Writing for video is becoming an essential skill for those in media and communications. But many people in those fields have never written a script or they’ve tried and realised it isn’t as easy as it looks. A video script is considerably different to other communications documents, as the script isn’t the end product, but still needs to be well-written to ensure that the video has a strong structure. Here are some tips you can use when working with a writer, or preparing a script of your own for the purposes of a video shoot.
Separate Audio and Video
This is a fundamental difference between video scripts and feature films scripts. In short form scripts for TVCs and corporate videos, the emphasis is on how the visuals will pair with the voiceover or dialogue. With that in mind, video scripts are separated into two columns for AUDIO and VISUALS.
This format will separate the two information streams coming at your viewers. To do this, you have to have a pretty good idea of what you want to see in the video as you will need to go through shot by shot to describe the action and the accompanying voice over/music.
There is a time and a place for beautiful poetic descriptions, but a video script is not that place. When you are writing the visual side of the script, forgo the flowery descriptions for a clear, concise description of what you want to be seeing on screen. Instead of writing, “Shots of equipment and products,” write something like, “Moving shot of a Delta 1000 machine working.” This way when the numerous other parties get involved in the video production, they won’t have to come over and ask question after question, it will be all right there in the script.
Be a Storyteller
Even if you’re presented with the task of making a corporate video with no real “story” to speak of, you can still use the principles of scriptwriting and storytelling in your script. Your script doesn’t need characters and plot and a twist ending, it just needs some narrative momentum to keep the viewer asking, what’s next? By structuring your script so you raise questions first and answer them later, you create narrative tension and your audience will want their curiosity satisfied.
State Your Video Script Objective
Before you even get the laptop out to write your video script, you should imagine the various circumstances where people will be watching this video. Will they be watching on social media or on your website? Have they heard of your brand before or are you looking to build awareness of your products? Even more basic questions should be asked too. How long is the video going to be? What is the call to Action? Will you be uploading to YouTube or Vimeo?
As the scriptwriter, you might not necessarily know what the brand’s strategy is, but that is what you’ll need to learn from those in charge of marketing before you sit down to write the script.
If you’re looking to create a compelling video script for your project, get in touch with Dream Engine today.
Ryan Spanger is one of Melbourne’s most respected and sought-after video production professionals. Ryan founded Dream Engine in 2002, and specialises in helping medium to large corporates, government departments, and the non-proﬁt sector to connect with their audience more effectively by using video.