There are many important aspects of video production. Graphics, content, and audio do a lot of the heavy lifting, but the most widely-shared and influential videos begin with a great script.
There are plenty of areas in which to go wrong while writing a video script. Some are too complicated, some are chock-full of jargon, and some try to accomplish too much in a short amount of time.
By following this simple guide, you’ll be able to put together scripts that make your videos shine. You’ll create content that is clear, concise, and puts across your message in a way that people will not only enjoy, but in a way that will call them to action.
Heard and Not Seen
Taking a professional tone when you’re writing is important for business. What can hinder your business is keeping that same tone when you write a video script.
Most of the time, the way we speak is much less formal in person than on paper. People want a video that they can listen to without having to do an in-depth analysis after each scene.
Scripts written in a natural tone come across more engaging and more human. These are the videos people want to watch.
Sentences = Short and Focused
Shorter, simpler pieces of text are easier to digest. If you avoid being long-winded, it’s easier to emphasize your key points.
If you imagine your video reaching a wide platform (which you should) the language you use should include everyone in that audience. This means avoiding jargon and using more colloquial language instead.
Obviously, there are times when jargon is called for. When those times arise, make sure the jargon you’re using is at least somewhat accessible to those who may not know anything about your topic. Your content shouldn’t go over their heads.
Even if your audience is geared towards technology, there’s still no reason to load business vocabulary into your script. Though they might understand what you’re saying, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to swallow.
Contractions Are Your Friends…
As we stated before, it’s best to avoid sounding too formal. To help with tone, gear your language towards the use of contractions rather than the formal version of the words. For example, use “can’t” instead of “cannot” and “let’s” instead of “let us.” It’s more conversational and, therefore, more inviting.
…Tongue Twisters Are Not
Look out for phrases that might read fine on paper, but come out of your mouth fumbled and messy. Lines in the script should be delivered clearly and with confidence. So, if there are tongue twisters hiding in your lines, it’s best to find them before it comes time to unveil the final product.
Edit Out Loud
Once you’ve been looking at a project for a long time, your brain starts erasing mistakes. You won’t see a double word or a jumbled sentence, because your brain prevents you from doing so.
The solution comes with reading your script out loud. Not mumbling to yourself, either. Read it as though you were performing. You’ll be surprised at what you catch with this method.
Beyond that, have someone read it to you. Listen to how they find the cadences of the sentences and expound on their natural rhythm. Are phrases coming across the way you want them to?
By having someone different perform your work, you see it from another point of view.
Timing is also important during this stage. If the script is too long, it’s the perfect time to trim before it hits production.
Write Content That Begets Good Content
Whoever performs your script wants to do well. That’s why you hired them! In order for them to put in the best work possible, there are a few things you can do to make their job easier.
Have a Clear Vision
In the beginning stages, you might not be sure of what delivery or tone you’re going for. When you’re in this stage, don’t bother involving the performer. Figuring out the basis of your video is how to create a solid foundation.
Once you have an idea of what you want, communicate that idea to whomever is performing your words. This way, you’ll get as close to your vision as you possibly can.
Get the Script Out ASAP
This doesn’t mean make it public as soon as the idea comes to you, it just means not waiting until the very last second. With time to prepare, your talent can get familiar with the script.
It’s a fine line – the line of giving the script to your talent too soon, or too late. Too soon could be detrimental because last-minute changes are stressful and hard to remember. Too late could be the cause for nerves and flubbed performances.
Trust yourself as a writer. When you feel your piece has reached its peak, it’s time to send it out.
There’s a common misconception that having actors memorize the script rather than reading while filming makes the delivery sound more natural. This isn’t always true.
Using a teleprompter helps actors focus on what to emphasize, and honing in on the correct intonation. Instead of remembering the words themselves, they can focus on the way the message comes across. By using a teleprompter, you’ll inevitably save yourself time, money, and stress.
That’s A Wrap
The art of script writing is just that – an art. It takes practice, but it’s very possible.
The task may seem daunting, but if you follow these tips, there’s no reason to be intimidated. There is always a way to get the content in your brain on paper, and eventually, out into the world.