A treatment is a brief synopsis of your idea and how it is suited to television. It is not a script. It is usually about 1-5 pages in length, written in persuasive and snappy language. No lingo about 'smash cuts' or 'three frame dissolves' - you haven't shot it yet, much less edited it, and if you are not a professional producer, jargon will only embarrass you. Your treatment is what your Development Executive will use as a guide when he/she pitches your idea to his/her bosses. So edit it and rewrite it until it's perfect.

Samples for television treatments can be found in books like Writing Treatments that Sell, or on websites like this and www.donedealpro.com. For further guidance in preparing your ideas for a pitch, you might want to check out courses offered at local colleges, or through associations such as IMAGE in Atlanta, BFVF in Boston, or American Women in Radio and Television nationally.

Once you've written your treatment, register it with the Writer's Guild of America. You do not have to be a member of the union to do it, and it'll only cost you $20. Registering your idea will prove that you had the idea first if it's ever questioned, and it'll protect you from having other people steal it. As an added bonus, the WGA registration number on your cover page is a subtle way to show that you're a pro who knows how to play the game. Details like that really help.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW pitch a TV show?