Writing is hard – and writing for video can be a nightmare for some. Whether you’re writing a script for a corporate video or putting together some executive interviews, it’s can be a huge challenge to put together your first video script – but we’ve got five tips that can help you as you write and film your first video.
1. Write naturally
This is one of the hardest things to do for a first time scriptwriter. Often, when writing, we adopt a more formal tone – we don’t write as we naturally speak or interact.While this is a natural phenomenon, it is to be avoided when writing a script – after all, the script will be read by either a voiceover artist, or the lines will be spoken by one or more participants in the video itself.If you try to write a script as you would, a poem or a story, it will feel strange and stilted when spoken out loud. A good way to help avoid this is to read your script out loud to yourself as you write – does it sound natural? Do the lines sound as if they would be spoken by a real person, or do they sound too “writerly?”
2. Understand length limitations
If you’re writing a short video script for the first time, length can be a real challenge. You’ll be tempted to try to crowd in as much information as you can by writing an information-rich script and trying to simply blast out as much informational content with your voiceover or line reads as possible.But in order for your viewer to really comprehend a message, you have to slow down. A lot. Typically, a word-speed of about 125-150 words per minute is appropriate.This means that if you are writing a 3 minute video, you have about 450 words you can say in your script – and that’s if you don’t include introductions, breaks, or ending credits. Understand these limitations, and be ready to work around them.
3. Make sure you have a point and get to it quickly
It’s tempting to try to get artsy, or give your video piece a long introduction – it leads to a cinematic experience that’s quite nice for a videographer or video producer.However, this type of indulgence should usually be avoided. When your audience knows that they’re dealing with a short, informational piece of content, their expectations will unconsciously adjust – they will expect informative content to start flowing almost immediately.The entire point of your video – a sort of “thesis statement” on what it’s about – should be explained within 30 seconds.If your script is about a new product, for example, it should be mentioned (along with whatever benefits or advantages it offers) within 30 seconds, in a clear and concise sentence that makes it clear what the video is about, and allows the viewer to “buy-in” so that they will keep watching.
4. Share your script and be prepared for revisions
5. Prepare for different levels of performances, especially if performing interviews
Most people aren’t actors. Most people don’t like performing. Most people don’t even like talking to a camera. And this is a hard thing to prepare for, in your script.Performing simply isn’t natural for most human beings – they may feel uncomfortable, forget lines, speak with odd, stilted voices, or just be very nervous.This can also be the case in interviews – your subject may not say exactly what you want to hear, and you may have to do some reshoots.Be prepared for that, and the time that it will take – not everything will go according to your script.As you continue to film your subjects, they will grow better at performing – even just in a few short minutes. Have patience and understand that this is part of the process.Writing your first script will probably be a struggle. But don’t give up. Writing scripts and filming videos is an extremely gratifying process, and once you get that perfect script, and film a great informational content piece to go along with it, your labors will be rewarded.
Written by Tristan Pelligrino
Tristan Pelligrino is the Co-Founder of Motion. He’s a serial entrepreneur who started his career as a consultant with large IT companies such as PwC, IBM and Oracle. After getting his MBA, he started and grew one of the fastest video production companies in the country – which was listed on the Inc. 5000. Tristan now enjoys leading the content marketing strategies of some of the most innovative B2B technology companies in the country. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook.