Allie Proff is a Content Strategist in Knowledge Management at Boeing, with a passion for teaching. She has over 16 years experience with teaching and technical communication in various roles and organizations.
While you may be anxious to just record your screen and go in order to make a video, writing a simple video script (like this one) or a storyboard is essential if you want to save time and money.
- Stay concise and focused.
- Collaborate, review, and approve ideas faster.
- Translate content to other languages even before production begins.
- Reuse content after the video is created.
Every professional video has a script, and you need one too!
Script?!? I don’t need no script! Or do I?
We’ve all been there. The to-do list is never ending, and deadlines are whizzing past. You need to produce that video and just get it out there. How are you ever going to find time to write a script or a storyboard?
While it may seem counterintuitive, taking the time to write a script or a storyboard for your video will ultimately save time (and money) overall! How does that work?
Brevity is Key
Good news! Your video script or storyboard doesn’t have to be fancy. Even if you’re doing a simple video to show a coworker how to perform a quick task or process, your script can be a few lines in a word processing document that you can attach to an email for them to print as reference after they watch your video.
A video script helps reduce verbal distractors. Do you have any words you like to say when you’re preoccupied, unfocused, or nervous? For some reason, I like to say the words so and also. “So…if you want to change the settings, you have three different options.” “Also, there are two different ways to reach the site administrator screen.” It’s taken me a lot of work and practice to be aware of my own particular habits when I’m speaking off the cuff.
Scripting helps create shorter videos. Even the best writers get all their thoughts out first, then go back and edit. For me, passive tense is my comfort zone. I’m somewhat introverted and much happier being stage crew than an actor in the spotlight. But passive tense is wordy and weak. When I’m creating a video, I need to be short, sweet, and to the point. I need active voice. When I edit my passive verbs to active ones, my four minute videos get cut down to just over a minute before I even record anything. It’s awesome!
Review, Revise, and Wrap Up
In a perfect world, you have all the ideas and free rein to do everything you want. In the real world, you don’t work in a vacuum.
The video you’re creating might be at the request of a customer or business partner. Or you may be collaborating ideas across teams. Perhaps you may require approvals from two or more managers or subject matter experts.
You interact with several people creating, reviewing, and ultimately approving your video. Your video WILL go through numerous edits and revisions. Editing a script or storyboard is faster and cheaper than editing a video, even a rough video.
Globalization and Localization
Now that you have a tight video script with everyone’s input and approval, you’re ready to start producing.
Stop! Rewind! Did you remember to include localization teams in your collaboration? Are your concepts going to translate well into customers in other countries? It’s fun to laugh at companies that made international mistakes, until one of those companies is yours. And how are you going to translate your video into other languages? Are you going to use another voice? Subtitles? Shoot a second video? Provide a transcript? Use simple English?
Replay! Now that you have a tight video script with everyone’s input and approval (including globalization and localization), you’re ready to start producing. And while you’re producing the video, animation, graphics, and screen captures, your translators and native speakers are working in parallel. Your final products are ready sooner than if they had to wait on your non-scripted video.
Once your video is produced, the script doesn’t reach an expiration date and get thrown out in the trash. What are some ideas? Well, I’m glad you asked!
- Produce subtitles easier.
- Attach a transcript for different learning styles, ADA accessibility, accommodating users without speakers or earbuds, etc.
- Write a blog article, marketing email, tweet, Facebook post, etc. that leads back to your video to increase views.
- Provide a free downloadable summary or infographic as a lead magnet.
- Enhance search engine optimization (SEO) (because it’s hard to SEO a video file by itself).
Professionals Do It
Scripts aren’t just for movies, and storyboards aren’t just for animations. TED provides transcripts to many of their talks. Professional speakers always prepare and rehearse what to say. Lynda.com, an online training site, provides transcripts to every lesson that highlights the words as they’re being spoken in the video so people can follow along. If you want to be professional, you need a script.
Have you tried making a video with a script or storyboard, or without a script or storyboard? How did your experiences differ?