How to Write an Engaging Video Script
What is a script and its importance to video production? This article will help you understand how to write an engaging video script of your very own.
The Basics of Script Writing
First and foremost, you need to keep it simple when writing a script. It is easy to get lost in the myriad of ideas you have, but keep in mind that you are working with a presumably limited budget, so you will be restricted to what is available to you.
The script does not need to be complicated or wordy either. It just needs to give the viewer something interesting to take away from the video and leave them with a good impression.
The script is also a set of directions for the team working on the video during production, so it is essential to let them know what is happening in the video with respect to both the visual and audio elements. There will be minor changes made during filming, but the team must largely follow the script.
Creating a project outline or brief, a clear and easily digestible outline clarifying the video’s storyline and other important information related to the video, is another crucial part of working with a production team. This is important because it ensures that the team is on board with what tone or branding messages you want for your video.
An important preliminary step to writing a video script, especially scripts for marketing videos, is to set up a goal for the video and determine what the audience should take away from it. Identifying the goal for your video at the beginning of your scripting process will also tell you what kind of video you are making.
Sometimes you could even start from the end of your script and work your way back in order to find the right “call to action” needed for your product or service.
It is important to know the target audience of your script. Your final product will not resonate with people unless your content is targeted directly to the specific viewer(s) you have in mind who are appropriate for your video. Avoid writing your video script in a way that is intended for all types of audiences, which, in reality, is unfeasible.
How Long is a Short Video Script?
The length of any short video could range from 15 or 30 seconds to a full three minutes. It all depends on what type of video you are making.
Generally in film, one page of a script is equal to one minute of screen time, and the same applies to short videos as well. It should also be noted that you can plan for 125 to 150 words of dialogue per minute (or page).
If you were to write a script for a three minute video, you would need to plan and write what needs to be conveyed within three pages. When you begin writing your script, focus on what you want to say first. Once you have written everything down, check the word count and start rewording or trimming off what is unnecessary until it fits within your time limit.
When writing dialogue for scripts, there are three ways you can approach it:
- Speak directly to your audience in a way that feels personable to them. People prefer being spoken to rather than being spoken at.
- Write your dialogue the way you would say it, not what you think is best on paper.
- Read your script out loud and see if your dialogue sounds natural. If you change the dialogue after reading it the first time, simply read it out loud again.
Writing for Marketing Videos
The goal of a marketing video is to either educate the viewer on a specific product or service, or to persuade the viewer to purchase a specific product or service. Sometimes it can be both.
Presentation and explainer videos belong in the educational category of marketing videos. Their goal is to demonstrate how a product or service works, and explain what the brand does in an entertaining way.
For explainer videos specifically, these are the type of marketing videos you should use for a product or service that is more complicated and requires step-by-step instructions.
These educational videos succeed through brevity and visuals. Presentation and explainer video scripts are often clear and concise, but are broken down into manageable blocks of information to help viewers retain what has been shown to them.
These videos also contain relevant visuals to show and tell the audience what is being explained. This further adds to the viewer’s retention of information provided by the video.
Persuasive category of marketing videos includes promotional and commercial videos. This category is all about getting people to do things like consume or purchase new products or content. They are often viewed on social media or in a sidebar on a website.
Persuasive videos have a different set of standards from their educational counterparts, one being that they are required to have a call to action to get viewers invested in their product or service.
It should be noted that these videos are also watched without sound, so it is best for you to write your script while planning your visuals to work without sound. The big takeaway for persuasive videos is that you need to get attention from the viewer by delivering your message to them before they swipe you off their screen. People have short attention spans, so keeping the videos and their scripts short and straight to the point is crucial.
Writing for a Central Character
In any video scripts, whether the purpose is for marketing or storytelling, the primary character should be able to be identified. Having too many characters will be difficult to follow and will detract from the main point of your script.
Knowing who the primary or main character is in the script helps in two ways:
- It simplifies and focuses your video.
- It pushes you towards creating a story, if needed.
For some videos, having a story is not always necessary. Product overviews, for example, have very little story to them. It is still advised that a single person does most of the talking in these kinds of video scripts.
However, if you are producing a video script with a narrative arc, putting focus on the main character is a no brainer. Often times using the same character as a spokesperson for all your videos helps create continuity and familiarity with your video content. Mascots such as Flo from Progressive and the Geico Gecko fit this example perfectly.
If you do need two or more figures in your video script, choose one character who will have the most focus and be shown for the majority of screen time.
Now that you know how to write an effective video script, go ahead and write a script of your very own. If you are still struggling with the scripting process, there are many websites that provide a number of video script templates for any video you want to produce. If you are wanting to get your script turned into a fully realized video, or if you want someone with more expertise to write your script for you, contact Real Art Daily (RAD) Productions and we will gladly collaborate with you on your project.