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Fade Out

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What is Fade Out in Screenwriting?

Fade Out in screenwriting refers to a transitional effect that indicates the end of a script. It is a gradual transition from one shot to another, where the image slowly fades out and disappears from the screen.

There are other types of fade transitions as well, such as fade to black, dissolve to, and fade in.

fade transition is a special tool in screenwriting. Screenwriters use it to shift from one scene to another or to end the script. In a fade out, the film’s picture slowly turns into black space.

This tells the audience that the story has now ended. It brings calm and lets people know that their journey with the characters is done for now. A sister transition is a FADE IN which starts off as black but brightens into an image or scene at the start of a movie or a new part of the plot.

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Types of fade transitions

There are different types of fade transitions in screenwriting:

  1. Fade In: This transition is used at the beginning of a script or scene to gradually bring an image or scene into focus.
  2. Fade Out: As mentioned earlier, this transition is used at the end of a script or scene to gradually move from an image or scene to black.
  3. Dissolve To: This transition involves one image fading out while another fades in simultaneously, creating a smooth and seamless transition between scenes.
  4. Match Cut: This transition connects two different shots by linking similar visual elements, creating a visually striking and cohesive effect.

Examples of fade transitions

Fade transitions in screenwriting can be seen at the beginning or end of a scene. One example is a “fade in,” which gradually brings an image into view to start a new scene or film.

Another example is a “fade out” or “fade to black,” where the image slowly disappears, often used to signify the end of a story. These transitions help create smooth and visually appealing shifts between scenes, enhancing storytelling in films and TV shows.

How to Use Fade Out in Screenwriting

To effectively use fade out in screenwriting, it’s important to understand when and why to incorporate this transitional technique. Fade outs are typically used at the end of the script, allowing for a smooth transition between storylines or conveying a sense of closure.

Unlike fade to black, which implies an extended passage of time, fade out signifies the conclusion of a particular scene or sequence. Proper placement and adherence to formatting conventions are key in using fade out effectively in your screenplay.

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When to use fade out

Fade out is used in screenwriting when you want to indicate the end of a script. It signifies that the film has reached its conclusion.

It’s important for proper screenplay formatting and storytelling to understand when and how to use fade out effectively.

Fade out vs. fade to black

In screenwriting, both “FADE OUT” and “FADE TO BLACK” are used to signal the end of a scene or the conclusion of a film. While they are similar, there are subtle differences between the two.

FADE OUT is used to indicate the end of a script. It gradually transitions from the current scene to black, creating a fading effect.FADE TO BLACK is often used at the end of a film to signify the conclusion of the story. It implies a strong sense of finality and closure.
In screenwriting, every transitional instruction ends with a colon, except for transitions that end with “OUT,” like “FADE OUT.”Even though FADE TO BLACK can also indicate the end of a screenplay, it can sometimes be used in the middle of a script to signify a significant passage of time or shift in the story.
The term “FADE OUT” is typed at the right margin and is punctuated with a period, indicating the end of the screenplay.FADE TO BLACK is also typed at the right margin and ends with a period, but its usage might be more specific or dramatic in the context of the script.

Both transitions are vital tools in a screenwriter’s repertoire, helping to create smooth and visually appealing transitions from one scene to another, or to signify the end of a story.

Screenplay Formatting for Fade Out

Properly placing the fade out transition in a screenplay is crucial for effective storytelling. Learn about the formatting conventions and guidelines to make your script stand out.

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Proper placement of fade out

The fade out transition in screenwriting should be placed at the end of your script, typically after the final scene. It indicates that the story has come to a close. The term “FADE OUT” is typed at the right margin and followed by a period.

This placement helps signal to readers that there are no more scenes or action to follow. It’s important to use it correctly so that your screenplay follows proper formatting conventions and effectively communicates the conclusion of your story.

Formatting conventions

Formatting conventions for fade out in screenwriting include:

  • “FADE OUT” should be typed at the right margin and punctuated with a period.
  • The term “FADE OUT” is typically written in capital letters to indicate it is a transition.
  • It is important to use a transitional instruction, such as “FADE OUT,” to clearly signal the end of the script.
  • In screenplay formatting, it is essential to follow industry standards for transitions like “FADE OUT” to ensure clear communication with readers and production teams.


In conclusion, “Fade Out” is an important term in screenwriting that signifies the end of a script or scene. It creates a smooth transition from an image or scene to black, adding visual appeal to the storytelling.

Understanding how to use fade out transitions and incorporating them properly in screenplay formatting can enhance the overall impact of your script. So remember, when it’s time for your story to come to an end, don’t forget about the power of the fade out!


What is FADE OUT in screenwriting?

FADE OUT is a screenwriting transition used in the film industry that signals the end of a film.

How does FADE OUT work?

In screenwriting terms, FADE OUT works as a scene transition. It tells the reader that the script has concluded.