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[Solved] What's the difference between O.C, V.O or O.S?

James Bell
New Member

Can someone tell me the difference between O.C, V.O or O.S? Also which one is best to use if a person is talking who is not in the shot? I have been given conflicting advice from many screenwriters, frustratingly...

Topic starter Posted : 21/04/2021 2:12 pm
New Member

Hey James,

Great question!  From what I understand:

O.C. (Off Camera) - best avoided in features, but popular still in TV scripts.  Useful for a character who is in the same location / room - but not visible.
O.S. (Off Screen) - Much more popular than O.C.  Similar to the above (same location but unseen): useful when a character is audible from the next room ... or announcing their presence before we see them (the obligatory "he's behind you!" creepy mysterious villain).
V.O. (Voice Over) - Not just for Morgan Freeman, but for a character who can be heard and is NOT in the same location (eg. on the phone).

A lot of writers mix-up the O.S. and V.O. because 'Voice Over' just looks plain wrong for phone conversations(!), but that's the way it was intended.

Hope that helps!



Posted : 27/04/2021 8:37 pm
James Bell
New Member

Thanks Jordan, that clears things up nicely! The Morgan Freeman comment made me chuckle 🤣 If only i had the budget...

Will have to check out how to format phone calls, let's see how far this screenwriting rabbit hole goes!


Topic starter Posted : 14/05/2021 10:23 pm
Dan Davis
Trusted Member

Hey James,

Jordan has summed it up nicely.

When looking at formatting your phone conversations, you should look into doing an 'intercut'.

It's less common now to have a static split screen for phone calls. Instead, an intercut allows you to switch between characters without having to keep writing their location.

For example:


Character X

"Blah, blah, blah"


Character Y

"blah, blah, blah"


Now as they talk, on screen it would show each character as they talk. Allowing the visuals to follow the conversation. It's a really useful tool that will also save you valuable page count and 'white space'.

Posted : 16/05/2021 3:02 pm
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