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How to Create a (Useful) Video Script for Your Next Project

Rogelio Rodriguez
Feb 7, 2020 7:19:26 PM

Movie script and clapboard

Read Time: 4 Minutes


Improv comedy is great. Watching actors make spur-of-the-moment decisions often produces hilarious, memorable results. The formula works. Where does improvisation not work well? (Probably) your next video marketing project! 

A video shoot is a continually shifting experience. Equipment needs to work, and actors need to show up. The weather needs to cooperate. Coffee needs to be placed away from electric outlets. The list goes on. When just one of these items doesn't work out, the whole project can end up at risk.

Don't add to the list of potential issues by showing up to your next filming date without a great video script. Have a written plan in place that keeps directors, videographers, actors, and support staff all on the same page. If all these positions are split between just 1-2 people, the same rule still applies! Scripts are necessary, no matter the size of your video marketing project.

So how do you assemble a professional, useful document to guide your filming? Let's look at the anatomy of effective video scripts and how you can put one together quickly and effectively.

The Parts of a Video Script

Every video script contains two basic elements:

  1. The Visuals (where and what are you filming)
  2. The Audio (What's being said and who's saying it?)

Sounds simple, right? It really can be! Commercials and marketing spots are not Hollywood films, and they shouldn't be formatted in the same manner. Here's an example of a script from the hit television show (who knew how to end a series properly!) Breaking Bad

This approach works great for dialogue-heavy, lengthy productions like a tv episode or movie. Everything is there. The location of the filming, the time of day, visual descriptions, and actor dialogue.

We need something more straightforward for a video marketing your brand or business. We'll take the same elements as a Hollywood-level script, but arrange them in a simpler, more visual structure. This way, everyone involved, from a seasoned director to your cousin turning the lights on in the background, can be on the same page (literally).

Video Camera

Before You Begin

The script writing process needs direction and purpose, or else you're just wasting your time. The purpose of a marketing video is to promote your product or service. But there are questions beyond this needing attention. Consider mapping out responses to the following before sitting down to write a script:

  • Who is the target customer you're trying to reach?
  • What resources do you have available to film? (don't plan it if the budget isn't sufficient.)
  • What's the primary call-to-action you're presenting to the customer? 
  • What would make you watch this video to the end?
  • Where will you be sharing this video? Social media? Cable tv? 

Answering each of these questions will help you bring the project's scope into focus, helping you narrow down what to include and how to film the entire endeavor.

What to Include In Your Script

The formula is simple. Include essential information at the top, such as the title of the project, staff included, and the date(s) of filming. Then, create a page with three columns:

  1. Label one column, "scene."
  2. Label one column, "audio."
  3. Label one column, "video."

At the bottom of each page, leave a unified cell at the bottom to include any extra details the crew might need, such as special props or equipment required.

Work your way through each scene, including a new row for each time the camera changes the subject, or the dialogue progresses. It would be best if you had multiple rows for each scene unless you plan on filming a bird on a branch for 30 seconds.

Let's use an example to visualize what a solid video script would look like. Here's an example of a recent video from our channel, Inbound Academy:

Notice how the visuals include details on what the shot should look like, and the audio column includes the information on what the shot should sound like. Your video shoot will go from "what page are we on?" to "row 9 is all set!"

Table Read with Actors

A Bonus Step Worth Considering

Once your script is finalized, it's generally a good idea to practice it before the actual date of the shoot. This step can be as simple as emailing a copy to everyone for independent practice or as complicated as a table read with everyone in person.

If possible, choose the table read option. Getting everyone in the same room and reading the script out loud can identify any issues, such as dialogue that doesn't sound right. At the very least, ensure every individual has at least read the document so everything can go a little more smoothly on the big day.

Video is Worth Your Time - So Start Scripting!

Video marketing only continues to grow with each passing year. Businesses need to provide rich, diverse experiences to attract audiences and increase sales. Video is too useful of a medium to ignore!

To illustrate, 6 out of 10 people would rather watch online videos than television (Google). 85% of people in the U.S. watch videos online (Comscore). Of that, over half of video content is viewed on mobile! YouTube, the most visited site on the Internet, has over a billion registered users - almost one-third of all people on the Internet! Learn more about why video is worth your time in our article discussing video marketing benefits.

Learn more about where to start with our complete guide to video marketing.

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If you're looking to hire an experienced, results-driven company to help with your video marketing efforts, Rizen can help. Our clients continue to see growth each month thanks to quality video audiences love. 

Check out our free knowledge base on reaching today's customers or contact us to get started today. We can't wait to hear from you!

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