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Wipe To

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What is Wipe To in Screenwriting?

WIPE TO is a type of transition used in screenwriting and film editing. It is a simple but effective way to switch from one shot to another by moving or “wiping” from one side of the screen to another.

This transition can be compared to using a squeegee to wipe away one scene and reveal the next. WIPE TO is typically used to show a shift in time or place within a screenplay, indicating that there has been a change in location or time frame.

However, it’s important to note that WIPE TO transitions are considered outdated and are rarely used in modern screenplays.

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How WIPE TO is Used in Film

WIPE TO is a type of transition used in film to move from one shot to another by “wiping” the first shot away and revealing the next. It can be used to show a shift in time or place within a screenplay.

WIPE TOs are less commonly used now, but they were popular in older films like Star Wars. The transition is achieved by physically moving the camera frame or using editing techniques to create the wiping effect.

Overall, WIPE TOs help filmmakers tell their stories visually and add variety to their scenes.

Tips for Using WIPE TO Effectively

Use WIPE TO to indicate a clear shift in time, place, or perspective within your screenplay. Format it as “WIPE TO:” followed by a concise description of the new scene. Avoid overusing WIPE TO and make sure it enhances the storytelling rather than becoming a distracting visual effect.

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When to Use WIPE TO

WIPE TO should be used in a screenplay when you want to show a shift or change in time or place. It is an effective way to transition between scenes and can help the reader understand that something new is happening.

For example, if your story jumps from a day at school to an evening at home, you can use WIPE TO to smoothly move the audience’s focus from one location to another. Just remember that while WIPE TO can be useful, it is considered outdated and should be used sparingly in modern screenplays.

How to Format WIPE TO in a Script

To format a WIPE TO transition in a script, follow these steps:

  1. Use the term “WIPE TO” capitalized and aligned right on its own line.
  2. Place it either at the end of one scene or at the beginning of the next scene.
  3. If using it between scenes, insert a blank line before and after the “WIPE TO” transition to separate it from other scene headings.
  4. Indicate the type of wipe you want by describing it in parentheses after “WIPE TO.” For example, “(left to right)” or “(vertical bar).”
  5. Be consistent with formatting throughout your script.
  6. Remember that wipe transitions are considered outdated, so use them sparingly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with WIPE TO

  1. Using wipe transitions excessively in a screenplay can make it feel outdated and distract the reader from the story.
  2. Not considering the context and purpose of using a wipe transition can make it appear forced or unnecessary in a scene.
  3. Failing to format the wipe transition in the script properly can lead to confusion for the reader and production team.
  4. Overusing wipe transitions to signify time or place shifts can become repetitive and diminish their impact.
  5. Neglecting to explore other, more modern transition options can limit the visual storytelling possibilities of a screenplay.


WIPE TO is a type of transition used in screenwriting and film editing. It involves moving or “wiping” from one shot to another, denoting a shift in time or place. While WIPE TOs and other similar transitions are considered outdated, they were once popular and can still be seen in older films like Star Wars.

Understanding different types of transitions, including WIPE TO, is important for aspiring screenwriters to enhance their storytelling skills.


What does WIPE TO mean in screenwriting?

WIPE TO is a transition effect used in screenwriting. It helps to shift from one scene to the next in the screenplay.

How do I use WIPE TO as part of my screenwriting techniques?

In screenplay formatting, you can use WIPE TO as a visual tool for storytelling when moving between scenes.

Are there other types of transitions in screenwriting besides WIPE TO?

Yes, there are many transition effects like FADE IN, FADE OUT, and CROSSCUTTING that you can use for scene transitions in your screenplay.

Does using WIPE TO fall under montage or intercutting?

While it’s not totally defined as either montage or intercutting, it is possible to use WIPE TO during montages or intercuts to offer smooth and dynamic story flow.