Video Script: Tips, How To's and Don'ts
WHY IS A GOOD SCRIPT IMPORTANT?
Basically, the script is the basic foundation for everything that happens in a video project - from planning to editing. There are few exceptions to this rule. Even videos with no voiceover or people on screen will need a script. That's because there will usually be text on the screen to help tell the story of what is being see in the video. Scripts tell the story, provide the information, engage the audience and give meaning to the visuals.
In addition, if a script is not strong from the outset it can lead to increased production costs and time needed to complete the project if things need to be changed to match revisions to the script.
THE FOUR "W" QUESTIONS FOR SCRIPT WRITING
When we write a script for a client, there are four things we definitely need to know. These provide the answers that will guide us along as we think about what the final script and video will look like.
1. WHO will be viewing your video? We once had a client that provided an online software solution for scientists and engineers. Instead of focusing on how/why the software worked, who our client's customers were, or how long our client had been in business, the script focused on what the data could do to help the end scientists and engineers in their own job. In fact, the script even called for a demo run-through of an actual engineering problem whose solution could be found with our client's software.
When we write blog articles and tips, we don't talk about the gear we use very often. We're writing for our clients and potential customers. For the most part, the audience doesn't care about the latest Canon camera, or the greatest piece of filmmaking gear that we use. They want to know what kind of image we can create for the company.
The more you know and understand your audience the more you can speak to them in their own "language," and the more you can produce a script and content will be interesting to them and then you'll be able to:
- Focus on what matters to your audience, not what you think matters to them
- Stay "out of the weeds" by giving only information that your viewer will find useful
- Speak to your audience at their level or beyond
- Respect their time and make your content valuable starting with the script
2. WHAT is the message and "feel" going to be? Is there a mood you want to create? Do you want a video that is fun, serious, informational, straight-forward, creative, etc? Each of these option will dictate how the script flows, what it covers and the words that are used.
Are there certain points that absolutely need to be made, and are there certain things that shouldn't be said for one reason or another?
3. WHERE will the video be used? Where you place the video plays a role in what the script says because different uses may require different video lengths. It goes without saying that if there is a certain length of time that the video needs to be, the script needs to reflect this.
- If it will live on social media, it might need to be tailored to be shorter and more concise
- If it will be hosted on your website, and if it has a clear message, the length of the script will become less important
- If it's going to be a television commercial it will need to fit 30 or 60 seconds exactly
4. WHY is the video being created? The fact that you're preparing to give time and effort to your video content means you want to get something out of it. What do you want people to take away from this video? What action or actions do you want them to take? Some of the possibilities include:
- Fundraising - The script should let the viewer know that you're trustworthy and should include some history of your company or your product. The wording should tell the viewer what they will get if they help you out financially. And it should be written in real and personable language.
- Explaining a service or product - Decide exactly what your viewer needs to know and don't let your script get weighed down by unnecessary information. Get right to the point and make it clear, from the start, what the video is about.
- Introducing or strengthening your brand - This type of video is about you and so it's OK to talk about yourself. But be sure the script lets viewers know how your brand will benefit them and why they should consider doing business with you.
- Providing customer testimonials - You don't want to give your customers a script to memorize or read off a teleprompter. They should be natural and honest on camera. But you should know what types of things they'll be talking about so you can tailor a script that makes the connections between different interviewees. Otherwise it's just several people talking and there can be a lack of background. A good testimonial video is a perfect mix of scripted and unscripted material.
- Selling a product or service - This is very similar to a script that introduces or strengthens your brand. See above.
NONE OF THE TIPS ABOVE MATTER
If you don't remember two very important facts about script writing: Valuable content will keep them watching, and you have 8 seconds to make an initial impact that will keep people watching.
We hope these tips help, but if all else fails keep in mind that we do provide script writing service with our projects. Reach out and say hello if you have a project in mind.