Have you ever tried to write a script?
It can be daunting.
Few things are worse than staring at a blank screen. But here’s the lie: “Everything has to be original and new!”
The key is to use a video script template.
An unscripted video wastes time, takes too much effort, and is painful to watch.
The first thing you want to do before you create a video is to write a script, even if it’s brief. And although writing a script can seem daunting, don’t worry. You just need a starting point.
Writing a video script is a lifeline that can help you be more confident and articulate when recording an effective video.
The reality is, whether you’re writing a screenplay, tv show, a movie, or a simple explainer video, a good script makes all the difference.
Scripts all contain similar types of information, like who’s speaking, what’s being said, where it’s being said, and other critical pieces of information.
Now, all this information can be super helpful. However, if you’re not creating a film that’s for entertainment, you probably don’t need all the nitty-gritty details or worry about the video production yet.
You only need a few simple steps and tips to write a great, easy-to-understand video script.
How to make an instructional, informational, or tutorial video script
One of the most common reasons people make videos is to walk others through a process. Before you write your tutorial video script, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my audience?
- What specific problem will the tutorial solve?
- What will the audience be able to do after watching this?
Considering these factors will help set you up for success. After that, just follow the same steps as above!
You can format your script in a variety of ways, but generally, you need to have the same information.
Your script should include a few components:
- The words that will be spoken
- Information about the words
- Where they are said
- How they are said
- Any other helpful information information
You may also want to include an easy way to reference each line or sentence.
When you write a script, you can use whatever format best works for your needs.
I’ll walk you through just one example of a script that works particularly well for screen recording videos, animations, and videos that are mostly voiceover.
Step 1: Find a good spot to write a script
When it comes time to write your script use any tool you’re comfortable with, including pen and paper.
Consider choosing a writing environment that’s comfortable for you where you can focus and be creative. When you write, consider what you don’t have to say out loud. A lot of your message will be shared through visual components.
Keep your writing conversational and think carefully about the words you’re choosing.
Step 2: Use a template
Speed and consistency come from not reinventing the wheel every time you sit down to create something. It’s using the compound knowledge of what works and doing that time and time again. I’m not saying don’t innovate — but you don’t need to force yourself to come up with something entirely new every single time.
When I sit down to write a script, I don’t actually start with a blank page.
I start with a template and go through it step by step. And it’s helped us batch create video content every single month.
Here’s the script formula we use to create how-to videos:
The A.A.A.A Formula
– Attention (Grab their attention in the first line)
– Agitation (Agitate the pain that you can solve)
– Activity (Show them HOW to solve it)
– Action (Call them to action and tell them how to get the solution)
Use this general template when you’re creating a video, and you can write a successful script in less than 10 minutes.
Step 3: Be conversational
Scripts that we like tend to use words that are specific and focused. You should probably avoid buzzwords cliches and generalizations. You want your audience to clearly understand you, but not roll their eyes.
Step 4: Tell a story
When you’re trying to explain something clearly, make sure to follow a good story structure. Make sure your script, no matter how short, has a beginning, middle, and end. This will give the audience watching your video a familiar path to follow.
Plus, who doesn’t love a good story?
Step 5: Edit your script
As you choose your words, make each one work for a specific spot on the page. They need to have a purpose.
Once you have your first draft, go through your script and start editing, rearranging, and cutting. Cut out as much as you can. If it’s not moving you towards your goal, consider cutting it. You want your video to be as long as it needs to be to cover the required material, but as short as possible.
Step 6: Read your script out loud
I usually like to read my script out loud but make sure my message flows. It’s good to get away from people to ensure you can practice in peace.
I recommend you read your script out loud at least one time before recording or moving on in your process. Even if you’re not the one who will read it, this is a great way to make sure your message flows naturally.
Words that sound good on paper don’t always flow when they’re said out loud. You may find that there are changes you need to make based on how difficult particular phrases are to say.
It’s easier to make changes now than during the recording process.
Step 7: Get feedback
So, you’ve built your script, and you’ve read it out loud.
Finished? Well, not so fast.
If you haven’t yet, you also need to ask someone not involved in the writing to read the script.
As difficult as criticism can be, it has always made my scripts better. You can get your feedback through email, Google Docs, or other online methods. However, my preferred method is the table read.
Bonus! Set up a table read
For the table read, gather your reviewers. Whoever you choose is up to you, but make sure they are individuals who will contribute and have the project’s interests in mind.
Read through your script out loud. As you read, watch their faces, listen to their comments, take it all in. Now isn’t the time to defend your decisions, but ask questions and get clarification.
Side note: this doesn’t have to be an in-person meeting! You can do a remote table read via Zoom, Teams, etc.
If the conversation gets stuck, there are a few questions to have in your back pocket:
- Is the message clear?
- Does the script make sense and achieve its intended goal?
- Are there words that they would change?
After you get the feedback, decide what to incorporate. You can take a little or a lot; it’s up to you.
Even after running the table read, you may want the person recording the script to review it as well. Ask them to read it out loud. They may find parts of the script to be a mouthful.
In an ideal situation, you’ll be there listening and making notes. As they read it out loud, make adjustments on emphasis and word choices if needed. As you listen, you may find things you can clarify or points you’ve missed.
Whether you make a YouTube video, an instructional video, or another type of video, a good script will save you from many common pitfalls. Most of all, it will keep you on track and make your message clear.
Oh, and after this entire blog post, if I still haven’t convinced you to write a script, you can always create a basic outline. That may be just enough to keep you afloat.
For some great scriptwriting tips, check out the video below!
Video Script Template: Our free scriptwriting course breaks down how to write a script and gives you a perfect script template for all of your video projects. Get started today!
Frequently asked questions
We recommend making your video as long as it needs to be to cover the material, but as short as possible.
Not at all! The tips in this blog and the links we provided can help even first time video creators make great scripts.