TIPS ON WRITING A GREAT SCRIPT!

Writing a script not only organizes your thoughts but also saves you with recording and editing time.  You’ll know exactly what to say during the recording process, and you’ll have fewer mistakes to edit out later.  Scripts are especially crucial for longer videos, keeping you on track so your video doesn’t end up longer than it needs to be.

Promotional videos consist of the following reasons:

  • Brand awareness

  • Drive sales

  • Drive traffic

  • Increase customer engagement

  • Educate customers

 

Questions to ask while developing a script:

  • What is Your Product or Service All About (in One or Two Sentences)?

  • Who is the Target Audience?

  • What Specific Problems are You Trying to Solve?

  • What are Three Key Benefits You Would like to Highlight?

  • How Does Your Product or Service Work?

  • What Tone Would You Like the Video and Presenter to Use?

  • Is There a Call-to-Action We Should Concentrate On?

Choose a direction. To give you some ideas, here’s a list of possible directions you could go in:

For example, let’s say you’re a new company that wants to create an intro video for the homepage hero on your site; the goal of the video is to introduce the brand and get people to sign up.

  • Introductory: tell your audience who you are, explain your mission, etc.

  • Explanatory: explain how something works (like your product or a specific feature)

  • Problem/solution: show the old way/new way and how your product is the solution

  • Narrative: use story elements (like plot, conflict, resolution, etc.) to subtly introduce or explain something

  • Drive action: get the audience to do something (i.e. — shop now)

  • Product-focused: introduce or showcase a specific product or feature

  • Testimonial: interviews, quotes, sound bites, etc., with customers around a specific topic or theme

  • Endorsement: use of celebrity or influencer approval/likeness

  • Informative: educate your audience about something specific, tutorial-style, etc.

  • Entertainment: delight or inspire your audience using story, humor, etc.

Keep It Simple:

You've only got seconds to get and keep the audience's attention.

Keep all features short and make sure they're created in easy-to-understand language.

Don’t make it to text heavy. Ensure that scene has enough negative space for you to add that text in without looking too crowded.

Don’t overwhelm the reader in text where they are taken away from the visuals.   It may sound like a minute detail, but if this one shot is why you’re doing the video in the first place, it’s important to map out these details ahead of time.

Using more words than necessary weakens your video, as does using overly complex words. The best advice is to keep your videos short, simple and direct.

After the first draft, go through your script again and cut, cut, cut! Make sure that every word serves a purpose and look out for these killers:

  • Long words: If there’s a simple way to say it then reword it.

  • Too much information: More Information is not always better.  If it seems like a certain detail doesn’t add much to the story, cut it, and move on.

WORD COUNT TIMINGS

MAXIMUM WORDS/SECONDS

23 words - 10 seconds

35 words - 15 seconds

70 words - 30 seconds

140 words - 60 seconds

 

Choose a visual style:

The visual style of your video can come to life in many different ways, but here are some general ideas for how it can be done:

  • Animated — illustrated (or “cartoon-like”) in style and brought to life through animation (2D, 3D, etc).

  • Real people — as in actors who play out the characters you’ve created; this may or may not include dialogue (depends on your script).

  • B-roll —supplemental or alternative footage typically used in-between “main shots” or used as background, action, or flashback-style scenes.

  • Stock — the stock video you can purchase to create your story (usually used sparingly, versus the entire video being stock).

  • Live-action — combining real-life footage with elements of animation or special effects.

  • Screencast — a digital recording of a computer screen often containing movement, audio, or some type of demonstration.

  • Whiteboard — This is similar to a screencast, except imagine a hand holding a marker as it writes on a whiteboard (it can be any type of writing instrument/writing medium). This is usually used to write out a message (leading the story with visual text), create drawings, etc.

  • Phone/tablet/app — again, this is sort of similar to screencast, but you’re showing something specific on the device (like a scrolling website, an action like clicking an icon, etc)

What Tone Would You Like the Video and Presenter to Use?

Below are some various tones you can explore for your concept and creative direction:

  • Dramatic — moves you emotionally. Example: P&G Olympics commercial

  • Straightforward/informative — clear and concise. Example: gumroad

  • Conversational—casual and authentic. Example: Glossier “get ready with me” video

  • Urgent— urges you to take action, like now. Example: Macy’s holiday sale

  • Fun/playful —uses fun creative devices (like anthropomorphism, for example). Example: Slack

  • Humorous — comedic; makes you laugh or smile. Example: Old Spice

  • Quirky — use peculiarity or the unexpected to drive home a point. Example: Zazzle

  • Cutesy— something that makes you go, “awww!”. Example: Cheerios

  • Entertaining — aims to inform and entertain. Super Bowl ads typically fall under this category. Example: Nerd Skin Care

  • Inspirational —use inspiration to drive action (manifestos are typically done in this style). Example: Squarespace

  • Artsy /hip/cool— feels youthful, stylish, trendy, etc. Example: Converse

  • Luxurious — shiny, fancy, flashy, sexy, rich. Think luxe car commercials, high-end hotel chains, etc. Example: Vegas Hotel commercial

 

Call-to-Action:

What are the “takeaways” of the video…what should viewers learn from watching it? What do we want viewers to do after they’ve watched the video?

Every commercial should have a call-to-action (CTA) that asks the audience to call for more information or to buy the product. The CTA creates an urgency to take action.

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