How to write a script.

by Tanya Klumb

Start the new year off with us. Learn about the most important part of every video production project.

Scriptwriting.

Voiceover, music, visuals, graphics—these aspects of production help magnify your story. But to begin, your story needs to be put on paper first.

Scriptwriting is the most important aspect of creating a video or commercial. So we take on a great deal of responsibility when crafting our clients’ messages. The good news is that with practice and an open mind you can write an exceptional script. Review this guide so you can make sure your script is a success.

1. What are your goals?

Start with an outline of your goals. Identify the correct elements you need by answering these six questions:
  • Why do I want to tell this story?
  • What’s my unique angle?
  • Who is my primary audience?
  • Why will this audience care?
  • What value will this provide?
  • What should my audience take away from this?

Make sure to be short and brief with your answers. By compiling these needs—not wants, you can begin to start crafting your story.

2. Create a strong story arc.

The lack of a real story is the number one problem with videos and commercials. Brand videos or direct response commercials, it is best to tell a story. A story that will be remembered. Yes, you can state one point after another. This could be a start to a good outline for your video script—does not a good story make.

A web video or tv commercial is to help you achieve a goal, it can only do that if you are engaging your target audience.

A good goal to remember is to meet the human need to know what happens next.

Start off with the hook.
This is the fact, statistic, or emotional reason for your audience to stay involved. It is the sticky glue. To make the most impact in the shortest amount of time is the key. If your tv commercial or web video is only 30-seconds this will have to happen in the first 5-seconds.
One message.
Don’t confuse your audience by trying to cram too much in. They won't remember it and it will dilute the entire message. Focus on your one story and then hammer it home with the music, visuals, data, and graphics.
Don’t only list data.
Data must always provide context to the story. Give your audience a reason to care about the data, and why it is important to them. Connect all the dots, and close all the holes.
Leave them with a takeaway.
What do you want them to feel, do, or act? Give them something to build upon. Make them feel invested in you or your product.

3. Call to Action.

You want to nail this one on the head. Not all spots have to end with your logo, a phone number or website. First, you have to figure out what you want your audience to do.
Do you want them to…
  • Share the video?
  • Sign up for a demo?
  • Subscribe to your newsletter?
  • Download a report?
  • Get involved?

Take a step back to the first section to revisit your goals. This will help you craft your actionable call.

4. K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple silly.
This is the most important part of scriptwriting. Once you have finished your script, it’s time to take the hacksaw to it and rip it to shreds. Cut, cut and more cutting. Want to borrow our delete key?
Remove descriptive words.
Take out all the words like “exciting” or “best”. Take out any long words. Keep everything short and sharp and to the point. A script is not a novel. Your target audience doesn’t have time to take the winding road as you get to your point.
Extra information.
Remove anything which doesn’t pack a punch.

Good editing isn’t about reducing word count. It’s about condensing everything down until you have exactly what counts.

5. Now rewrite everything for your audience.

Will they understand everything?
This means you may have to write it more simple or more sophisticated. Remember it is all about your audience and your script must for them. You don’t want to insult their intelligence or alienate them.
Is the subject relevant to your audience?
If it isn’t, then you must take the time to connect with them using your storytelling. You will need that emotional hook to make the connection.
Watch your vocabulary.
You may work in an industry that has terms or phrases that your audience doesn’t understand. Or, even acronyms which hold no meaning outside of your circle.

6. Choosing the appropriate tone.

Serious, funny, quirky. These all relate back to your goals and how you want your brand perceived. This is all about the emotion of your spot. Remember to be sensitive to humor. It can be taken many different ways. It is next to impossible to have everyone agree with what is funny.

7. Read. Read it out loud.

You need to be aware of how the voiceover is going to sound. Our brains wash over sentences when we are reading them. But once we speak them out loud we realize that no human in their right mind would ever say something like that.
  • Record yourself reading the script
  • Read it out loud until you can do it without slipping up. Rewrite it if you continue to have trouble.
  • Run the script through a program like this to judge the length. It is important to make sure you have plenty of time in a 30-second or 60-second television commercial. (Note: You will start to read your script faster the more familiar you are with it.)

8. Get and take feedback from others.

If you can try to make your pitch to someone in the target audience. See if they connect. Either way, make sure you run it by a few others to see if they get hung up or have any questions. An outside eye never hurts. Don’t take anything personally.
Writing a great video script takes practice. The more practice the better you will get. So start writing a lot of them. With a strong script, your video production studio can get creative.

Working with CutBoard Studio elevates your final tv commercial or web video to a cut above the rest.

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