Have you ever tried to write a script?
Or have you hit the record button on your computer only to instantly realize you don’t know what to say? Without a script, you may feel like you are treading water, floundering.
It can be, well, kind of awkward.
But it doesn’t have to be.
An unscripted video wastes time, 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 for anyone to be more confident and articulate when recording their 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.
They 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.
You only need a few simple steps and tips to write a great, easy to understand video script.
How to write informational or instructional video scripts
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
- and 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.
And maybe choose a writing environment that’s comfortable for you, a place 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 about the words you’re choosing.
Step 2. 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 3. 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. That will give the audience watching your video a familiar path to follow.
And who doesn’t love a good story?
Step 4. Edit
As you choose your words, make each word work for a 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.
Step 5. 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 make sure you know 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 way to make sure your message flows.
Words that flow 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 change it now than during recording.
Step 6. Get feedback
So, you built your script, you’ve read it out loud, you probably think you’re done right?
Finished? Well, not so fast.
If you haven’t you also need to ask someone not involved in the writing to read the script.
Even if you are seeing an angry mob, it’s most likely your imagination running wild.
Don’t get me wrong, most people will want to tear your script apart. But I found as much as it hurts sometimes, 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.
Step 7. Set up a table read
For the table read gather your reviewers, and whoever you choose is up to you, but make sure that our individuals who will contribute and have the project’s interests in mind.
Gather your group, and read through your script out loud. As you read watch their faces, listen to their comments, take it all in. Now’s not the time to defend your decisions but ask questions and get clarification.
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?
- Were there words that they would change?
After you get the feedback, decide what feedback 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. And as you listen you may find things you can clarify or points you’ve missed.
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. And that may be just enough to keep you afloat.