Your favorite Hollywood movie, skits on Saturday Night Live and your favorite brand’s social media videos. What do these things have in common? An imaginative, creative script. Your final script can be hours long or just a few minutes, any good project starts with this essential piece of content.
As video marketing continues to trend upwards and becomes the go-to for companies big and small, marketers tend to forget, it is more than flashy animation and neat edits that make a video great. A strong script can do wonders for your video marketing campaign. Not sure where to begin? That’s why we’re here to help.
We’ll cover all the information you need to know, help you define what a script is and how to write a strong one. Plus, some video ideas with WeVideo templates.
Here’s a quick rundown of topics we’ll discuss:
- What is a video script?
- How to write a video script
- Start writing your video script
- Video scripts + templates
What is a video script?
According to Wyzowl, “a video script is the blueprint and foundation for your digital video. It’s a chronological run-down of scenes, action and dialogue that you want to appear in your video.”
Truth be told, that’s just a very strong way of saying it’s copy that you’ll follow when creating your video. It’ll include what scenes will be shot, what will be happening and what will be said. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
How to write a video script
What can you do to make sure your videos don't fall flat and that what is being said will keep your audience engaged? Here are a few things to remember when writing a video script:
Get your team on the same page
This is a great and easy way to make sure everyone involved in creating a video is on the same page. Some questions to focus on are:
- What is the goal of the video?
- Who is the audience for the video?
- What is the topic?
- What should viewers learn from watching the video?
- What are we asking viewers to do when they finish watching our video?
Outline your thoughts
You're probably thinking, can't I jump right into writing my script? NO! NO, YOU CAN'T! Writing an outline will not only help you plan out what to say, but it can also help break up your video into sections. You'll not only get a good idea of how to segment your video, but you'll also see how it'll progress and figure out what needs to be added or removed.
Hook ‘em with your video script
Just like any good piece of marketing, your video needs to hook your audience right away. According to the below Wyzowl infographic, the average human attention span is at a lowly 8 seconds, which is a sharp decrease of 12 seconds in 2000. Hooking your audience within the first 10 seconds not only increases the odds of keeping them engaged and around for the rest of your message but could be what leads them to make a purchase from your brand.
Keep it simple
When you start writing your script, keep in mind why you're making a video. There's no need to overthink things, or else you risk straying away from your main reason/topic of the video. Keep your ideas concise and to the point. The outline should help keep you on track, but always remember your central idea and build your script around it.
Speak TO, not AT, your audience
Audiences watch movies to escape reality and get away from their own lives for a while. Your marketing video is no different. Maybe not an escape, but they are looking for information and being entertained. They don't want to be lectured or talked down to. Writing your script like you're having a conversation will help keep your audience engaged and entertained.
Time it right
Not all videos are created equal. Depending on their purpose and channel, the length of your video will vary. For product demos and in-depth tutorials, you would write a script that has a slower pace as those videos tend to be a little longer. If you’re doing a video for social media, then you’d want a script that is straight to the point for a shorter and faster-paced video.
Start writing your video script
Now comes the fun stuff. Actually, writing and putting your script together. If you’ve planned and outlined everything correctly, then the actual writing process should be relatively easy.
Plan out visual and audio elements
This is an incredibly important element to any video especially if accompanied by a script. Are you using any voiceovers? Cutting between shots as your VO plays out? Then it’s worth having visual and audio cues in your script. This makes it easier for your VO person to cue up certain visual elements and your production crew to make sure they have all the needed shots.
Your script should be a set of directions for whoever is shooting your video and you want them to know, without a shadow of a doubt, what should be happening visually and audio-wise.
The best way to formulate all of this and make it easy for your production team is to use a two-column table. Here’s a quick example:
Panning shot of our incredible product being removed from its packaging.
Slowly fade-in tense audio track that culminates in the product being removed.
Use the VO to hype up and excite audiences. Call out features and benefits that are key selling points.
Write first, trim to fit
The amount of time your video requires all comes down to why you’re making it and the type of video you’re creating. For social media, you’ll likely be cramming everything into 30 seconds or less. On YouTube or your own web pages, you could have three or more minutes to work with.
When it comes to words of dialogue per minute, the sweet spot is going to be anywhere from 125 to 150 words. But, when you start writing you don’t want to focus on that. Write everything you want your video to convey. Once everything is written down, dialogue and all, check your word count.
That’s when you begin reworking it until it fits the amount of time you have. This forces you to really focus your script writing on the key components and remove any filler. Remember, it’s always easy to take away content than it is to add it.
Follow your script…for the most part
Not technically part of the video scriptwriting process, but an important thing to remember as it pertains to your completed script. You’ve spent all that time writing and preparing a phenomenal script, so why would you ever decide to not follow it? That’s like a head coach spending all week putting together a game plan and deciding to throw it out the window minutes before game time.
As is usually the case, you’ll start filming and things may change. You want to make sure you follow your script but also leave some wiggle room for ad-libs. You probably hired actors or VO actors, so it’s beneficial to let them do what they do. After all, they’re professionals. Trust them to ad-lib here and there to add some necessary flair to your videos.
These small, “in the moment” changes can make your videos better but always remember to shoot what you wrote. Getting extra footage is never a bad thing.
Video templates for your script
There are so many different ways to create a video and the types of scripts you can write. Every kind of video you produce will have its own style, which means each will need a different style script than another. Let’s take a look at a few types of videos that could help you get started and what kinds of video scripts they’ll need.
When writing video scripts for tutorial videos make sure they’re educational. The language and tone you should use will be calming and that of a teacher. These videos will take shape as presentations, explainers or step-by-step instructionals.
Check out all of our tutorial video templates or our tutorial video guide.
Product demo and how-to video scripts will have more of an informational tone. The language here may be a little more technical than in a tutorial video, but you’ll still want to refrain from talking at your viewers. Write a script that is like a speech where you are conversing.
Check out all of our demo video templates or How-to videos that really work (and why).
Now, here’s where you pull out your sales voice and video script. Promo videos are perfect for engaging your consumers, informing them about an upcoming sale and any special offers you may have. You’ll want to use a fun, excited tone and make sure your script has similar language.
Check out all of our promotional video templates or Everything you need to know about creating product demo videos.
A few final tips, or tricks, before we wrap this up. First, memorizing a script can be hard, so we recommend placing your laptop on a table, stool, or any piece of sturdy furniture that’s high enough to read off of. To make this even easier, over at WeVideo we use easyprompter.com. Lastly, make sure your video has a call to action. Just like any good piece of marketing, your video should have an action for viewers to take. Make sure it’s clear and appealing enough, so audiences are willing to do what you’re asking for.
Now that you have pointers and are ready to get started, find the tools and other features you need to make a great video with one of WeVideo’s plans.
For more video tips and tricks, check out Video hacks with Max and Storytelling tips for video.