Screenwriting : Pitch Question - "We meet..."? by Becky Fink

Becky Fink

Pitch Question - "We meet..."?

Hi, everyone. I'm working on my first written pitch. I've heard mixed reviews about including "We see..." in screenplays, but what about pitches? Like in setting the stage at the beginning of the overview section -- "We meet Rachel on the worst day of her life," and then briefly tell the story. Or should we steer clear of the we's to avoid offending anyone's personal preference? I know you can't please everyone all the time, but I just thought I'd check to see if anyone has any strong feelings on the matter. Thanks in advance for your help!

Craig D Griffiths

I use “we see” if it is an obvious call out to something we see that the characters do not. If it is just an establishing shot I don’t use it.

Think of it as salt. It can make something taste good but too much and it is ruined.

Dan Guardino

The reason so many people say don’t say “we see” in a screenplay is because if it is on screen they will see it without the screenwriter saying so. There is nothing wrong with saying it in a pitch because nobody will see your pitch on film.

Christopher Phillips

Is this a one page written pitch? I'm curious about the level of detail you need in the pitch.

John Day

I agree with Dan. It works fine in the pitch.

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

Nothing wrong with it, but your summary should still be written to be active and engaging. Telling the story in the moment. "We meet Rachel on the first day of her life." doesn't have the same zing, at least to me, as, "It's the worst day of Rachel's life."

Kacee DeMasi

A written pitch is more detailed oriented. Stage 32 only allows 2 page written pitches but the majority of other producers not on stage 32 usually like a max of 5 pages written pitch. If you are not going to be verbally doing your pitch then in reality your pitch can contain the same elements as your Bible or Look Book. Best of Luck

Bill Albert

You really have a lot of ground to cover for the 2 page length. Nick has a really good example of the storytelling. Another thing to keep an eye in is repetition. Sometimes it will happen between character and story descriptions just be aware of it.

Pidge Jobst

No problem in a pitch documeny, but this did bring attention to just how rigid and format-ruled screenplays are. A nice alternative (in screenplays) to "WE SEE John being anxious"... is: "This is John, displaying typical anxiousness..."

Jim Boston

Becky, I used to use "We this, we that" from time to time in scripts...but Stage 32 helped break me of that.

Dan MaxXx

Don't think it matters. These pitches are about education. So make mistakes, get feedback & learn from failure. So when it's a real pitch with $/a job at stake, you can take all lessons learned and ace it!

Christiane Lange

I am just reading a fantastic script of a film that just wrapped. It uses "we see" a couple of times. I think the problem with "we see" is not so much the phrase itself, but that it often opens an excessively long description that is not necessary. Scott Frank uses "we see," and he is not exactly a shabby screenwriter.

Alexander Merelo

I don't think there is a problem in using 'we see...' if used sparingly and adequately. The same can be said of acronyms and terms like ECU, FAVOR ON, b.g., POV, etc. Use them in moderation, like you would use salt and pepper on your favorite dish.

Nick Assunto - Stage 32 Script Services Coordinator

Just to harp on this in general, because it's such a silly topic of debate among the writing community, there is really no problem at all with "we see" or "we hear" except when you're trying to get past the people who think these things are big no nos. If you submit a script that uses those phrases to a big screenwriting contest, your inexperienced college reader will roll his eyes and reject your script because he was told it was a no no. Personally, I think it's lazy writing, but at the same time who cares what I think, screenplays are meant to be on screen.

The irony of the situation is every professional writer out there will tell you it's okay to use "we see" and "we hear", or break any other "rule" for that matter, but they've already broken into the industry, they don't need to get their scripts past college kids interning at a production company or agency. I don't know where it started, how it spread so fast, but in the end I just tell everyone to try to find a better way to phrase it. It's boring, redundant, and repetitive anyway. Almost every action line that uses them will read exactly the same if not better without those two little words.

Becky Fink

Thanks, everyone! I agree that the screenplay and the pitch are different animals in terms of the "rules" people suggest you follow. I think I have something pretty decent (I mean, I would request a read), but since it's my first pitch, I'm just going to see how it goes and rework it if it doesn't succeed. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Thanks again for taking the time to respond! I've learned a lot from lurking in this lounge, and I really appreciate everyone's knowledge, and hopefully I'll have experience to share one day. :-)

David Henderson

I like the adage, "First learn the rules, then break them"

Barry John Terblanche

We see. We hear. He did. ~ It shows the writer (be it a newbie or pro) took the easy way out. Did not take the time or effort to write it correctly. It shows laziness! To write such in your action line is a double-take, in that your action line is visual. So, don't say; we see him run. Dan, spelled it out well. Don't tell us, we see or we hear... Cause we do just that in the cinema.

E. Lamoreaux

Hi Becky. I never use "We meet" when I write pitches. The synopsis should be straightforward (i.e. "this character does something" and "this event happens") like something you would read on IMDb or Wikipedia pages for films. I do use "we" in my actual scripts but only sparingly, specifically for describing camera shots.

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