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How to Write Video Scripts: Comprehensive Guide with Free Template

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views
7 min read
Posted:
January 30, 2024
Updated:
December 8, 2023
Author
Andrew Kozik
Reviewed by
Helena Raise
Posted:
January 30, 2024
Updated:
December 8, 2023

Contents

Creating compelling videos starts with crafting excellent scripts. A well-written script acts as the backbone for memorable, high-impact video content.

This comprehensive guide will walk through proven techniques for developing first-rate video scripts. We’ll cover critical steps like outlining, writing conversational dialogue, integrating visuals, and more. You’ll also get a downloadable template to make scriptwriting a breeze. Let’s dive in to unlocking the foundations of video success!

The Critical Importance of Scripts for Videos

You may wonder if you can just wing it and skip a script. Here’s why taking the time to write one is crucial:

Captures Ideas and Inspiration

The process of scripting allows creativity to flow and multiplies ideas you may have missed.

Ensures Clear, Concise Messaging

Scripts enable structuring narratives for optimal clarity and efficiency in conveying messages.

Saves Editing Time

Scripted videos require less editing time compared to fixing unfocused, unplanned footage.

Guides Recording Process

Scripts allow presenters and producers to stay on topic and ease nerves during shoots.

Provides Consistent Branding

Scripts align messaging and tone with brand identity.

In short, scripts are the blueprint for video success. Let's start writing one.

How to Write a Video Script Step-by-Step

Follow this proven video scriptwriting framework:

Identify Target Audience and Personas

Research viewer demographics, psychographics and needs to customize script appropriately.

Define Video Goals and Desired Outcomes

Establish goals like educating viewers, driving conversions, etc. to focus the script.

Determine Video Style and Format

Decide if it will be a commercial, tutorial, testimonial etc. which affects scripting.

Create a Content Outline

Outline key talking points, scenes, graphics and other elements before writing.

Write Conversational Script

Draft script in an engaging, relatable style that flows like natural speech.

Integrate Visual Cues

Note visuals like b-roll and graphics to complement dialogue in the script.

Call-to-Action

End script with clear desired next steps for viewers based on video goals.

Let's explore each step.

Know Your Target Audience and Buyer Personas

Defining target viewers is crucial for effective scriptwriting.

Conduct Audience Research

Learn viewer demographics like age groups, geographic locations and gender.

Understand Psychographics

Determine interests, values, attitudes, personality traits, and lifestyle factors.

Define Your Buyer Personas

Create fictional representations of key audience segments like "tech-savvy millennial" etc.

Empathize with Their Perspective

Put yourself in the mindset of personas by imagining their needs and goals.

With audience understanding, you can craft resonant messaging and style.

Clarify Your Video Goals and Desired Outcomes

Scriptwriting flows more smoothly when you establish clear direction:

Increase Brand Awareness?

Introduce and humanize your brand to new audiences.

Drive Conversions or Sales?

Motivate viewers towards purchases, downloads, subscriptions, etc.

Teach a Skill?

Demonstrate step-by-step how-to's for product use or tactical abilities.

Promote Offers or Events?

Spotlight special limited-time deals and upcoming webinars/conferences.

Reduce Customer Churn?

Re-engage audiences at risk of leaving through personalized content.

Defining tangible goals focuses your writing and desired call-to-action.

Select the Right Video Format

Video styles significantly impact scriptwriting. Consider these top formats:

Commercials

Promotional spots showcasing products, services or brand.

Explainer Videos

Animated or live-action videos simplifying complex concepts.

Tutorials

Educational step-by-step instructional videos.

Testimonials

Satisfied customers share authentic experiences and reviews.

Live Demos

Brand representatives highlight features and value through real-time demonstrations.

Match formats to goals to guide overall script direction, scope and style.

Outline the Video Script Content

Effective video scripts start with solid outlines.

Hook Audience Instantly

Devise an intro hook to capture attention like startling statistics or an intriguing question.

Explain Key Details

Break down complex details in simple, scannable sections using bulleted talking points.

Map Out Visuals

Note where you'll incorporate relevant b-roll footage, graphics, animations or other visual elements.

Time Dialogue Segments

Add estimated times for each script section to keep runtime controlled.

Sketch Scene Transitions

Outline flow between environments like office → home → park etc. with transition notes.

With a solid foundation, it's time to put words to paper.

Write a Conversational, Engaging Video Script

Bring your outline to life with an engaging first draft.

Use Relatable Language

Avoid complex jargon. Write naturally in plain language viewers use daily.

Incorporate Real-World Examples

Ground concepts in relatable analogies, stories and hypothetical scenarios.

Use Strategic Repetition

Reiterate core points frequently for reinforcement. But balance repetition with fresh delivery.

Ask Rhetorical Questions

Prompt mental participation by posing carefully crafted questions.

Mix Up Sentence Length

Combine short, medium and long sentences to add flow and verbal dynamics.

If it sounds natural read aloud, you've nailed conversational style.

