How To Improve Your Scriptwriting

As business owners looking to shoot and edit your own video, you’ve probably realised that an important part of your video is the planning - usually the script.

You’ve probably also found that scripts are pretty easy to write, so easy in fact that you’ll write pages and pages of them.

The shoot day comes around, and suddenly you want to murder whoever wrote all that!

So today, Head Beard Bruce takes a look at some easy to implement script-writing tips which will really help you to have a more successful shoot next time.

The first thing to recognise is that script writing, especially in a conversational tone which is often used for video, can be complex to write. It’s easy to bash away at your keyboard for a couple of hours writing your next business video, but the truth is, it’s harder than it looks.

So firstly, don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally, it takes a while to work out what you’re actually trying to communicate and you take a while to pick the skill up.

As with a lot of things - practice makes perfect.

Length of Your Script

So the most common issue with scripts is the length - usually they are way over where they should be. Often, a bit like video editing, the skill actually lies in how to deliver a short script - it’s what you can cut out, rather that what you can capture.

So how can we get a shorter script without loosing it’s key communication points.

Firstly - always write a head of time. And by this I mean when you’re in the right frame of mind and you have time. There is nothing like trying to write a script when you are under pressure!

Next, once you’ve written the script, put it to one side for a while. Then review it with a fresh set of eyes. You’ll quickly find things that can be cut down, simplified or removed altogether.

The constant questions you should be asking yourself are - is ‘how does this help the viewer?’, ‘is this a unique point?’ and ‘is this inline with my wider messages?’ - these are your core brand messages that you want to communicate. There is no point in talking about how fun a product is, if your sales point is actually around safety - stick to the point.

A good guide for video scripts is 120 words equalling a minute of video.

Aside from doing a word count, a simple way to keep your scripts short is use large font, then stick to one page of text. You’ll fill the page, but you’ll be writing a lot less.

Complexity of Your Script

Our other common factor that gets in the way of presenting is complexity of the script itself. We often find when shooting that sometimes you just need to let the presenter present the piece in their own words, but often it’s the script complexity that causes problems.

You don’t need to push everything into a script, it’s a visual medium - so put it to work.

A common example here is phone numbers and pricing. Firstly, we try to avoid pricing being said in any video we produce because if it changes, then the video is out of date. Text over the top however can be updated later. But with both prices and phone numbers it’s something quite specific that the presenter has to remember (if you aren’t using a teleprompter) and even if they remember, they can be tongue twisters. It’s easier, and often more effective, to use the visual medium of video to insert the number as text, usually at the bottom of the video.

And if you’re still not convinced… what’s easier - listening to a voicemail and writing down the number to return the call, or reading it off a screen to phone a business?

So keep your script and the words used as simple as possible. You don’t need to communicate everything to your viewer here - most of the time, a video is purely to get them to take the next step - get in touch or visit you website. From there, you can talk to them further.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Scriptwriting can be painful, but like anything, it’s a skill which over time will develop. But hopefully this article and its tips will help steer you in the right direction.

As ever - we would love to hear your thoughts down below, be it in relation to this, or to ask a different question.

If this topic has been of use/interest to you, we run a free Facebook Group: How to Shoot Video For Your Business - its specifically designed for business owners looking to learn how to shoot their own videos.

And, of course, if you’re looking for a video production company in Perth to assist with your next marketing video project then we’d love to have a chat.