I’m often asked, “How do you write scripts for subjects you don’t know anything about?” I wish that I could respond with something like, “Oh, it’s a gift” – but actually it’s called research.
In addition to research, there are a few things that I always make sure I do when writing a script. Here are 5 Tips to Writing Great Scripts.
- Research – This is a no brainer. You can’t write about something if you don’t know anything about it. If you even try, someone will call you out on misrepresented facts. Do your research. Fortunately, it doesn’t require a full set of Britannica’s anymore, just some time online. Something key to consider, though – not all sites are legit. Make sure you get your information from someplace other than Wikepedia.
- Simple – Keep it simple. Too many details get lost in scripts. You’re not writing a novel, and you’re likely on a time crunch. Make sure you follow the key elements to the subject you’re writing about.
- Know Your Audience – When you’re writing a script, don’t assume who is going to be watching the video. Know who is going to be watching the video. If you’re writing script for a skin care commercial that is targeting Women ages 55+ it might not be a great idea to talk about teenage acne. If you’re writing a script for a luxury hotel chain, it might be best to focus on amenities rather than afforadability.
- Hook, Line & Reel – It sounds cliché, but it works. Start with a bait, hook the viewer and reel them in at the end.
- Overuse of Terms – Don’t go overboard and don’t be repetitive. It’s difficult to do it in a 30 second spot, but if you have a 5-minute video – you really need to be careful about choosing your words. It might be a great time to familiarize yourself with a thesaurus.
- Read It Out Loud – If there is one single piece of advice you take from this article, please let it be this: READ IT OUTLOUD. If you or your client wants a 30-second commercial, don’t make the script 40 seconds. If your you or your client wants a 3-minute company profile video, don’t make it a minute and a half long. Read the script out loud, record it on your phone – read it as if you were the voice-over, how you think it should be recorded for the video. And remember, sometimes there are bumpers at the end of the videos that don’t have any voiceover on them. Ask your post-production editor how long the voice-over needs to be. And remember, we can’t “squeeze” in a few more lines just because you think they are important.
Now with these 5 tips, maybe you can attempt your next video script, and if it’s just “not your thing”, no worries… it’s mine.