DZ-71: Treatments & Loglines – Development Tools

How can I develop my plot before writing the screenplay?

Stu and Chas are joined by fan-favourite, Stephen Cleary, to NOT look at what makes great screenplays work — but what makes great  “short documents” work.  We draw on Stephen Cleary’s wealth of experience in developing work with writers, as a producer, as a script editor and as a former head of development.

This recording turned especially epic and so we have divided it into three parts that can be listened to in any order.

Part I explores the short documents and tools you can use to develop your story’s PLOT before going to script, including the Premise, the Logline, various synopses, character documents, and – of course – the dreaded Treatment… But also looks at development tools that aren’t written like: script reads, mini-shoots and animatics.

Stay tuned for Part II which delves into documents that develop your story’s theme and then Part III where we look at how to write short documents differently when your objective isn’t story development but rather selling your idea/project.


  • 00:00:00 – Intro 
  • 00:13:32 – The writing gym 
  • 00:19:32 – Animatics & Script Readings 
  • 00:28:08 – Telling your story out loud 
  • 00:31:07 – Why Treatments suck 
  • 00:36:49 – The Premise 
  • 00:44:43 – Exploring WRITTEN short docs 
  • 01:04:29 – What about non-hero’s journey? 
  • 01:14:36 – Using short docs to keep going 
  • 01:21:04 – Back to the Premise 
  • 01:24:37 – Moving from Premise to Logline 
  • 01:25:33 – Stay tuned for Part 2! 

Many thanks to all our patrons but particularly to Theis, Jack, Chris, Khrob, Sandra, and Matteo. They’re good humans.

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