So, you’re thinking of putting together a corporate video or a commercial? First you need a script. And for a commercial or marketing video, you’ll want to use an A/V script format. A/V stands for Audio/Visual. It’s a format that breaks down your script into two columns- what you hear (audio) and what you see (visual).
Imagine an A/V script like a playbook. It gives you a scene-by-scene breakdown of the visuals and sounds. It’s super helpful when you’re planning your project because it lets you figure out all your shots, audio, and visuals in advance. And guess what? It saves you loads of time and cash when you’re filming and editing.
Now, don’t confuse this with a Hollywood-style format. The A/V script stands out because it uses a simple two-column format. And the best part? While screenplays often need fancy software, you can whip up an A/V script in any old word processing program. Pretty neat, huh?
- An AV script separates a script into audio and visual components, making it easier to plan your shoot and communicate your vision to your team.
- The AV script is a more straightforward and efficient way to communicate your vision to your team, saving you time and money during filming and editing.
- The AV script is a great tool to use in your pre-production planning, allowing you to break down the script into specific shots and audio, making it easier to communicate your vision to the director, cinematographer, and sound designer.
What Exactly is an A/V Script Format?
An A/V script is an essential part of pre-production planning for video content. It provides a comprehensive breakdown of the visuals and sounds required for each scene. By separating the audio and visual elements, it ensures that everyone involved in the production has a clear understanding of what is required.
Those in the know will tell you an A/V script is not the same as a “shooting script.” A shooting script is a more detailed version of the script used during production. It includes camera angles, lighting, and other technical details. An A/V script is a precursor to the shooting script and is used during pre-production planning.
Creating an A/V script is a crucial step in getting your video content greenlit. It helps you to visualize your ideas and communicate them effectively to others. By breaking down each scene into its audio and visual components, you can identify any potential issues before production begins. One weakness you’ll find among those who aren’t trained scriptwriters is they’ll tend to write for the audio (what we hear) but not visual (what we see. That’s what a lot of copywriters do. Forgive them. They don’t know better.
But you do, right. At least you will after reading this. And before you’re done, you’ll have some links to some templates and even some software you can use for your next project.
Why is an A/V Script better than a Hollywood style format?
When it comes to writing scripts, there are two main formats to choose from: Hollywood style and A/V script. While Hollywood style scripts are great for movies or TV shows, A/V scripts are a better choice for commercials or other short-form video content.
Movies usually have huge staffs with several who manage and work with the script. Every actor and essential crew will have a copy. And they’ll do a “script breakdown” which turns what starts out as a manuscript into a very involved process. Unlike a Hollywood style script, which can be dozens or hundreds of pages long, an A/V script is typically only a few pages. This makes it much easier and faster to write, and also makes it easier for the video crew to shoot.
The two column format serves to inform everyone on the crew what need to be shot and recorded. Therefore, one of the biggest advantages of an A/V script is its efficiency.
A/V scripts are typically split into two columns, with the audio on one side and the video on the other. This makes it easy to see at a glance what needs to be shot and what needs to be said. It also makes it easy to make changes or revisions, since everything is laid out in a clear and organized way.
The Script is the “Blueprint”
An A/V script also serves as a blueprint for the video crew. Since everything is laid out in a clear and organized way, it’s easy for the crew to see exactly what shots they need to get and what needs to be said on camera. In effect, the script breakdown was done by the writer. This can save a lot of time and money, since the crew won’t need to spend as much time figuring out what they need to shoot.
An A/V script is also better suited to the needs of the audience. Since commercials are typically short, the audience doesn’t have a lot of time to absorb a lot of information. An A/V script is designed to be concise and to the point, which makes it easier for the audience to understand and remember the message.
Structure of an A/V Script
When it comes to creating an A/V script, structure is key. A well-structured script can help ensure that your message is conveyed effectively and efficiently. Here’s a breakdown of the key components of an A/V script:
The two-column script is a standard format for A/V scripts. You’ll see variations on which side goes where, but the audio, dialogue, and narration go on one side, and the video and visual descriptions on the other. Which side is best? You’ll find writers and agencies differ. Regardless, this simple format ensure that the audio and visual elements of your script stay synchronized and work together seamlessly.
Dialogue is an essential component of an A/V script. It’s important to keep your dialogue concise and to the point. Avoid using overly complex language or jargon that your audience may not understand. Your dialogue should be natural and conversational, and should flow smoothly from one line to the next.
The shot list is a critical component of your A/V script. It’s a detailed breakdown of all the shots you’ll need to capture to bring your script to life. Your shot list should include information about the camera angles, framing, and movement for each shot. This will help ensure that your videographer knows exactly what shots they need to capture, and how to capture them.
In summary, the structure of an A/V script is critical to its success. By developing a clear concept, writing in a two-column format, keeping your dialogue concise, and creating a detailed shot list, you can create an A/V script that effectively conveys your message to your target audience.
