be just as strong as the imagery.

The first thing you’ll want to do is get comfortable talking about your work. You’ll want to speak in a way that helps the images in your director’s treatment come to life.

We put together this free downloadable resource to help you broaden your visual vocabulary and communicate your ideas clearly.

Once you’ve prepared your director’s treatment, you’ll have to pair it with beautiful, high-quality images that guide the client through the story you’re trying to tell. These images are what we call styleframes. They’re not just random photos you’ve collected on the web; they serve a very specific (and important) role when pitching your treatment.

Styleframes help to guide the narrative you’re presenting to the client. They’re single frames that tell just as much of a compelling story as the words on the page.

If you want to get your director’s treatment signed off quickly, styleframes coupled with a strong visual vocabulary will help you do just that.

Styleframes give clients an inside look at what's to come from a video project.

Pitching Your Director’s Treatment

Now that we’ve covered the two core components to make an effective director’s treatment, it’s time to pitch.

Pitching is an essential piece to getting your director’s treatment signed and approved. Without a solid, air-tight pitch, it’s pretty difficult to sell your vision to the client.

While the director’s treatment takes care of bringing your ideas to life with a powerful story and imagery, the pitch should knock your potential client out of the park.

The pitch is your opportunity to get clients on board not just with your vision, but with you as a creative partner. It’s your chance to communicate your value while also selling your ideas.

When you master the art of the pitch, you’ll have a higher chance of working with your dream clients, and get your projects approved before you shoot anything.

Understandably, pitching is a pretty nerve-wracking thing to do. Selling ideas to clients isn’t exactly the easiest. Fortunately, we’ve got just the thing that will help you pitch with confidence.

Conquer Every Pitch With The Pitch Kit

Pitching is not just about presenting your ideas; it’s about presenting them in a valuable way. And The Pitch Kit will show you exactly how to do this.

The Pitch Kit is an all-in-one guide that will walk you through the steps to tackle the client discovery session all the way to the final presentation.

It’s a tactical toolkit that will teach you how to ask better questions to surface your client’s goals, objections, and expectations so you can deliver a pitch that wins every single time.

The Pitch Kit was created by Matthew Encina, Creative Director at Blind and Chief Content Officer here at The Futur. Matthew is an award-winning creative director who has worked with Fortune 500 brands, music artists, and video games.

Matthew has pitched, won, and directed projects for Xbox, Coldplay, and Playstation—just to name a few. The Pitch Kit is the result of Matthew’s 10+ years of experience in the industry pitching and proposing to globally recognized clients.

And now, he’s going to show you the ropes to developing a focused design process to pitch ideas that win.

The Pitch Kit will show you how to:

  • Pitch with confidence and clarity
  • Deliver air-tight pitches
  • Translate the creative brief into an actionable idea
  • Ask better questions in the discovery phase
  • Align your client’s goals with their customer’s needs
  • And much, much more…

Making the director’s treatment is only half of the battle. With a perfectly prepared pitch, you’ll be on your way to landing your dream clients time after time.

If you’re ready to pitch treatments that win, click here to grab your copy of The Pitch Kit.

Master the art of the pitch with The Pitch Kit.

Start Selling Ideas That Win

To get clients aligned with your vision from the get-go, you need to have a director’s treatment in hand paired with a perfectly prepared pitch.

The director’s treatment is a vital piece of the pitching process; it’s what will bring your vision to life and demonstrate your value as a creative professional.

When you finesse the art of pitching, you’ll have a proven method to delivering pitches that consistently win. You’ll be able to land more projects, land your dream clients, and grow confident in your ability to sell your ideas.

If you’re ready to present and pitch ideas masterfully, while increasing your value as a video creator, check out The Pitch Kit to get started.

Nathalia Iole

Nathalia is the freelance copywriter at The Futur. She works across various touchpoints to bring you closer to our content.