How to write a video script that doesn't suck
How to write a video script that doesn’t suck
Get your script right and make the most of your investment
If you’re producing any type of video content, whether it’s filmed, animated or a piece-to-camera, you’ll quickly realise that the script can be the difference between converting your audience or having them click away.
When a script works, the finished video looks and sounds polished and engaging. It’s easy for the viewer to understand, with clear messages and a logical progression to the conclusion.
But while the finished product might seem effortless, it takes a lot to get it to this point. There’s a carefully considered process behind every video script.
If you’re thinking about writing your own video script, here’s our insider tips:
1. Start with a brainstorm
Your audience: Who is the video for? How much do they already know about the topic? What do they want to know? How will it affect or change their lives?
Your goals: Why are you considering video? Is it the best way to share your message? Should the video be a piece-to-camera, a screen recording or an animated explainer video? What do you want the viewer to really understand? And what would you like them to do after seeing your video?
Your budget: After considering the above points, do you have the time and money to do justice to your project? If you don't, perhaps look at other options or wait a little longer until you’ve got the budget you need.
2. Document your key messages
The video needs to have a clear, cohesive point. Too many messages or messages delivered at the last second are distracting and ineffective. What are the most important things you need to communicate? Then, which messages would be nice, but are optional to include?
3. Create a framework and a story
A strong story is essential to your video as it drives both the audio and visual components. Figure out the best approach to build awareness and understanding for the viewer. Are you presenting a solution to a problem? Are you stepping through a process? Each of the key messages needs to effortlessly connect and deliver the story.
4. Keep it short
Remember, a script needs to be voiced slowly and clearly. Plan on around 75 words per 30 seconds of video. It’s not a lot of words, but you’re looking to communicate a lot of meaning. Every word matters, so you need to be concise and clear.
5. Review your draft
Look for places that it doesn't flow smoothly, where the logic might jump or miss a connection. Look for words that are hard to say or understand. Find any cliches and jargon—these need to come out. Look for words that are bland and see if they can be replaced with a word that’s stronger and more specific.
6. Simplify the language
Even if your audience is educated or technically aware, try to keep your script as simple as possible. You want information to be succinct and easy to understand. A good exercise is to break down the idea as if you were explaining it to a five-year-old. You can use the Hemingway app to check the ease of readability.
7. Inject emotion
Every story needs a good hook. Your script needs to capture the attention of your audience from the start to make sure they keep watching. Use language and emotion to elicit a response from the viewer.
8. Consider the visuals
Humans process video faster than text. Use animation, motion graphics and data visuals to illustrate concepts and support, rather than duplicate, your script.
9. Check your brand
Does the tone of the script suit your brand? Is it too formal or too conversational? Does the style of the script fit the rest of your brand communication?
And finally …
10. Set it aside and review it again
Read your script out loud, with proper pacing as a voice artist would. Be ruthless and edit out anything that isn’t working, no matter how hard you laboured over it.
Creating a video is a bigger investment than you might realise. It requires significant time and money, so it’s worth taking the time to get the script right. If you feel you need help getting your script right, give us a call.