The Terminator: A film treatment

terminator.jpg I like the Terminator franchise and there’s some positive buzz about it in this house. I’m enjoying the TV show, I’m mildly excited for the new feature, and I’ve just paused a Netflix-powered rewatching of the original 1984 film.

The Terminator had a pretty straight-forward plot, but it was a successful suspense and horror show, with some rich backstory and some juicy time-travel stuff, hallmarks of good science-fiction.

A while ago, after seeing a teaser for the upcoming film, I did some poking around on the Internet, looking for the original’s script, and instead I came across James Cameron’s treatment, written in 1982. At 44 pages, it’s a quick read, but fascinating.

It’s the seed of the franchise, the tool that Cameron used to sell the first picture, and in reading the treatment, you can really hear the voice of the writer, something that you don’t really get when reading a full screenplay. I think reading things like this is useful to an aspiring writer, not just of scripts and screenplays, but to anyone who’s interested in finding out just what makes a story work.

And as much as you may dismiss the Terminator franchise as trite, it’s 25 years later, and it’s still very much a part of popular culture.


James Cameron’s Terminator Treatment (plain text)

Film Treatment - Wikipedia