Writing & Translation

How to Read a Script: Scriptwriting Terms, Phrases, and Cues Explained

By
Fiverr Team
|
November 21, 2022
Scriptwriting

Knowing how to read a script is essential when making a video or acting in a production. Understanding scriptwriting terms, phrases, and symbols will ensure your delivery is accurate. When you hire a professional script writer from Fiverr, proper formatting will be in place, so it's best to understand scripts before your big event.

This fundamental script reading guide includes a glossary of basic script terms and symbols that will ensure you fully understand what your hired Fiverr scriptwriter produces.

Why It's Important to Know How to Read a Script

Knowing how to read a script is vital so you can naturally deliver a message. Whether you're an aspiring actor or an influencer who wants to star in a series of helpful videos, knowing the right cues and scriptwriting terms will make your performance more polished and natural.

How Scripts Are Structured

Scripts are structured in the classic storytelling format of three or five acts. This structure can dictate what occurs in a 3-hour movie or a short 20-second commercial. The simplest structure contains three acts, but it can also expand to five acts.

  • Act 1: The Hook: You get the setup and exposition here.
  • Act 2: The Confrontation: We're introduced to the conflict. The rising action and pre-climax events happen.
  • Act 3: The Resolution: This segment includes the climax of the story, falling action, and conclusion.

In these acts, special terms, phrases, and symbols help actors know what to say, do, and where to go.

Terms, Phrases, and Symbols in Scriptwriting: Explained

Angle On

This cue draws attention to a person or object.

Back to Scene

This cue returns the camera to the previous scene when cutting between two locations.

B.G. or Background

This refers to any character, setting, or action behind the main action.

Beat

A pause in dialogue or action.

CLOSE

Always in caps, this cue emphasizes something the author wants the audience to see.

Close Up / (C.U.)

Instructs the camera to fill the shot with a particular subject.

Cut To

Cue to transition to another shot.

Dolly In / Dolly Out

Instructs the camera to move toward (in) or away (out) from a person or scene.

EXT or INT

Indicates that the scene is happening in an exterior or interior place.

Fade In / Fade Out

Describes a transition to or from total black.

Foreground / F.G.

This term refers to the story's main action.

Freeze Frame

Whenever motion suddenly ceases and freezes an image in time.

I/E (INT. / EXT.)

Indicates an action that happens in the exterior and interior and exterior of a place.

Insert

It is used whenever there is a quick shot at essential details of the story.

Jump Cut

A shot that captures the subject doing one action and then completing the same action in the future. It indicates the passage of time.

Match Cut

Directs when images from two scenes relate to each other even though they are different.

Montage

A series of shots that show the passage of time, such as a training montage in Karate Kid.

Narration

An offscreen narrator speaks over the scene.

Offscreen / O.S.

Describes when a character speaks but is not specifically on camera at that moment.

Pan

Instructs the camera to go from one object or event to another.

Point of View / P.O.V.

Used when a scene is shown through a character's eyes.

SUPER / SUPERIMPOSE

Always indicated in caps, SUPER places an image or words over another.

Voice Over / V.O.

Describes when the dialogue is only heard by the audience but not the characters in the scene.

Wipe

A screen transition that makes the image appear to be pushed off the screen.

Zoom In / Zoom Out

When a shot rapidly goes from a close to a wide shot or vice versa.

Hire a Scriptwriter From Fiverr

When you know the proper scriptwriting terms, you can easily follow a script written by one of our talented Fiverr scriptwriters. To learn more about how you can make the most of our talented freelancers, follow our Fiverr blog.

Fiverr Team
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