Videos are one of the most involved forms of content out there. They include visuals, sound, editing, lighting, actors, and a whole lot more if you want to get really fancy. It’s the combination of these different elements that makes video so effective for entertainment and marketing.
In order for videos to successfully reach audiences, the different elements involved need to be organized around an idea. With an idea or plan in place, all of the elements can come together to bring the video to life. This is where a video script comes in.
Similar to scripts you see in Hollywood, a video script’s purpose is to provide a detailed blueprint for the message you are trying to convey. It outlines the different scenes, dialogue, camera shots, action, and the order in which everything will happen.
Of course, the types of videos can vary. Some will be heavily story-based and others won’t have a story at all. In this blog post, we are going through how to write a script for 5 different types of videos.
- Live Event (Live stream)
- Testimonial Video
- Corporate Video
- TV Commercial
Video Script Formatting
The format of video scripts is not as straightforward as you would expect. Typically, video scripts have two columns. One is for video or visual details and the other is for audio or auditory details.
Each row represents a different shot with each column describing what viewers will hear and see. Some video scripts will also have a third column that details the graphics for each shot or the duration.
Creating The Brief For a Video Script
Creating a video script can be exciting. The possibilities seem endless and you can let your imagination run wild. However, I’m guessing you have a budget for the video and an expectation for how you want the video to succeed. Before creating a video script, you should create a brief to answer a few key questions…
- Who’s The Audience and What Do They Need? Identifying your audience is an important tenet of any marketing effort. Knowing who you are targeting means having a clear understanding of what your audience’s wants and needs are. Relatable content can easily resonate on some level and whether you are marketing to millennials, baby boomers, or Gen X’ers, knowing who your audience is helps you create content and messaging that connects with them.
- What’s The Goal? Videos aren’t just put out randomly. There is a purpose behind each and every one of them. For businesses, videos are used to bring results, and depending on the type of results you are looking for, the script needs to be changed to achieve the objective you want. Are you creating this video for brand awareness? Or to inspire the viewer to take action? Identifying the goal will help you decide the scope and structure of the video.
- What’s The Message? There may not always be a story behind a video, but there is always a message. The message is what the video will leave the viewers with. It can spur them to action or linger with them for days after. The message or idea behind the video is arguably the most important element to figure out before writing your script. After you figure out the idea, everything else will fall into place a lot easier.
The brief will work as a living document that writers will continue to refer back to and, if need be, change over time. After you have the brief, you can start creating the script.
How To Write A Script For Animation Video
Animated videos are a great way to explain complex or otherwise dry concepts in an exciting way. The sky’s the limit with animation, which is why a script is necessary for any animated video.
The structure of any video script is important, but it’s especially crucial for animations. Storytelling is an effective way to engage an audience and the Three Act Structure, as defined by Hollywood, is the traditional method to create a compelling story. Act 1 is known as the setup, Act 2 is the confrontation, and Act 3 is the resolution.
In video script terms, Act 1 is the introduction to a problem, Act 2 is the introduction to your product that solves the problem, and Act 3 is the explanation of how your product is better than others in the market.
Simplicity is key in animated videos, and as a general principle: the fewer characters, the better. The characters you write in the script are the characters that are going to create an emotional connection with the audience. However, animated videos are short in nature which means there will be less time to spend with the characters introduced. Fewer characters with more dialogue will deepen the viewer’s connection to them while keeping the focus on the core message being conveyed.
Animations can be fun, humorous, educational, and even imaginative. However, some of these tones may not be the best fit for the purpose of your video. Before creating an animation, discover what tone would best strengthen the idea behind your video. If you have a particularly dry explanation about your product, then a creative and humorous video may be best to maintain high energy throughout the video. Understanding your audience will also play a key role in the tone you decide to have for your video.
Language & Word Count
With scripts, ‘show don’t tell’ is a common rule that writers follow relentlessly. You want the script to be descriptive in the least amount of words possible. The word count sets the pace for the narration in the video. If you have too many words, the narrator might have to rush to make the narration match up with the ideal video length. On the other hand, if there aren’t enough words, then there may be strange pauses or a slow narration to keep everything synced up.
A minimum of 120 words per minute and a maximum of 150 words per minute is an ideal rule of thumb to make sure the pacing will balance out. Each page is supposed to be a minute of filming time. With those word count limits, a 3-minute video will be at max 450 words and at minimum, 360.
How To Write A Script For Live Event (Live stream) Video
Scripts are important to shoot and edit videos, but for live streams, videos are shot on the fly. Unless the people involved are masterful ad-libbers, live events require a video script to have a steady flow all-throughout them. The scripts differ for regular live stream videos with a few speakers and full-scale multi-camera live productions.
Live stream Video Structure
Just like with any script before you write, you need to define the audience, message, and goals that the live stream will accomplish. What action do you want viewers of the live stream to take if any at all? Then, you can start writing the script.
