Rachael Prior: Treatments & Outlines 5 comments

Screenshot of Rachael Prior's bio on the Big Talk website

Rachael Prior, Head of Development – Film for UK production company Big Talk Pictures, shares advice on how to write outlines and treatments for feature films.

Defining Treatments & Outlines

There is no real consensus on what constitutes an outline vs a treatment… – Rachael Prior Click To Tweet

Why Write Treatments & Outlines

For some writers, outlines are an incredibly helpful part of their writing process. – Rachael Prior Click To Tweet


What Makes A Good Outline

A good outline is something an exec can read in a matter of 5 - 10mins. – Rachael Prior Click To Tweet



You need to practice, practice, practice your shorthand for conveying character… – @RachaelPriorMBE Click To Tweet

So, there’s a skill to this. You need to practice, practice, practice your shorthand for conveying character… — Rachael Prior (@RachaelPriorMBE) February 28, 2015


One of the most important things to get into your outline is your voice. – Rachael Prior Click To Tweet





Looking for more information on treatments? Check out our ongoing series about How to Write a Treatment:

  1. What is a Treatment?
  2. Four Reasons Why You Should Learn to Write Treatments
  3. How Screenwriter Brad Wilke Writes Treatments
  4. How to Write Treatments for Non-Linear Stories
  5. How to Write a Treatment in Ten Steps
  6. Five Characteristics of an Effective Treatment
  7. How Long Should Your Treatment Be?
  8. Six Tips for Formatting Your Treatment (with sample treatments)
  9. Can You Copyright a Treatment?

Rachael Prior 2Rachael Prior joined Big Talk Pictures as Head of Development in 2009 having previously worked for 12 years as Development Executive at Working Title Films. Her recent development projects at Big Talk include Attack The Block, Sightseers, In Fear, Cuban Fury, and The World’s End. She is also a remarkably accomplished baker, one of the most generous and insightful film people on Twitter, and a recovering Mystery Twitter account (where she was once the artist formerly known as Mystery Brit Exec).

5 thoughts on “Rachael Prior: Treatments & Outlines

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      My pleasure, Mark. When you’re new to writing treatments, there just isn’t much good advice out there–which is why I’ve been aggregating all the good advice I can find here. Rachael is the absolute best and her advice is spot on. I find writers get so concerned about the task of presenting their story idea as a multi-page synopsis that they can lose sight of two of Rachael’s key points: 1. A treatment should be a brisk, easy joy to read, that creates an immersive experience akin to watching the final film; and, 2. A treatment isn’t a “summary” of the story, it’s a pitch document designed to sell the story. (I’m talking about a treatment written for other parties, not as part of one’s own prep, of course.)

      Shorter version: if you’re writing a treatment, take Rachael Prior’s advice.

      • Tina Harlow

        Thank you so much for posting this. And big thank you to the 2 points given by Rachael. Any more light you can shine on it would be great. Formating is of interest at the moment, also is there an example that can posted? As in something pitched and made? If I find these answers myself, I will let you know where I find them.

  • Mystery Failure

    A fascinating and elucidating insight. All the more intriguing given Big Talk don’t appear to accept speculative submissions……I guess they have enough on their plate, talented bunch of peeps, some good stuff come out of their stable.

  • Tina Harlow

    Okay, all my questions were answered here!! Amazing, wow. Thank you. Grateful. THANK YOU!!!

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