Video scriptwriting is equal parts art and science. You’ve got to juggle the message, audience, video length, and the golden call to action. And while there’s no magic formula for writing an effective video script, there are some tips and tricks that can help you build a video that works.
I like to think of it as though you’re an architect getting ready to build a beautiful house.
The carpenters and other “trades” will take your “plans” and build your vision.
So it all starts with a blank slate.
How do you begin?
Begin With the End In Mind
Video gives us a unique opportunity to create a compelling visual and auditory experience that enhances the call to action. So the first thing we might imagine is…
Visually Compelling CTAs
In a video about home gardening, instead of just saying “Click here to download our free ‘Garden Makeover Guide‘,” show a quick montage or time-lapse of a beautiful garden coming to life. Here’s how it would look in a two-column script and a few other examples.
For a video about home gardening:
|A quick montage of beautiful gardens flourishing from seed to bloom.|| NARRATOR|
Dreaming of your own garden oasis? Your journey starts here. Download our free ‘Garden Makeover Guide’ packed with unique ideas and expert tips.”
For a cooking course video:
|Mouth-watering dishes being prepared and plated, close-ups of the vibrant colors and textures.|| NARRATOR|
Are your taste buds tantalized? Craving more culinary adventures? Join our ‘Kitchen Chronicles’ newsletter and master the art of cooking.”
For a fitness video:
|A montage of people exercising, overcoming challenges, celebrating fitness milestones, shots of community and camaraderie.|| NARRATOR|
Ready to conquer your fitness goals? Join our fitness community on Instagram for daily workouts and motivational tips.”
For a mindfulness video:
|Serene imagery of nature, calming sounds, people meditating, practicing yoga, and enjoying tranquil moments.|| NARRATOR|
Seeking peace in a chaotic world? Dive into tranquility with our ‘Mindful Moments’ blog. Your journey to serenity starts here.”
Secret #1: Use a Proven Framework
Don’t cobble your script together. Pick a tried-and-true framework that can hold up.
For shorter videos ranging from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, you’ll want to use frameworks that can succinctly and efficiently carry your message.
Here are the best ones for this purpose:
1. PAS (Problem-Agitation-Solution):
The PAS framework starts by identifying a problem that the viewer is facing. Then, it agitates or amplifies that problem, making the viewer more aware and eager for a solution. Finally, it presents the solution to that problem. This framework is great for videos that aim to address a specific issue or problem that the viewer is facing. It’s often used in promotional videos, advertising, and sales pitches where the goal is to motivate the viewer to take action to solve their problem.
A more complete version of PAS is PASTOR which comes from my friend and mentor Ray Edwards.
You’d be well-served to hook into his training and incorporate this into your scriptwriting.
2. AIDA (Attention-Interest-Desire-Action):
The AIDA framework begins by grabbing the viewer’s attention. Then it fosters interest in what you’re offering, creates a desire for it, and finally, prompts the viewer to take action. This is a classic marketing and sales framework that’s ideal for any video where the goal is to persuade the viewer to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or subscribing to a channel.
3. BAB (Before-After-Bridge):
This framework demonstrates a clear transformation. It starts by painting a picture of the ‘Before’ scenario, introduces the ‘After’ scenario, and then bridges the gap with your product or solution. This is excellent for product demonstrations, transformational stories, or any video that highlights the impact of a product or service.
4. The “Why, What, How” Framework:
This framework aims to answer three fundamental questions. Why should the viewer care? What is the solution? How can they implement it or take advantage of what you’re offering? This is versatile and can be used in tutorials, how-to videos, educational content, and product reviews.
The QUEST framework is a journey from problem to solution. It starts with a compelling question, seeks to understand the viewer’s needs, educates them on a solution, stimulates desire, and then transitions into a call to action. This is effective for persuasive videos, sales presentations, or any video where you’re trying to motivate the viewer to take a specific action.
Each of these frameworks has its own strengths and is suited to different types of videos. By understanding your audience, the purpose of your video, and the platform you’re using, you can choose the most effective framework to create engaging and impactful content.
Secret #2: Simplicity Wins
When it comes to video content, remember that less is often more. While it may be tempting to stuff your videos with information, this can be counterproductive.
Keep your language clear and concise.
By doing so, you ensure that your viewers can easily follow along without feeling overwhelmed or confused.
Laser-focus on one key message that you want to convey through your video.
If you must, come at that message from various angles. Represent different sides of the argument until it feels fully represented.
In the end, your viewers should walk away with a clear understanding of what you are trying to communicate.
In short, taking a minimalist approach to your video content. Focusing on one key message helps you create engaging and effective content.
Secret #3: Speak to One Person
Imagine you’re having a one-on-one chat. You’re not addressing the faceless masses, but a single individual. See that person in your mind’s eye. Who are they? What piques their interest? What do they need to know?
Get to know them. Stick a photo of them on your wall, if it helps. Make it tangible. You’re crafting a story just for them – not for an audience of many, but an audience of one. It’s a small shift in mindset, but it can make a world of difference to your script.
Put yourself in their shoes. What would they want to hear? How would they want to hear it? Dial into their language, their tone. Speak directly to them. You’re not just providing information – you’re connecting, engaging, and answering their needs.
Video scriptwriting isn’t just a science, it’s an art. There’s no magic formula, no “one script fits all”. But with a few savvy moves, like visualizing your audience of one, you can up your game. The result? A more personal, persuasive script that hits the mark with your viewer.
So, before you dive into writing, take a moment. Think about that one person. And when you write, write for them.
