Pin Me

Using Video Transitions in Your Screenplay

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Misty Faucheux•updated: 6/25/2009

Here is a format guide for how to decide on and use video transitions in your screenplay.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Video Transitions

    Though the director and editor are going to decide the specifics of most effects and transitions for the film during post-production if it is important to your script there are ways to include it when you are writing. These tend to be in non-typical video transition areas that are unique to the story and style you have established in your screenplay. Here is a format guide for how to include a transition in your screenplay.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Transition Suggestion

    It is important to note that this transition in your screenplay is only a suggestion to the director. This means that it is up to the director in the end whether or not they actually want to use your transition. You should limit the number of transitions that you include so it does not appear as though you are trying to dictate everything to the director.

  • slide 3 of 4

    Purpose

    If you are going to include a video transition in your screenplay, it has to be unique to the situation. You should not just try and dictate conventional transitions to the director because it would be relatively pointless.

    Instead, you want to suggest things that would work well for the pacing and imaging that you have established in your screenplay. These can be things like a slow fade to indicate someone falling asleep or a sharp jump that happens when someone slams a door shut. Each one has to act as a character point that continues what you have started already.

  • slide 4 of 4

    Format Guide

    You will conventionally format these transitions by putting them at the end of the scene. The command of the end of the scene is placed then matched with a brief editing direction. This can mean that if an action in the scene is part of this transition, then you will link it with an editing direction. Example:

    Jake SLAMS the door.

    MATCH CUT:

    You go from the action to the type of editing cut it is. The action that initiates the cut is best put in capital letters, as is the editing direction. The editing direction is often put to the right of the regular direction, even as far as justifying it to the right. This can all be mixed with a variety of editing directions, such as FADE, CUT TO, CROSS-FADE, and others. Make sure to indicate on the next scene how it enters.