What are the differences between an outline, synopsis, and treatment?
What is an outline?
An outline is usually the first step of the process, establishing the structure of the story that the writer is creating. The specifics of the story typically haven't been thought of yet, so the outline should only include the essential story elements. In television, the outline is often referred to as a "beat sheet." In this format, scenes are broken down as "beats," or significant moments of the particular scene.
What is a synopsis?
Essentially an extended log-line, a synopsis is a three-sentence to a one-page description of the overall premise of the story. The sweeter and straight to the point the synopsis is, the more effective it will be.
What is a treatment?
A treatment is the short story version of the script. It can be written anywhere from two to thirty pages, although there is no real limit. It is rare that a producer will ask for a treatment, but if one does, it is crucial that it is written excellently. It is also good practice to write the treatment in present tense and in the active voice, similar to how a script is written.