Secret #4: You’re Not Writing. You’re Talking.
Sure, technically you’re writing down words on a page (or screen), but what you’re really doing is having a conversation. And the best conversations are the ones that feel natural and effortless.
The way to achieve this is to write like you talk. Just let the words flow out of you as if you were having a conversation with someone.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should just start transcribing your everyday conversations verbatim. That would be a bit messy (and probably not all that interesting to read).
Instead, focus on capturing the essence of the conversation. Write down the key points that you want to communicate, and then flesh them out with details and descriptions.
If you’re not sure where to start, try this exercise:
Pick a topic that you’re passionate about and imagine that you’re having a conversation with someone about it.
Now, start writing down what you would say. Don’t worry about grammar or sentence structure, just let the words flow.
Once you’ve got a few pages of dialogue, go back and tidy it up. Edit out any superfluous words or phrases, and rearrange the dialogue so it sounds more natural.
With a little practice, you’ll be writing great conversations in no time!
Secret #5: Hook ‘Em with What They Care About.
You’ve only got a few ticks of the clock to grab your viewer’s attention. Make your opening line a doozy that sets up the rest of the video just right.
The best way to do this is to start with what your viewers care about. Why are they watching this video? What are they looking to get out of it? Address these questions right away and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping their attention.
If you’re not sure what your viewers care about, take a look at the comments and questions they’re leaving on your other videos. This is a great way to get a pulse on what’s important to them and what they’re struggling with.
Once you know what your viewers care about, you can hook them in with a powerful opening line that sets the stage for the rest of the video. So don’t underestimate the importance of a good opening line – it can make or break your video!
Here’s a way to get them to care:
Secret #6. Tell a Story
Folks love a good yarn, especially when they’re watching videos. As you script, think about spinning a tale that’ll hook your viewers and drive home your message.
A good story has a beginning, middle, and end. Start by introducing your characters and setting the scene. Craft a conflict that your protagonists must overcome and introduce suspense to keep your audience engaged. Finally, provide a resolution that gives your viewers closure and leaves them wanting more.
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into telling a good story. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional novelist to write a compelling video script. Just remember to focus on creating an engaging narrative with interesting characters and a satisfying resolution.
If you keep these secrets in mind, you’ll be well on your way to writing a video script that’s sure to captivate your audience from start to finish.
Secret #7: Abstracts on the Soundtrack, Specifics on the Screen
“Specifics on the Screen”:
It’s the old writing adage, “show, don’t tell“. The screen is where you demonstrate concrete, tangible aspects.
A character’s actions, a product’s appearance, the colors of a sunset – these are things we capture through the lens.
Our eyes take in these specifics and comprehend them instantly.
Use your visuals to paint a vivid, detailed picture that the viewer can see and believe.
“Abstracts on the Soundtrack”:
Words are the vehicle for abstract concepts. The soundtrack – particularly the spoken elements like voice-over, narration, or dialogue – is where you articulate ideas and emotions that can’t be seen or touched.
Words like “freedom“, “joy“, “frustration” – these convey abstract notions that can only be experienced internally. While visuals ground us in the physical world, words lift us into the realm of thought, feeling, and imagination. And unless you’re using titles or captions, the soundtrack is the only place in a video where words can do their work.
So, as you script your video, remember: use your visuals to show the specifics and your audio to express the abstract. This yin and yang approach, blending the concrete with the conceptual, can yield a video that’s not only visually engaging but also intellectually and emotionally resonant.
Paint Clear Pictures:
To make your videos stick in people’s minds, use words that make clear pictures. Instead of saying “a woman is walking,” make it feel real: “a woman strolls, her heels clicking on the sidewalk.” This helps your viewers feel more connected to your video.
Use specific details to make your scenes come alive. Don’t just say “a man is sitting at a desk.” Instead, say “a man is slumped over his desk, his head in his hands.” This helps your viewers see the scene more clearly and feel more connected to your video.
Write for the Camera:
Remember, videos are about what you see. Keep your sentences short and easy to show in a video. This makes sure your script and the images in your video work together to give your viewers a good experience.
Keep Things Moving:
Keep your viewers hooked by making your script full of energy. Make sure every scene moves the story forward. Cut out any parts that aren’t needed. This keeps your viewers interested all the way through your video.”
Secret #8: End with a Bang
Nothing’s worse than a whimpering finish. If you’ve managed to captivate your audience and keep them engaged until the very end, then you need to know about secret #8 – ending with a bang.
When it comes to writing a video script, the ending is just as important as the beginning. You need to make sure that your ending is strong and Impactful, leaving your viewers wanting more.
There are a few things you can do to make sure your ending is powerful. First, you want to make sure that your climax is as strong as possible. This is the part of the story where everything comes to a head, so you want to make sure it is exciting and suspenseful.
Next, you want to make sure that your resolution is satisfying. This is the part of the story where everything is wrapped up and your viewers should feel like they have gotten a complete story.
Finally, you want to make sure that your ending leaves your viewers wanting more. In TV this was sometimes done by cliffhangers or simply by setting up a sequel. Either way, you want to make sure that your ending is strong and impactful, leaving your viewers wanting more.
Don’t let your video fizzle out at the end. Finish strong with a powerful call to action or a memorable closing line that leaves a lasting impression on your viewers.
If You Use These Video Scriptwriting Secrets, Your Videos WILL Get Noticed!
With these additional tips, you can craft a video script that not only engages your audience but also inspires action! Good luck with your next project.