Knowing that I had ten weeks to adapt a book into a TV Story Treatment and pilot. I like to know what I’m building, so I start with the show bible and lay out the following timeline:
Timeline for Writing a TV Story Treatment
Week 1- Read the book for story, characters, tone, and style.
Week 2- Read the book again to analyze how to structure a TV series from its content. Determine what characters and jokes that you want to use. I intend to stay as loyal to the book as possible.
Week 3- Write “The Character” section of the treatment. This section should explain backgrounds, social status, family situation, motivations, traits, peculiarities, likes and/or dislikes of the lead (aka Point-of-View) and supporting characters. Delve into details as they impact the story. Have fun getting to know the characters.
Week 4—Write “The Narrative” and “Time and Place” sections. These sections should delineate what happens, and when and where it happens, over at least three seasons.
Week 5—Write the Overview—a one paragraph pitch– and Pilot Outline. This outline goes through the scenes and beats of the pilot. The attention given to the outline should greatly ease the writing of the pilot.
Week 6—Proof, re-write, edit, proof again, then deliver to client.
Up next. I’ll provide the timeline and process of writing of the pilot