3 Keys to Writing a Solid Video Script
1) Start concepting with a brief.
Focus on your goals, topic, and takeaways when developing your brief.
You can easily create a brief in Microsoft Word or a Google Doc to serve as a living, breathing template that you revise over time.
Different video projects may require your team to think through different things before you get scripting and shooting, so you may find that you add or subtract certain questions to your brief as you become more experienced with video creation.
2) Write your script.
Once you’ve picked a topic, it's time to write that script.
Write in plain, conversational English.
Make it thorough.
A script doesn’t just include dialogue. If your video will require multiple shots, characters, or scenes, include these details. Be sure to include any necessary information about the set or stage actions, such as a wardrobe change.
Basically, you want the script to be thorough enough that you could hand it off to someone else to shoot.
Differentiate the main narrative from B-Roll, text overlays, and voiceover using different formatting or callouts.
If your video will transition from a the subject speaking the primary narrative to a close up shot of your product with a text overlay, you’ll want to call that out in your script so anyone who reads it knows what’s supposed to be read on screen versus incorporated in the editing process.
Script every word.
It’s understandable to think you can just jot down the main bullet points for a script and then just wing it on camera, especially if you know your subject matter. This approach makes it tough to communicate a message as clearly and concisely as possible (which you should aim to do in every video you create), and it usually results in a lot of re-dos.
So, we suggest scripting every last word. Trust us -- doing this will keep you organized during filming and save you loads of time later.
Make it brief.
Shorter videos are better than long videos, and to make short videos, you need a short script. Don't write a script any longer than two pages. If you can keep it to one page, even better. It's also worth doing two to three rounds of edits solely focused on cutting all unnecessary fat.
The result is a video that's succinct, engaging, and allows for a simple editing process.
Use Google Docs.
Our friends over at Wistia recommend using Google Docs so that your team can collaborate on the script. The cool part about using Google Docs for scripting: Your revision history is always there for you in case you need to revert to a previous version, and your teammates can use the comments feature to add their two cents without changing the actual script copy.
We recommend letting one person take the lead in writing it, and then inviting others to use the comment feature to add their thoughts and suggestions later on.
Use this script template.
Have your script ready? Neat. Now it's time to ...
3) Do a table read.
Now that you know how to write a script, it’s time for a table read -- the part where you practice bringing that script to life on camera.
Why practice? Because some words look great on paper, but once you read them aloud, they just don’t sound right. The table read is where you really get to fine-tune the tone and nix anything that sounds too proper, too improper, too robotic, or otherwise inappropriate for the message you aim to convey.
Watch the awesome video on how to do a table read, brought to you by our buddies over at Wistia.
Johnson, S. (2013, November 8). How to Write a Video Script [Template + Video] [Blog post].
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