Integrate Visual Elements and B-Roll

Effective scripts set up complementary visuals like these:

Motion Graphics and Animations

Note sections where animated infographics and typography could assist explanations.

Stock Videos and B-Roll

Identify areas to overlay contextual b-roll like nature shots to break up talking heads.

Screen Captures and Demonstrations

Use software walkthroughs to demonstrate and reinforce steps.

Photos and Still Images

Helps make abstract concepts tangible when concepts are hard to film directly.

Text and Graphic Overlays

Labels, definitions, subtitles and quotes add visual interest and emphasis.

With visuals mapped out, next comes final polish.

End with a Clear, Actionable Call-to-Action

Every script deserves a strong CTA closing the loop:

Match CTA to Video Goals

Ask viewers to complete desired actions like downloads, purchases, content views etc. based on objectives.

Make CTAs Concrete and Specific

Rather than "visit our website", say "click the link below to access the free trial".

Place CTAs Strategically

Put at the very end for maximum impact. But also intersperse additional CTAs periodically in longer videos.

Creatively Phrase CTAs

Like "join our community now" vs "sign up". Words with positive emotional resonance work best.

Use Supportive Visuals

Pair CTAs with relevant graphics like clickable buttons to further drive the desired action.

With a clear call-to-action, your script is ready for refinement.

CTA Examples

Top Video Scriptwriting Tips

Take your scripts to the next level with these pro tips:

Read Scripts Aloud

Identify awkward lines that sound better in writing vs speech through read-throughs.

Use Active Voice

Active voice like "our team delivers solutions" is punchier than passive "solutions are delivered by our team".

Avoid Filler Words

Cut unnecessary qualifiers like "really", "kinda", "sort of" that dilute messaging.

Enhance With Emotive Words

Liven up scripts with highly descriptive adjectives and adverbs that evoke emotions.

Keep Sentences Concise

Aim for simple, scannable sentence structures that are easy to absorb.

Polish and practice your script for smooth, natural delivery.

Recording Tips for On-Camera Talent

For polished on-camera delivery, advise presenters:

Practice Reading Script Aloud

Familiarize yourself with the pace, cadence and tricky lines beforehand.

Convey Personality

Bring your natural energy and relatable charm to the read.

Use Measured Vocal Variety

Avoid monotone. Strategically vary volume, tone and inflection.

Look Into Camera While Speaking

Maintain eye contact consistently for heightened engagement.

Use Gestures and Movement

Complement speech with natural head nods, relaxed arm motions and shifting postures.

Preparation and practice enables nailing line delivery with charisma.

Streamline Scriptwriting With Templates

Video script templates accelerate the creative process:

Establish Consistent Formatting

Templates facilitate quickly drafting scene headings, actions and dialogue with uniform styling.

Include Reusable Components

Like branded intros/outros, calls-to-action, lower thirds and transition wording.

Pre-populate Visual Cues

Embedded notes prompt consideration of visual elements.

Provide Helpful Structure

Templates serve as fill-in-the-blank tools guiding comprehensive script creation.

Enable Batch Production

Format consistency speeds writing a series of videos based on a proven model.

Access our free professional video script template here to jumpstart your next video: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S9id0Xjeu6XqRAPCfAnBiBPIOQNaMLnmLtPM7ZUf_9w/edit?usp=sharing 

Enhance Video Scriptwriting with ScreenStory

While writing a solid script is foundational, recording compelling footage requires effort. This is where ScreenStory provides transformative value.

ScreenStory is innovative software that makes it easy to record professional on-screen videos and tutorials on Mac. With just a click, its intuitive interface starts capturing polished footage optimized for any script.

Smart features like automated zooming and cursor highlighting dynamically guide viewer focus without laborious editing or camera direction. Built-in styles, templates and effects accelerate post-production.

For creators seeking to simplify high-quality video production, ScreenStory eliminates friction. Take your video scripts from page to screen swiftly.

Try for free and see how ScreenStory can transform scripting into video success!

Conclusion

An impactful video starts with an exceptional script. Use our techniques to outline smartly, craft compelling dialogue, integrate visuals seamlessly, and end powerfully with a motivated call to action. Plus, leverage templates to expedite the writing process.

With these frameworks mastered, your messages will resonate and your viewers will take action. Now it's your turn to grab viewers' attention and hold it with the magnetic pull of superior scriptwriting. Action!

FAQs

What is the standard script format for videos?

Standard format includes scene headings, actions, character names and dialogue. Some also use dual-column layouts separating visuals.

How long should a video script be?

Plan scripts for roughly 100-150 words per minute of runtime. But focus first on fully expressing your core ideas concisely vs word count.

How much detail should video scripts include?

Include main talking points, dialogue, and concise descriptions of visuals. Avoid extremely granular technical direction reserved for storyboards.

What's the difference between a script and storyboard?

Scripts focus on dialogue and high-level visuals. Storyboards detail exact shot framing, transitions etc. Scripts come first in the video creation timeline.

What's the best software for writing video scripts?

Many use general screenwriting software like Final Draft, Celtx, Scrivener and WriterDuet which include templates and formatting presets.

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