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

James Bell
(@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...

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Topic starter Posted : 21/04/2021 2:12 pm
jordantaylor
(@jordantaylor)
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!

Jordan

 

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Posted : 27/04/2021 8:37 pm
James Bell
(@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!

 

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Topic starter Posted : 14/05/2021 10:23 pm
Dan Davis
(@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 LOCATION

Character X

"Blah, blah, blah"

CHARACTER Y LOCATION

Character Y

"blah, blah, blah"

INTERCUT CHARACTER X/CHARACTER Y

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'.

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Posted : 16/05/2021 3:02 pm
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