How to Write a Video Script

Learn how to tackle the task of scripting in just a few simple steps.

February 4, 2019

Topic tags

Chris Lavigne

Creative

Courtney Lefferts

Creative

Let’s face it — video scripting can feel intimidating. We get it! But don’t worry, we’re here to help you learn how to create a killer script formula, regardless of your experience level. With these tips in tow, you’re only a hop, script, and a jump away (get it?) from producing your next great video.

Start with a questionnaire

While you might be tempted to dive into scripting right away, it’s a good idea to pause and get a framework in mind for your video first. To do that, you can create a simple document or form (we like Google Docs) that asks questions like:

  • Who’s the audience?
  • What are the key takeaways from the video?
  • Where will the video live on your site?

Once you have the questions written down, collaborate with your team to come up with the answers — and use that as an outline for your script.

Get Inspired
Not sure what questions to ask? Download our questionnaire to get started today!

With these answers ready to go, you should be feeling pretty confident to start scripting. But, if you’re feeling stuck on the intro, don’t worry. You can always start with the meat of your script and then come back to the beginning at another time. Now, if you’re really, really stuck, feel free to borrow some of our intros and edit them to your liking:

From a blog post: “Hey! What’s up, I’m Trevor, and today…”

From a product video: “Hey I’m Jonah, and I’m a sales manager here at Wistia…”

From a front-page video: “Welcome to Wistia, we make video software for the video loving business.”

Keep it conversational

Now that you have a framework for your script, it’s time to put your pen to paper (figuratively, or literally). Keep in mind that your script doesn’t have to be a profound work of literature, but it should be clear, conversational, and engaging. Now, that might sound easier said than done, but writing conversationally isn’t as hard as you might think. Here are some easy tips for how to write in a conversational tone, as adapted from this copyblogger article:

  • Ditch the complicated jargon. Your script should be easy to read and even easier to understand for your audience. If you’re tempted to include buzzwords, try your darndest to leave ‘em out.
  • Imagine you’re writing to a friend. When you think of your audience as someone close to you, it’s much easier to write in a more natural tone.
  • Keep your sentences short and sweet. If your sentences drag on, you’re likely to get winded, and your audience is likely to get bored.
  • Give yourself permission to break the rules. It’s um easy to get stressed over grammar, but you want your video to feel natural. So, don’t be afraid to script in phrases or words that make the content feel more laid back.
Pro-Tip
Be sure to mark up your script to let the talent know when there’ll be a voice over (VO) and add any additional shot direction. Having more information, and knowing when they can read their lines, can help your talent feel even more comfortable on camera!

Now, if you’re still at a creative loss, we recommend looking up some videos comparable to your own. It’ll only take one or two examples to give you an idea of what works (and what doesn’t).

Drive your viewers to take action

If you want your viewers to take action, don’t forget to write it into the script! A solid CTA can help your audience know what to do after they’ve watched the video. If you use Wistia, then you can use Turnstile to collect email addresses, add a call to action (CTA), or even insert Annotation Links to direct your audience to even more content. Not sure what to ask? Here are some things you can ask your audience to do right from your video:

  • Read related content
  • Schedule a demo
  • Share the video
  • Contact you
  • Download your content

Read through your script out loud

Once you’ve drafted your script, before you even start shooting, you’ll want to do a table read (i.e., read the script out loud). Some phrases and words sound better on paper than they do out loud, which is why this practice can help you better understand the flow and message of your video. During this process, take time to goof around with inflection, and don’t be afraid to tweak your script to make it more natural. Oh, and be on the lookout for tongue-twisters. They happen more often than you might think. At Wistia, we keep the vibe at our table reads fun and light while staying attentive to the message.

Bonus tip: Want to be the table-read hero? Bring snacks.

Shoot your video

By now, you’ve gotta be feeling pretty darn good about your script, which means it’s time to shoot your video! One way to make your subjects more comfortable and sound more like humans and less like robots (without relying on teleprompters) is to break up your script into smaller, easier-to-memorize chunks. Later, these lines can be edited together with B-roll, artistic jump cuts, etc. We recommend doing whatever you can to make your talent more comfortable — your video will be better for it in the end!

Action Item
Create your own DIY teleprompter to aid in the process of reading, memorizing, and performing short lines.

Do it all over again

Once you’ve shot a successful video, you’ll have a questionnaire and process ready to roll for your next video project. That means all you need to do is keep practicing! Plus, you’ve likely learned a ton along the way — which will help you craft an even better script for your next video.

February 4, 2019

Topic tags

Chris Lavigne

Creative

Courtney Lefferts

Creative

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