Writing a script helps with content conciseness, clarity and massively impacts the quality of your final video. But you already know this.
Now, you just need to take the time and learn how to write a video script, so you can quickly get through this important step, and move on to the next one.
We summed up what we’ve learnt are the most important steps to keep in mind when writing a script for video production, along with some tips on how to make this process effective and efficient.
1. Title your video immediately
This is where a lot of people fail. If you don’t have a name for your video yet, you actually don’t have clarity around the most important aspect of your video production, i.e. what’s the video about?
Immediately nailing the content and locking in a video title will help you stay on track while outlining the structure and writing the text.
If you think your video doesn’t need a title, think again. Many times during our video productions, we meet clients who just want a “video for their business”, but don’t know exactly what they want to communicate. In this instance, we recommend taking a step back and giving the video a name.
A generic title such as “ABC Business Overview” is NOT what you should aim for. You should look for something more specific, here are some strategic video title examples:
- Our company’s beliefs
- Our services explained
- Meet our staff
- How we work
- We care about your safety
- We listen to your feedback
Think of a video like a blog post. You would never publish a blog post without a title. Same goes with your videos.
2. Storyboard, length, structure and pace
The simplistic approach of counting the spoken words to calculate the length of the video works for some types of production, but not for all. For a presentation, a review or an exposition, this approach will work fine.
So, you can take this approach if your video will be a spoken piece throughout the whole length, meaning that someone (one person or more) will be speaking uninterrupted the whole time, with no pauses. In this case, 600 to 800 words will fill a 5 minutes video, while a 250 word script will be ideal for a 2 minutes video.
On the other hand, if your video is going to be more than just talking, it’s worth considering drafting a storyboard, before the script, and in this case it’s appropriate to include notes about pauses and timings of each section.
Here’s a simple storyboard example for a service based business, where the video title is “Our services explained”.
1. INTRO SCRIPT (20 SEC)
2. COMPANY VISUALS (10 SEC)
3. LIST OF SERVICES EXPLAINED WITH GRAPHICS (20 SEC)
4. SERVICES VISUALS (10 SEC)
5. SERVICE 1 EXPLAINED IN DETAIL (30 SEC)
6. SERVICE 2 EXPLAINED IN DETAIL (30 SEC)
7. SERVICE 3 EXPLAINED IN DETAIL (30 SEC)
8. CLIENT’S SHORT TESTIMONIAL (10 SEC)
9. OUTRO SCRIPT AND CALL TO ACTION (15 SEC)
With the above structure and storyboard outlined, it’s now easy to start the script writing process for sections number 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 for a total of 155 seconds, i.e. 2.5 minutes.
3. Script writing process
A script is different from a blog post, you need to write about your topic in the same way you would talk about it. Here’s a few tips for better results:
- Read it out loud. While you write your script, read every phrase out loud to check if it sounds natural and conversational.
- Be direct. Choose your wording very carefully and script every single word, this will help with delivering the message more directly.
- Be concise. If you can deliver the same message with fewer words, do it. Audiences like to receive clear, direct and straight to the point information.
- Revise it. After scripting your words, read them out loud at once, and make some revisions.
4. Record it using a phone
After your script is written, do a test recording. For this, you can do audio only, so you get to test the pace.
If your video storyboard and structure requires you to take pauses, do it. While you read the script, you can have a timer on you and take the pauses that you have allocated for visuals. This way, your video will start taking the form of a pre-production test, and you can listen back to it while checking the length of the pauses and the pace of the content overall.
5. More revisions
After listening again to your pre-production audio test, you can make cosmetic changes such as:
- script adjustments
- storyboard changes
- timings adjustments
Maybe leave a day or two before checking back on the recording, so you can look at it with fresh eyes.
Also, consider involving someone else into this re-listening and revision process. Other people’s feedback and insights might be useful.
Turning a blog post or a webpage into a video script
Instead of creating a script from zero, it might be time efficient for you to start off with some copy that already lives within your content.
If you are thinking of turning a blog post, a web page or a brochure into a video, half of the job is already done for you, but you will need to take this into consideration:
- Adaptation: you will need to adapt the copy and turn it from a written piece into a conversational script.
- Structure: the structure of the blog post might not work for the video. While you can keep the content, you might need to re-arrange it for better video delivery.
- Content clarity: video requires more content clarity and conciseness than written content. Keep in mind that video audiences are more passive than readers, so you need to be extremely clear about what your video is about, and what the key takeaways are.