Script Treatments and Working Scripts
First you write a Script Treatment -- then you write
the Working Script -- the good news is that they are one and
the same, just formatted differently. I am going to describe the
Working Script first, because...
You have already seen a working script -- when
you went to the PR
Newswire page and read the script about workplace
injuries. Take another look at that page (click on the link in
this paragraph; when you're
finished you can simply close that browser window to return
here -- or you can use Alt-Tab to toggle back and forth).
You notice that the script is written in two columns
-- the column on the left describes whatever is seen
on the screen (the video) and the column on the right describes
whatever is heard on the speakers (the audio). That's the
conventional approach for working TV scripts.
Note that you don't need complete sentences in the
video column... you can condense the description, providing
just enough to communicate your point. You can use abbreviations
like C/U for close-up and VO for voice-over -- but you don't have
to. A working script can be very straightforward and commonsense
in its language -- you don't have to take classes in the
Television Department in order to write a video news release.
The working script will be used by the production team
to create a shooting script. The shooting script is much
more technical about camera work and timing -- it often breaks
shots down to the mumber of seconds each will take. The fact that
you've prepared a working script in two columns (audio +
video) will make it
easier for the production team to do their work -- and since they
can look at your working script and tell at a glance how many
interiors, exteriors, etc. will be involved, it will also be
easier for the production people to give you an estimate of time
and costs by looking at your working script.
So -- you're not a screenwriter -- how are you supposed
to write a working script? Is there some easy approach to
this? Answer: Yes, real easy. It's called a script
treatment and it's something you've been doing since the
first time you described that cartoon about the rabbit to your
A script treatment is nothing more or less than a
simple description of what's going on -- what you're seeing
on the screen and what you're hearing from the speakers. After
you plan your message, you'll "see" the video story in your mind's
eye -- your ideal TV news story resulting from your PR efforts.
Then, when you're clear on what you would like to see on the tube,
you just put it down on paper.