How to write a Script

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

From the outset I want to emphasise that you should not just skip the scripting process because you feel you already know what you want to say in your video.

Image: Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

The principal value of the script is to focus your mind.

Starting with list of things to do gets your mind working and avoids the dreaded “Writers Cramp”

It need not be extensive and detailed, but you do need at least a rough plan to get your mind on track to ensure the filming and editing is effective.

Jumping in and “doing it by ear” is unlikely to get all the necessary content in the video - it will certainly be haphazard.

At least do the following:

  1. Think of your idea for the video - give it a title

  2. What are the goals?

  3. Know your audience?

  4. How long?

  5. Be Concise

  6. The Hook

  7. Call-to-action?

The Idea

Thinking of how you came up with the idea for the video and giving it a title - will cement that idea and focus your thinking.

What are your goals for the video?

What is it going to achieve for your business?

Who is your audience?

You know that from my previous blog.

How long will the video be?

The length of your video is paramount and is determined by your goals

I have pin pointed 3 types of promotional videos based on length and discuss these in separate tutorials as they involve quite different approaches.

a/ Short 30-60 sec Advertisement

b/ Informational video

c/ Instructional tutorials

3 minutes run time is what is recognised as what most of our “instant gratification” society will watch. This could be longer for instructional in-house videos

Of course the watch time will be a lot less if the content doesn’t grab your audience - content is the KEY it’s more important than how the production looks.

That’s why you should have researched your audience and be publishing in places they will be active.

So to say it again, compelling content, well presented, in a logical sequence will hold audiences for much longer.

Whatever you do - be concise

The Hook

The Hook will be different depending on which of the 3 types of videos I outlined before. More on the Hook later in the tutorial.


Image by Jan Alexander from Pixabay

What is the call-to-action?

Will it encourage clicks to your web site?

Have you asked for the sale?

Don't be too forceful, but at least encourage some further action

Now write that list of items you want to cover.

What I’ve discussed so far may be enough for you to get started.

It will all depend on your particular skills in talking to camera and your editing knowledge.

If you feel comfortable in front of a microphone and camera then go for it, if you decide to jump in, then I suggest you write with Bullet points.

Go for it and check out my Blog on “Whether to record face-to-camera or with just a voice-over”

Off you Go ✈️

Image by RENE RAUSCHENBERGER from Pixabay

Otherwise if you’re like the rest of us, you should consider the following:

  1. Write things down

  2. Outline

  3. Introduce yourself

  4. The Hook

  5. Write as you speak rather than as you would write a book

  6. Take breaks for the subconscious to provide free ideas

  7. Short and Snappy

  8. Visual images

  9. Include every word.

  10. leave it to mature overnight

Writing things down helps focus the mind.

This will then almost automatically lead to developing an outline.

I always write a list of topics before I start as a “Brain Storm”

Develop an outline.

This will then give you sub headings so your script will progress from one section to the next.

You should introduce yourself.

The 30/60 sec advertisement is unlikely to require personal introduction.

Whatever don’t spend too much time talking about yourself - just the basics. You are tying to create a bond with your audience not trying to be the best of buddies.

The Hook.

Next tell the audience what they will learn in the video.

This is the Hook - this is aimed at keeping your audience watching.

The Hook will be different depending on which of the 3 types of videos I outlined before.

In fact a 30 secs advertisement is mostly just the Hook and a Call to action. Whatever the Hook will best be the first thing in the video to gain attention.

For the other 2 types of video the hook should preferably have a comment that will keep them until the end of the video.

The Hook should preferably have a comment that will keep them until the end of the video.

Saying something like:

I will explain that at the end of the video

It’s also a good idea to keep adding hooks throughout the video. Keep suggesting things that are about to come up.

Like “in a minute I’ll explain that”.

Write conversationally.

Draft the script as if you are talking rather than writing.

Write in the script - “I’m about to”. rather than “I am about to” It will be easier for your to say in front of the camera

Take a break from time to time.

That’s of course without disturbing the creative juices - have a cup-a-tea - your subconscious will continue working to give you ideas for free.

Keep sentences short and snappy.

Need I say more?

Think about the visual and illustrations.

What will you add as video images that will be displayed while you are talking.

These need to relate to the subject matter.

They are known as “B” Roll.

When you talk about the “B” Roll on screen refer to it directly.

In this Pie Chart shown here” -- while the chart is shown on the screen

Every word.

If you are writing a full script, write every single word, it will keep you focussed when filming.

Of course, this doesn’t apply for those jumping in and using bullet points.

Leave it to mature overnight.

Unless you are pressed for time to get the video up urgently, it is best to save the file and come back to it in 24 hours or at least overnight.

You will see things in a different light with fresh eyes, because it’s easy to get too close to the script while writing.

You will be much more objective when you have been away for awhile.

Besides your subconscious will have had time to dwell overnight, and come up with new ideas.

Ask a friend to review.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

There are pros and con in having someone close to you preview your script.

I find that they tend to look for grammar and spelling mistakes rather than the content. This would be very useful if you are doing a written blog like this, but less useful when you will be reading from the script.

Remember what I said about it being conversational and suiting your way of speaking.

You decide if it is important to you to have the script reviewed.

What App should you use to script?

Any text editor will do fine, like Google Docs, Word or Textedit.

If you want a professional script editor at no cost look at Highland2

I use this as it has a side bar that shows the subject headings letting me jump to different headings.

I have used this for most of my 400 video tutorials on YouTube.

As a Final Tip:

Most importantly, think of how the content of your script will encourage your audience to go to your web page.

As I have said before, your web page is your shop, whether it has eCommerce or not, Just as you would want your physical shop to look attractive and inviting, do the same for your web page.

Once you have completed the script you can paste it into the free web teleprompter. Just copy and paste the text into the teleprompter and you are off and running.

I tell you about that in my blog where I discuss whether you film “face-to-camera” or just as a voice over.

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