A Transition indicates that we are, in some way, moving to a different scene or shot.
Some common Transitions are:CUT TO: PAN TO: FADE OUT. MATCH CUT: PULL BACK TO REVEAL: WIPE TO: DISSOLVE TO:
There are dozens more... but the important thing is this: DON'T USE THEM! Most of the time you don't need Transitions. Think about it. If you have one scene, then another, it's obvious that you're cutting to that scene. Otherwise, how would you get there. So why say "CUT TO:"? Now "how" you cut to get there is a different story. The second reason to avoid Transitions falls into the "Don't Direct It" category.
Again (and of course), there are reasons why you would undeniably need to use a Transition to achieve a particular effect (usually comedic or frightening) like:They walk off into the sunset.CUT TO:CLOSE UP of BOB's face. There's something odd about how he looks, his hairstyle, his coloring.PULL BACK TO REVEAL WE'RE:EXT. BIG CLIFF'S - DAYAnd we see that the man is actually hanging upside down from a bungee cord.
Get it. There, the Transition is an important tool. It would have been boring to read:They walk off into the sunset.EXT. BIG CLIFF'S - DAYBob hangs upside down from a bungee cord.
It's not even worth describing what the different transitions mean since they're all directorial phrases (you can find them in editing books and directing books) and since so many of them are obvious and part of our colloquial speaking. If you really need a Transition, type whatever you like to best communicate the effect you want.
There only two Transitions that you definitely want to use in every script: FADE IN: and FADE OUT. Start every script with FADE IN: and end every script with FADE OUT. (notice that it ends with a period, not a colon).
Transitions are 5.5" from the left edge. They are uppercase and end with a ":" except the last FADE OUT. The first FADE IN: is a special Transition that has the same left margin as your Action, 1.5" from the edge.
If the cursor is on a blank line, just press <Tab> <Tab>. This will take you past the Character Name location to the Transition location. Scriptware will pop up a list of Transitions. Like with all the other Scriptware lists, all you do is start typing until you've selected the Transition you want (usually one keystroke!) or typed a new one. Then press <Enter> and Scriptware will insert the Transition and get you ready to type Action (or Scene Heading, whichever you've told Scriptware you prefer).
Or, you can just type anything that's up to 4 words, ending in "to:" and Scriptware will automatically turn that into a Transition for you!