The Ultimate Screenplay Format Reference

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then we see ...

There are lengthy, often emotional discussions going on as to whether you could or should use ‘we see’ in your script or not. Read this blog article if you want to see some of the arguments: Top Ten Format Mistakes.

Those that are against it say it’s a weak way of describing what happens. And that it’s redundant, because you anyway should write only what can be filmed and then seen. So, of course, we see - why mention it.

Indeed, often ‘we see’ can simply be dropped from the narrative without causing any damage:

We see a huge, white bird fly across the complex and settle
on the temple.

Or you could write:

A huge, white bird flies across the complex and settles on
the temple.


The second version actually feels a bit more dynamic. Right? And it’s a few letters shorter, so not using ‘we see’ might even save you a line every now and then.

Does this settle the issue? Not really.

The fact is that many people love to write it, don’t mind to read it, some studios allegedly insist that writers use it. Another fact is that a lot of professional scripts use ‘we see’, sometimes extensively.

What now? It seems simple: some professional readers don’t seem to mind, but some others may flag your script ‘unprofessional’ when they find a ‘we see’.

So, if you don’t have a name in the industry yet and depend on the approval of a reader, the best advice is: No matter what they tell you, avoid it like the plague. If somebody requests it, use it enthusiastically.

Similar arguments are brought against the word ‘then’. Indeed it seems to weaken the description. Or not:

Jake takes the bat from the locker, then dashes out the


‘Then’ is not required, because the context makes the sequence of events obvious. What about the following?

Jake takes the bat from the locker, dashes out the door.

The second version lacks nothing that the first one has and it’s even shorter. Space is important, too.

Whatever you decide, keep in mind that The Screenwriter’s Bible advises against the use of ‘we see’ and ‘then’.

I feel similar about words that push what should be obvious from the context, like ‘suddenly’, for example. But maybe that’s just me.