This blog will concentrate on providing tips for writing a script for a myriad of applications including commercials, training videos, church announcements and more, and will detail the different ways script writing is one of the most essential parts of a professional video. We’re also going to share some tricks of the trade with you regarding ways to ensure that your script is as effective as possible.
Writing a commercial script can be a challenging and thrilling experience, but a commercial writer must know the guidelines for the company they are going to write for. Normally, a business will send guidelines for the commercial script before the assignment, and then ask that a script be written and submitted for consideration.
If you attempt to tackle this project yourself, here are some general guidelines to follow…
• Begin researching the commercial’s theme by watching as many commercials as you can, taking note of how the producers format a commercial from beginning to end while also looking at the ways actors are staged, posed or what they represent in style and look.
• Practice writing draft reviews of the commercial project, adding in suggestions and taking out elements as you keep revising; ask yourself who is going to watch this commercial and what they will want to take away from the message regarding product or service.
• Ask yourself if you would watch your own commercial all the way through…WITH enthusiasm. In fact, ask people to read your commercial’s script back to you and see what you think about it.
• Locate people to act out your script and see how you feel about it when presented; test the waters and look at what is effective in your commercial as well as what won’t work.
• Look your draft over and welcome constructive criticism on your own work. Be realistic here – ask yourself if your script will garner the attention of your audience or make them want to purchase the item.
• Make any final changes to your script.
Why Script Writing is one of the Most Essential Parts of Professional Video
Have you considered investing in a killer “explainer video” as we near the year 2016? You know…the videos that explain your product or service in 60 to 90 seconds, based on the attention span of the average consumer? These types of videos are a great way to engage potential customers and familiarize them with your business, but the tricky part is getting them right.
Since a video may likely be in the center of your homepage – thus one of the first elements your visitors come in contact with – it’s essential to nail it the first time. And in this realm, it’s all about the script. A well-written script is the key to a successful video because it’s the foundation upon which everything else is built. We can tell you from experience – it’s one of the primary things we do here at Green Screen Talent Now! – that it’s often helpful to leave this task to a professional external company (that is, writing your video’s script). By choosing a firm like GSTN, we can take a fresh look at your company and explain it in a way that anyone can understand.
Many professional video companies will insist you fill out a “creative brief” first, which assists in your thinking about your business at an “enhanced level” and forces you to define what really matters.
Addendum 1: Some Typical Example Questions Script Writing Services May Ask
• 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?
Once you complete this brainstorming process, the script writing can begin. Pros like Green Screen Talent Now will always refer to your creative brief when writing – whether it’s for a commercial, training video or house of worship announcements – because it helps us stay on the right track.
The Five Ways to Ensure Your Script is as Effective as Possible
Some of these will undoubtedly seem somewhat repetitive, as we touched on them earlier in the blog, but here we’ll put a closer focus on how each of them contribute toward making sure your script is as effective as possible. So that’s the goal in the following section: How to write an effective video script to ensure the best product emerges from the editing software and onto the publishing platform being used.
1. Start Conceptualizing with a Brief
Sound familiar? Yes, we touched on this above, but it’s still worth mentioning again. Though you may be tempted to skip this step, it’s not the wise thing to do…and we’re going to highlight why.
Creating a brief allows you and your team to document the answers to important project questions so everyone involved in creating the video can get on the same page. Why is this ideal? Well, imagine you’re three-quarters of the way through the editing process and someone in the loop decides they don’t like a part and wants to completely redo the whole shot where someone is demonstrating how your product solves a problem…doesn’t sound fun, does it?
When pesky predicaments like this one try to stall the wheels of progress, you can just refer back to that questionnaire/brief outlining the project’s plan and goals.
2. Focus on Goals, a Topic and “Takeaways” When Developing a Brief
The aforementioned creative brief is just the beginning – while it doesn’t have to be fancy or follow a specific formula, it should ask several key questions and answer them in order to craft an effective video script (as we also covered earlier):
• What’s the goal of this video? Why are we making the video in the first place?
• Who are we making this video for?
• What’s our narrow video topic?
• What are the “takeaways” of the video…what should viewers learn from watching it?
• What’s our call-to-action…what do we want viewers to do after they’ve watched the video?
GSTN Quick Tip: Different video projects may require your team to think through different aspects before you get scripting and shooting, so you may find that you have to add or subtract certain questions in the brief as you become more experienced with video creation.
3. Understand the Script Writing Essentials
Once you’ve picked a topic, it’s time to write that script…and just like the brief we keep emphasizing, the video script doesn’t need to be extravagant. Remember: You’re not – well, in most cases – trying to submit this script for any awards or have Steven Spielberg hang it on the wall in his office. Its purpose is strictly functional, making it easy for the people on camera to get their message across while sounding and acting natural and CREDIBLE.
Also important is to write in plain, conversational English; you can’t believe how many times we have told clients that writing a script for a commercial or video is not the same thing as writing a college paper or marketing research report. The script needs to be written from the perspective of the video’s presenter, and how you want that individual to speak.
4. Make it Thorough, Differentiate the Main Narrative, Script Every Word and Make it Brief
A script doesn’t just encompass dialogue, so if your video requires multiple shots, characters or scenes, include these details. Be sure to also include any necessary information about the set or stage actions such as a wardrobe change. If your video will transition from a subject speaking the primary narrative to a close-up shot of your product with a text overlay, you’ll want to “call that out” in your script. In other words, you’ll want to make sure your script clearly notes that there will be a change on screen.
Further, we suggest scripting every last word. Trust us – doing this will keep you organized during filming and save you loads of time down the road. We can also tell you that SHORTER videos are better than longer ones, and to achieve a short video you, of course, need a short script. Scripts longer than two pages are often not recommended, and if they can be kept to one page it’s even better.
5. Do a Table Read
This is the part when you practice bringing that script to life on the camera. Why practice? Because some words look great on paper but just don’t sound right once they’re read aloud. The table read process allows you to really hone the tone and axe anything that sounds too wordy, too proper/improper, too robotic or otherwise inappropriate for the message you are striving to convey.
In assisting you with how to write a commercial script, we can honestly tell you – based on our own experience assessing the framework upon which many video projects have been built – that the script is the most important aspect of the project. Like a blueprint for a physical construction site like a house or multiple-level building, the script is the blueprint or template of such creative mediums as film, video, radio and advertising.