The first workshop in the Introduction to Screenwriting series is now available as a downloadable pack under Resources

The Terminator treatment

The 'James Cameron Treatment' of The Terminator with notes.

The Script

The Terminator Treatment (PDF).


Here we present a rare and interesting document.

James Cameron is well-known for his long and detailed film treatments. While most writers would consider a treatment to be anywhere between one and three pages in length, Cameron writes them almost as novellas, dozens of pages long. While his approach is atypical it is tremendously instructive because it affords us the opportunity to see how his understanding of the film is constructed and then is delivered.

The Terminator is a wonderful film, and well worth studying, but having the opportunity to read the treatment alongside the screenplay, especially a final shooting script, gives us the chance to watch the entire creative development of the tale. ByTheLens is delighted to present these two documents together and a full copy of the shooting script can be found here:

The Terminator Screenplay.

The Terminator is also the subject of an act breakdown on this site. If that's the thing you need then check it out here:

The Terminator in acts.

"There's this Ryan Gosling quote that I steal all the time--I watched an interview with him in Cannes--and he said picking roles is like listening to songs on the radio: There can be a lot of really great songs in a row, but then one comes on that just makes you want to dance."

Emma Stone