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How to Write Video Scripts That Engage Your Audience

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
How to Write Video Scripts That Engage Your Audience

As videos and podcasts become increasingly popular forms of marketing and communications media, many business owners and marketing professionals find themselves needing to write video scripts.

This guide explains what you must know to craft these video scripts like a pro.

What Is a Video Script?

A video script provides instructions for how to tell a story, capturing movement, speech, and even technical directions. It’s different from other types of writing because people not involved in the production don’t read the final document. Instead, end-users see or hear it after it’s interpreted in a video or podcast.

What’s critical to remember when developing a script is that it will be interpreted. Your script is a blueprint that ensures you — or those performing it — don’t miss critical parts of the story and stay true to the structure, messaging, emphasis, tone, timing, and overall point of view of what you and your business want to convey.

Now that we have a baseline on what a script is and does, here are some tips to make yours shine.

You Don’t Need to Be a Stickler for Grammar in a Script

Only the people involved in the project need to see your script, so it doesn’t need to be grammatically perfect (though proper spelling grammar will help ensure clarity).

Writing for speaking versus reading are two different things. Your scripts should be natural and conversational. Writing in a style that’s overly formal or stilted will cause viewers or listeners to tune out. This could possibly leave a negative impression of your brand.

When speaking, people often repeat themselves and communicate in run-on/fragmented sentences. They pause and employ filler words that would never be used in formal writing but add a layer of human emotion.

Solid scripts help the speaker use words and pauses to amplify essential elements and better tell the story. They may aso leave room for on-the-spot changes and ad-libbing. You don’t need to write out verbal tics in a script, but you will want to include enough direction, interpretative space, and punctuation for someone to know how to add in their personality to help tell the story.

Tell Stories Within Your Story

Script writing typically requires two monologue types: active and narrative.

In an active monologue, a person speaks, trying to achieve a goal. This could be to change the viewer’s or listener’s mind, convince them of something, or communicate an opinion or point of view. Active monologue drives the overall narrative arc forward.

In a narrative monologue, a person tells a story within the broader narrative, often highlighting something that contributes to it. Narrative monologues often make an analogy or bring relevant context to a point. They could also be something personal or humorous that helps engage viewers or listeners.

In most scripts, you will use both active and narrative monologues. Just be sure to balance where and how long you pull the focus from the broader active monologue to the shorter, more detailed narrative monologues. If a narrative monologue goes on too long, viewers or listeners may lose the central arc of the video or podcast.

Never Read a Script in a Video or Podcast

We have said that you should write as you speak and focus on the structure of your script. It might seem that the ideal way to deliver a great script is to read it as it’s written.

That is not the case.

Once you write a script, work with everyone involved in the video or podcast and practice it. Over time, especially if it’s a presentation, pitch, or stump speech, everyone will get to the point of knowing — not merely memorizing — it. This deep understanding will help the final deliverable feel more authentic and less practiced.

The key to a successful delivery is knowing the script so thoroughly that you can tell the story rather than read the words. As mentioned earlier, this is why you should write the way people speak when developing video scripts. You’ll get to know the material more quickly and find your unique way of delivering the content. Through time and practice, you’ll develop delivery skills that will rival any newscaster or award show host.

Practice. Practice. Practice.

The more you write and deliver scripts, the better you’ll get.

In the end, strong scripts capture the way you want to communicate your ideas. The best script tells the story clearly but allows room for excellent delivery to elevate it. If you don’t nail it your first time out, don’t worry - you’ll get there with practice!

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