Before The Introduction: The beginning of live streams are always a little awkward. Viewers are slowly tuning into the live stream and the speaker usually waits until a good amount of people are watching. This brief moment is a great time to connect with your audience. Ask the viewers questions about why they have tuned in. If you show a genuine concern for your audience, they will feel more inclined to stay for the entire live stream.
Introduction: Give a brief overview of who you are and the value that is in this live stream video for your audience. Make sure the viewers know what they will get out of the video and make it sound enticing.
Body: It’s time to present the audience with the information they tuned in for. The information should be broken down similar to how a blog post is split into different headers and paragraphs. There should be different points and visual cues like a PowerPoint presentation accompanying them to make the information more digestible.
Q&A: Engagement with the viewers is why live stream videos have become so popular recently. Audiences love to be acknowledged and answering their questions here shows that the hosts care about what they have to say.
Conclusion: The ending of the live stream is about summarizing all of your points and reiterating the value that the information brings your viewers. Also, the ending is the perfect time to direct attention to your CTA. Live streams should always have a CTA because anyone who has stuck through the entire live stream is likely to take action.
Live stream videos don’t need to have a word-for-word script, but a script can help speakers stay on track and focus on the main message they are trying to convey.
Live events are much more involved than live streaming videos. There are many more people involved with the production, more equipment, and a higher budget. Live event scripts are composed of two different parts: the Run-of-show and the Production Script.
A Run of show or ROS is a document that lays out the schedule for the live production. The ROS provides the roles in the event, the timing of the segments in the presentation, and how the media will be used throughout the show. Run of shows can get the crew, speakers, stakeholders, and volunteers all on the same page about what to expect from the program.
A well-written script can make a live production go smoothly with minimal interruptions and can organize a team when they’re on and off the stage. Production scripts usually have…
- Unexpressed cues like attendees clapping, food being served, turning a page, or attendees taking their seats.
- Production cues like prerecorded introductions, PowerPoint slides, music excerpts, and logos.
- Presenter lines that are stated live at the event.
Both the ROS and the production script give the staff, crew, and presenters the knowledge they need to understand the expectations and their roles in a live event.
How To Write A Script For Live Event (Live stream) Video
It may seem like a good idea to script out a testimonial videoword for word to give the featured customer a guide on what to say. However, most of the time a script only makes a testimonial awkward and rigid.
Instead of creating a word-for-word testimonial script, it’s better to create a skeleton on what to expect for the video. The past customer should be given a set of questions that promotes a response that is authentic and high-quality. Here are a few tips when creating the questions for testimonial videos…
- Send your subjects the questions beforehand so they come prepared.
- Start with the general and easy questions to get the talent comfortable.
- Ask questions that elicit positive stories or anecdotes. Focus on the impact your business made on them.
- Ask specific questions to bring out metrics or figures that benefit the overall message.
Some testimonial videos have customers creating the video themselves, while others have a higher budget with a production crew behind them. The amount of control you have over the video influences how much information to put into the script.
How To Write A Script For Corporate Video
Corporate videos consist of company profile videos, recruitment videos, corporate documentaries, corporate social responsibility videos, and more.
Video scripts are the backbone of any corporate video. Here are a few tips when creating a corporate video script.
- Always begin with a brief to outline the goals, audience, message, and CTA in the video.
- Create a story that accomplishes the goals set in your brief.
- Have a compelling hook that engages your target audience right off the bat. For example, introducing a problem or being direct about the value the video offers.
- Script as much as possible while keeping the word count succinct. Similar to animations with a range of 120 words to 150 words per minute.
- Use simple words in the narration that everybody can understand.
- Keep the video as short as possible.
- Finish with a CTA.
- Have the script proofread and edited by yourself and others.
Although we desire for our corporate videos to achieve their intended outcomes and goals, don’t get too caught up in the possible results before finishing the script. Instead, focus on creating a video that provides value to the target audience because valuable content can always find success.
How To Write A Script For TV Commercials
Unlike other formats of video, TV commercials have very strict time restrictions. Since advertising time gets sold in 15-second blocks, most businesses buy 30-seconds worth of advertising space. 15-seconds is a little too short to create an effective ad while 60-seconds is a little bit too expensive.
30-seconds is not a lot of time to get a message across which means your video script has to be direct and unique. Scripts for a 30-second commercial typically contain 80 words total.
Structure and time management should be prioritized with TV commercial scripts. The traditional structure you’ll see with commercials is to state or show the problem, explain the solution (product), and then repeat the product again.
TV commercials may be the hardest scripts to write because of the time constraints and the need to stand out. However, here are a few tips to help you write a winning ad…
- Keep the language simple to engage all ages. Use familiar words and phrases that are related to your product or service.
- Zone in on your target audience and find ways to relate to them immediately.
- Keep the story straightforward with a beginning, middle, and end.
- Deliver a strong CTA that effectively convinces the target audience to act.
- Hook the viewers with your opening lines. Give them a reason to keep watching like curiosity.
- Test out anything you can (lines, actors, tone, etc.).