What is a Video Script?
For a formal definition, a video script is a rundown of all the scenes, dialogues, and audio and visual cues in a video.
This is an advanced outline, as it contains detailed information about how scenes unfold, when animation comes into play, when the contact information slides on the screen, etc.
When you adhere to an organized process with flexibility, writing a video script is not difficult. Remember – it’s okay if you don’t get it right the first time. It would be best if you revised it until you got it right.
You can write a video script the right way by following these six simple steps.
➡1: Write a brief.
A video brief helps keep you on track, as it serves as a constant reminder of who you’re making the video for and what its purpose is.
By referencing it throughout video production, you can ensure your video meets its objectives.
Best part? A brief doesn’t have to be a long document.
You could do this simply by writing down or posting a Google doc that answers these questions:
- What is the purpose of the video?
- Who is your target audience?
- When will the video be available?
- In your opinion, what is the essential thing viewers should take away?
- After watching the video, what action do you want viewers to take?
A video made for brand awareness will always be different from one intended to drive conversions in terms of content, length, and overall theme. YouTube videos are also planned (and, more importantly, timed) differently than Facebook videos, where bite-sized videos perform well. Knowing the takeaway and call to action (CTA) will help you ensure the content you plan is geared towards achieving those two goals.
Focus on one call to action and one takeaway. This makes sure your message is focused and not all over the place, making your video memorable.
➡2: Decide what story you want to tell
Immediately below that, write your key takeaway. As a result, you will not deviate or get distracted by shiny new ideas.
You should then follow these steps:
1. Begin brainstorming.
Spend 15 minutes coming up with ideas and writing them down. The following mind map template can be used to record your thoughts:
Select those that meet your video objectives while resonating with your target audience. Once you have a few ideas, flesh them out roughly. What’s the purpose? Finding the best way to convey your core message.
By the end of this brainstorming and idea exploration session, you should have one idea that you’re ready to go all the way with.
2. Determine the narrative arc of your story.
Your story will flow in this way. Use this three-part structure as a guide: setting up, confronting, and resolving the conflict.
The PAS formula can also be used: state the issue, agitate or rub it a little bit, and offer solutions.
3. Create your characters.
You will need one, two, or more characters, depending on your story arc – although we recommend sticking with 1-2 characters so that each can be developed further. Some video types, such as explainer videos, do not require character development. Others may have a speaker demonstrating the features of your product. Whenever possible, include a single face in your videos to create a sense of familiarity.
Speaking of which, here’s Mike’s advice for boosting your creativity – something you’ll need for coming up with ideas for your next video.
4. Select the emotions you want to evoke.
Would you like to elicit laughter? Do you want to instil a feeling of happiness? If you’re going to tell a story, write down a couple of emotions you want to evoke.
5. Make it shiny.
You don’t have to complete this step now – you can do it with the next step or the step after that. It all depends on how you prefer to work.
Therefore, having a solid hook is imperative to grabbing your viewers’ attention and encouraging them to keep watching.
Be sure to put time into developing your hook.
➡3: Write a rough script draft.
Writing your first draft is the next step.
If you’re new to video script writing or revising scripts, remember this by heart: first drafts are always ugly. You need this ugly first draft if you’re going to create a masterpiece of a video script.
Use freewriting techniques to generate your first draft.
Writing for a set period without stopping to correct anything can help you overcome the overwhelm of starting your first draft.
Also, you will be able to let go of the need to perfect the rough draft right away.
Write your video script in your audience’s language. Your video will speak to your audience this way.
➡4: Format and edit your draft.
You need to rewrite, heavily edit, or polish the draft you wrote earlier during this step. Work required depends on how good your first draft was. No matter what the case may be, remember to edit the following:
- Remove fluff words, jargon and repetitions.
- Replace difficult words with simpler ones and shorten sentences.
- Your script should be conversational. Consider how human your copy sounds as you review your draft.
It is a good idea to remove all non-contributing sentences. To put it another way, every sentence must justify its existence. By doing so, the viewers will be encouraged to continue watching one sentence, one scene at a time.
At this point, there are a few more things to take care of:
Edit the video for the platform on which it will be broadcast.
The script for a video demo, for instance, should be thorough. If you’re creating a script for an SEO-optimized YouTube video, you’ll want to keep it friendly. Include visual and audio elements.
Video scripts aren’t just about dialogue. The guide explains everything from when the background music stops to when a chart appears and the wardrobe changes.
In addition to giving instructions on the character’s body language and tone, you should also specify how the stage actions and settings should be altered.
Include details about B-roll content in your script. In the script, you will need to indicate, for example, if the screen changes from showing a person speaking to an animated graphic of your tool.
This is technically known as B-roll content. A video appears when a person speaks, and the screen shows what they’re talking about. This way, when the producers see your video script, they will understand precisely what you have in mind.
Your video and script should be timed.
Scripts shouldn’t run longer than footage and vice versa.
For this, keep in mind that one minute of the video contains about 160-220 words without pauses.
Scripts should be formatted. To deliver scripts that are easy to read and understand, video scripts must be formatted. Why? It ensures that audio, visual cues, dialogue, and other notes are not mixed up.
➡5: Reread, revise, and repeat.
Read the script before you send it off to production (or start working on it yourself).
We’re not suggesting you proofread it and consider it done. Instead, read to correct the flow and then dive into a group reading session.
Start by reading the script aloud. As a result, you will be able to catch stiff sentences or sentences that read awkwardly.
Then, host a table reading. The actors of the video read the script here. By doing so, you will visualize how the dialogue will flow when the characters speak.
In addition, you will receive immediate feedback.
➡6: Compare the final version with the brief.
The final step is to review the script against the brief you created in step 1. You need to revisit both and confirm that the video script meets the parameters of the brief.
Consider these questions:
- Is the video meeting its objective?
- Are your audience’s reactions to it positive or negative?
- Do you think it is compelling and short enough to hold viewers’ attention?
- Will it encourage viewers to take the action step (CTA)?
Write a script for your video that keeps your audience engaged. It may seem like a lot of work to write a video brief at first.
By following the steps we shared today, you’ll be able to create an audience-winning video script while speeding through the process.