How to write a video script [step by step]

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Film producers and inbound marketing professionals are not so different when it comes to creating and editing video content.

Both have a history and, regardless of whether that story revolves around a protagonist or a product, the two try to engage the audience and make them believe in our history.

However, the end of the story is a little different.

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While filmmakers try that at the end of the film, viewers feel or think in a certain way, professionals inbound marketing want people finish watching the video and carry out an action specific (either subscribe to a blog, complete a sales opportunity or register on a test product).

Most marketers performs many tasks simultaneously, but, truth be told, the video production is usually not your favorite. This is because you create videos can be an overwhelming process, especially if you are new to this practice. 

Also, if you identify more with copywriting (like me) that making videos, you could ignore the importance of the planning stage of the production process, which is the part that actually reinforce the concept, objectives and the script for your video. Unlike what used to think, is not simply rewrite a blog post, but there really is a specific way of writing a script to create an effective video.

And that’s exactly what we will discuss in this article: how to write a script video effectively to ensure that you achieve the best possible product with your editing software, and you can place it in any publishing platform.

How to write a screenplay video

1) begins with a summary or  brief

Although you could see tempted to skip this step, do not.

By starting with a summary, you can document the answers to important questions the project so that all participants in the creation of the video are in sync. If you find yourself halfway through the editing process and your boss or colleague want to completely redo a part of the video, you could see a big problem.

When a similar complex situation that hinders the progress of work arises, you could just see the summary containing the objectives and the project plan you developed with your team and show proof that they had agreed at first. 

That way, you’ll move forward.

As you create the summary, focus on your objectives, theme and key points

The summary need not be sophisticated or respect a specific formula, but should include some basic questions to develop an effective video script. 

  • What is the purpose of this video? Why we made the first video?

  • What is the audience for this video?

  • What is the theme of our video? More specific as you are here, the better. For example, if you dedicate yourself to painting houses, you could choose the theme “how to buy the right brush”.

  • What are the key points of the video? What should learn video viewers?

  • What is our call to action? What viewers want them to do when they finish watching the video?

You can easily create a summary in Google Documents function as a real dynamic template and you can check with the time (and where your team can collaborate).

2) Compose the script

Once you’ve chosen the theme, it’s time to write the script.

Like the summary, the script of the video does not need to be sophisticated. The intention of your script is not to win an award for excellence, but it is strictly functional. A good script makes those who have to represent front of a camera can transmit the message effectively and naturally.

Write in a conversational tone

Writing a script is not the same as developing a college essay or a report marketing research. You have to write the script for the way you want the characters speak in the video. A phrase like “I’ll create a video when you finish reading this article” will air much better on camera that “I will create a video after finishing reading this article.” Be sure to use short and concise sentences; if possible, avoid compound sentences.

Be precise

A script not only includes dialogues. If the video requires several shots, characters or scenes, includes all that information. Be sure to add the necessary details about the set or the actions of the protagonists, for example, a change of clothing.

Basically, you must ensure that the script is accurate enough for you to understand all persons involved in the recording.

Write for the audience and the platform

Your audience is made up of teenagers, young professionals or retirees? ¿Your posting video on Instagram, YouTube or your website? Be sure to keep a chord conversational tone to people with whom you try to interact (and modifies the mood, tone and style as appropriate). In addition, if the idea is to publish a short-form video on Facebook, it is preferable to write a short script with sentence fragments. On the other hand, if you want to produce a comprehensive explanatory video for your website, make sure it’s as detailed as possible.

Distinguish the main narrative of secondary narratives, overlapping text and voiceovers using different formats text or notes

For example, if you want your video first protagonist developing the main narrative appears and then a transition is made to a close-up shot of your product with a text overlay, you should write all these details in the script. Thus, anyone who read it will know exactly what to say in front of the camera and fragments corresponding to the editing process.

Observe then how do our friends Wistia in your video script Wistia’s scripting tips . Overlapping text is marked with the word “text” in bold capitals; audio brands appear in capital letters: “SOUND REWIND”; and secondary accounts or additional information shown in italics and parentheses “(with glasses)”.

Note: It may be useful to look at the video first so that this fragment of the script makes sense.


Source:  Wistia

It includes all the words in the script

Understandably, scoring just think of the main points of a script and then just improvise in front of the camera (especially if you know the subject). This approach makes it difficult to communicate a message as clearly and concisely as possible (which is what you should try to do in all the videos you to work), and usually will have to repeat the work several times.

That’s why we recommend writing to the last word. Believe me, if you follow this recommendation, keep the organization will achieve during filming and save a lot of time.

Prepares a short script

When it comes to marketing, the short videos perform better than long, but to create a short video, we first need a brief script. Try to make your script does not exceed 2 pages. And if you can write it into one, much better. Worth doing 2 or 3 rounds of editing the sole purpose of eliminating everything that is most in your writing. It could also be useful to read it aloud to identify opportunities to achieve a more conversational tone, or shorten the prayers.

The result will be a short, interesting video and allows simple editing process.

Use this template script

Write a script from scratch is much more difficult than from an example. To begin, you can download the script template in Word format we use to create this video with Wistia:

Already you have your script ready? Excellent! We have reached the last step.

3) Do a test

Now that you know how to make a script, it’s time for a dress rehearsal (ie, a first reading of the script in front of the camera).

Why is it necessary to test? Because some words look good on paper, but when you say them out loud, they do not sound the same way. The dress rehearsal is time to adjust the tone and remove anything that sounds too formal, strange, robotic or otherwise inappropriate for the message you’re trying to convey.

Check out the video below on how to conduct a dress rehearsal:

One last tip …

When recording, using a laptop computer and a chair like teleprónter

In the same way that you do not need an elaborate script, nor do you need a sophisticated teleprónter to remember the lines. But if you need help remembering the text. You can just use two elements that already have ( a chair and a laptop ) to have the text at hand while you’re recording.

If you want more tips on how to use the tools you have at your disposal to create a fabulous marketing video, check out this guide to record videos with iPhone.

Do you have other tips to help marketing professionals to produce excellent video script? Share your comments below.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in November 2013 and was updated for purposes of accuracy and completeness.