Breaking into the movie business may very well start with learning how to write a screenplay proposal. Besides having a good script, you need to be able to come up with a proposal, more appropriately called a treatment, that convinces a studio your script is worthy of being made into a film. This is where the screenplay proposal comes in. The proposal is you asking for a chance to create a screenplay. Writing a strong, convincing proposal can be the difference between working and not working in the movie business.
- Start with a concept or premise. Regardless of whether your proposing a one-time movie or a TV series, include in brief summary what the script is about (succinctly), the people in the script, describe a typical episode set up (if the proposal is for a TV series), and give examples of similar works. Be sure to format your treatment proposal with one inch margins and a Courier font. Write the treatment in present tense. The cover page should include the title of the proposed movie, centered and bold, with your name beneath it.
- Take an approach appropriate to the task at hand. If you're trying to sell your own screenplay and it's already written, begin your proposal with a synopsis of the screenplay's story. Tell the story in present tense, just as if you are writing the screenplay. Introduce the characters of the story briefly, within the context of the synopsis. Emphasize pacing as you tell the story. The synopsis should be as interesting as the screenplay itself. The proposal is your only chance to get a producer or film company to take a look at your screenplay.
- Outline your story fully. If you're proposing a story for a screenplay that hasn't been written, detail it in the proposal as thoroughly as you can. Since an idea isn't something you can claim as your own and copyright, you need to have all the bases covered in your proposal. The more detailed the proposal, the more you demonstrate your value as the one who can write the story.
- Let the story speak for you. Don't use the proposal to tell anyone reading it how great the story will be. Let them find out themselves, as they read the proposal. Make it exciting. Anyone reading your proposal should come away feeling as if the story in the proposal has to be told, and that you're the one who should tell the story.
- Include a cover letter with your proposal. It should briefly introduces who you are, describes any credits you may have, and briefly introduces your proposal.