9 effective tips and tricks on how to write a script for a video
At the moment, “video” is a word on everyone's lips.
For those who want to make a strong visual and emotional impact with this tool, they know that they first have to write the script. But what is a script? A script is a chronological sequence of scenes, actions and dialog that together makes up your video.
Why do you have to write a script for a video?
Writing the script is important because it provides you with a great starting point to both collect and shape your ideas and to understand how long the video will be (and modify it if needed). Obviously, as we discussed in our previous post, the duration of the video varies according to the channel where you will publish and share it.
Writing a script also allows you to maximize your time, because it allows you to make changes quickly. The changes that take place in post-production, on the other hand, can be expensive and time consuming. For example, what happens if you’re not convinced by a scene or if you realize you made a mistake? In the script phase, this is not a problem because the change can be made in a few seconds using the trusty "backspace" key.
What if you’re not sure where to start or if you would like to improve your technique? Writing a video script doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t need a large budget. What you need is intuition, attention and empathy. In this post, we’ll share some helpful tips and tricks for writing your video script.
How to write a video script? Start with a structure
The structure of the script essentially has 4 parts around which the process of writing the script must revolve.
1. Opening / Problem: The opening phase consists of inserting an emotional hook, for example introducing a theme that arouses interest in your audience or a surprising fact, such as an unknown event or fact that generates curiosity; telling a recognizable story, such as an anecdote or personal story that generates empathy or recognition. In this section, the character(s) of your video presents the problem that the product / service you intend to offer could solve. It should answer questions like the following: Why is this problem so important to solve? How does it negatively affect your audience every day? Why should they care?
2. Solution: Here, you present the product, explaining why the customer would want to buy it. Briefly state specific characteristics in a clear, direct and easy to understand way.
3. Benefits: Provide some — but not too many — benefits that the customer would get from using your product. Why your brand? What do you have that’s better than your competitors? Your product or service has a unique and specific strength that separates you from the competition. Engage your audience in what they would get from your product compared to others.
4. Call to Action (CTA): Given the short duration of the video, the CTA gives your audience the chance to receive more information about the product (or redirect them to the sales channel) by inserting a final call to action.
Think before you write: 4 pre-writing tips for your script video
Making simple videos can help you better convey the message you want to get across to your audience. So, how to write a video script? First, let's start with what is defined as the prewriting or pre-production process (we covered this topic in a previous article).
Here are some simple tips:
1. Identify your goal: What do you want to communicate with your video? What call to action do you want to emerge from it? Ask yourself: why would a person watch the video? What benefits could a viewer get from watching it? The goal of this script is to nurture your leads, not sell to them. Keep your focus on their needs and the goal of the video.
2. Choose your audience: No matter how slick or beautiful your video may be, if it’s too generic, it will be ineffective. Create specific content for your target that reflects their characteristics and needs. The consequent desire to know your brand — therefore the product and service offered — will depend on how well the content of the video reflects the needs of the target audience. Your video script needs to attract and engage those qualified people to become your customers. Identify your buyer personas with the character in your video.
3. Create a story: When combined in the right way, the story and video can obtain powerful results. A story needs a protagonist, so choose the main subject of your video. An important tip: avoid involving too many people in the video, so as not to generate confusion. In particular, the choice of a subject (or more than one, if any) present in the video can impact the effectiveness of your message, as the video is more simplified and fluid in the narration (bitealbe.com).
4. Create a plan: Too many ideas could lead to confusion, so get everything down in writing (or in a file on your computer). It will make it easier to map out the story line. Start with a rough plan for what your script will ultimately become.
5 tips and tricks for writing your script
1. Think out loud
While writing the script for your video, think carefully about the tone and voice you intend to use in the narration. What is the voice that best represents your brand? Above all, find a voice that reflects the audience. For example, if you are addressing a relatively young audience, the voice used should reflect that age group.
Therefore, depending on the target audience, you can choose the tempo, the tone of the narrator's voice, the background music, and the words of the script.
2. Be brief
It’s easy to get carried away with too much dialog, especially if the video is meant to be explanatory or educational. Don't make this mistake! What's the catch?
Remember that you are competing with people's attention span, so keep your sentences short and concise. Remember that you can enter a final call to action to give your audience more information.
3. Keep in mind the type of script you need
The content of the script changes depending on the video you intend to make. We can give two examples.
Informative/educative scripts: These types of scrips typically serve the purpose of demonstrating how to do something (e.g. how to use an electronic device); how a product or service works, or a demonstration to explain what the company does. For example, Virgin America used video to share its safety instructions in an imaginative and fun way. Because they are considered boring or because people assume they already know what to do, an airline's safety instructions and demonstrations are often ignored. The airline understood that if it wanted to capture the full attention of passengers it had to fascinate them with an innovative approach (you can watch the video here). The explanatory video is animated and shows the in-flight safety instructions in a fun way. Note that it contains a well-written script. In this, the necessary information will be absorbed in a way that will remain in the minds of the passengers long after the flight.
Persuasive scripts: Often, persuasive scripts are made to sell or promote the product/service offered. The content serves to show the advantages and features of the product, to demonstrate features that outperform a similar competing product and the advantages this entails for those who will use it. This script is usually intended for social media. These videos are often also conveyed on social networks, and there is usually a high probability that they will be viewed without audio. What's the catch? A script rich in visual effects that can work even in the absence of audio. In addition, we suggest that you use subtitles to get a better result. And of course, don’t forget the final call to action.
4. Focus on the message
Given the reduction in the average person’s attention span, the message of your video must appear within and no longer than 60 seconds of viewing (even better if it is 30 seconds). Put the most important information at the beginning. This step is crucial if you want to get the message across, whether it's your brand logo or a clear reference to the product.
The best lengths for a video are around 30 seconds, 1 minute, and 2 minutes. Based on this, we can provide an ideal word count for your script (lemonlight.com):
Video length: 30 seconds - 60 word script
Video length: 1 minute - 120 word script
Video length: 2 minutes - 240 word script
5. Appropriate b-roll and callout to support the script
The B-Roll is basically "extra" material, whether details or wide shots that were not used in the final cut. This way you will have more clips to build a smooth montage.
Whether it's a character action or a close-up shot of the product for a demonstration, you'll want to write these cues in your script so anyone reading it knows how to introduce these elements to the viewer (blog.hubspot.com). B-rolls make up the bulk of visual content and they are very important for post-production purposes. What's the difference between a B-Roll and an A-Roll? This term is related to the idea of having (at least) a setup with two cameras and one camera A for the main movie, which then captures all the most important parts, in terms of the video and product shots (rev.com).
What are callouts and what are they used for? This is technical information to be included in product videos. These written exceptions can also help the narrator take certain unspoken actions while reciting the script.
In conclusion, what is important to remember is to keep your videos simple and short to get your message across effectively. Your product can only be good if it looks good to your audience. Too much self-referential information and too complicated language risk blocking the view even before it is born. These tips and tricks can be a good starting point for starting or improving your script, as getting the script right is the key to making your video successful.