Crafting an A/V Script
Crafting an A/V script is an essential part of producing a video project. Whether you are a screenwriter, director, or assistant director, creating a well-crafted A/V script is crucial to bringing the written words to life. Here are some tips for crafting an A/V script:
A/V Script Template
Using an A/V script template is a helpful way to organize your script into two streams: visual and audio cues. A two-column A/V script template allows you to pair visual and audio cues together, making it easier to blueprint a shooting script. The director and assistant directors can co-create and visualize how to best bring the scriptwriters’ written words to life alongside the scriptwriter.
Here are some examples of A/V scripts:
- StudioBinder provides an Ultimate AV Script Template to help you write better ads. They also provide a detailed guide on how to write a commercial script using their template.
- Pixel Valley Studio provides an example of an A/V two-column script used for the demo video they created for Hostfully.com.
- SlideShare provides an AV script sample for a product marketing animation.
These examples show how A/V scripts can be used to plan and organize the content of different types of videos, including commercials, corporate videos, and documentaries. I hope these examples help you understand what an A/V script looks like!
Crafting a “commercial” can be challenging, and it’s mostly done by ad agencies. If this is something you’d like to work on, it’s essential to know where you’re going. When writing a commercial script, it’s important to be clear on what you must deliver. That’s why it’s wise to use professional standards when writing “spec” scripts or showing an agency your portfolio. Those that know the right tools to use are viewed as “insiders.” It’s not just who you know, but what you know that makes the difference. Being sloppy in your choices can detour your vision if you’re not careful.
Thankfully, it’s simple to learn how to write a commercial script. Using an A/V script template can help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your commercial script is well-crafted. The template will allow you to include visual and audio cues, dialogue, voiceovers, and even music cues. I’m not going to go into the conceptualizing in this article. This is just about the formatting.
Crafting an A/V script can be a daunting task, but using an A/V script template, once you get accustomed to using it will feel very natural. And you’ll be able to write freely to create a properly formatted, well-crafted A/V script that will bring your video project to life. Am I overselling the A/V script? Not at all!
Creating the Final Product
Once you have written your A/V script, it’s time to move from pre-production into “production.” This is the “lights, camera, ACTION! phase that is so exciting. Your script which served as a blueprint WILL be deviated from as the “creatives” add their ideas to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.
Don’t begrudge that. You did your job as a writer. You can feel proud you gave them a good product.
You did, didn’t you. If you’d like to learn more about what goes into writing a good AV script, look around. There are resources being planned for you right here on this website.
You can use software such as Celtx, a professional screenwriting software that includes tools for, not just writing your script, but creating storyboards, shot lists, and more. With Celtx, you can easily create a visual representation of your script, which can help you to better understand how your final product will look and feel.
Once you have your montage and workflow in place, it’s time to start scheduling your shoot. This involves creating a detailed timeline for your project, including everything from casting to filming to post-production editing. It’s important to be realistic when creating your schedule, as this will help to ensure that your final product is completed on time and within budget.
To create a schedule, you can use a variety of tools, including spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel. With Excel, you can create a detailed timeline that includes dates, times, and deadlines for each step of the process. This can help you to stay organized and on track throughout the entire project.
Finally, it’s important to seek feedback on your final product. This can help you to identify areas where you can improve, as well as to gain valuable insights into the overall quality of your work. Feedback can come from a variety of sources, including colleagues, friends, and family members.
When seeking feedback, it’s important to be open and receptive to criticism. This can be difficult, as it can be hard to hear negative feedback about your work. However, it’s important to remember that feedback is an essential part of the creative process, and that it can help you to grow and improve as a filmmaker.
In conclusion, creating a final product from your A/V script involves several key steps, including creating a montage and workflow, scheduling your shoot, and seeking feedback. By following these steps and using the right tools and techniques, you can create a final product that is both professional and engaging.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are there sometimes three columns in an AV script?
Three-column AV scripts are used when there is a need to include additional information, such as camera angles or shot descriptions, in addition to the audio and video columns. These scripts are commonly used for more complex productions, such as feature films or television shows.
How do you indicate camera movement in an AV script?
Camera movement is indicated in an AV script by using specific camera directions and shot descriptions. For example, if the camera is moving from left to right, you would indicate this with the direction “pan left to right.” If the camera is zooming in, you would use the direction “zoom in.”
Where is music typically placed in a two-column AV script?
Music is usually included in a separate column in a two-column AV script, along with any other sound effects or voiceovers. This column is typically labeled “audio” and is placed next to the “video” column.
What is the difference between a regular script and an AV script?
A regular script is typically used for stage productions or radio plays and includes only dialogue and stage directions. An AV script, on the other hand, is used for video and film productions and includes columns for both audio and video elements.
What are some common elements included in an AV script?
Common elements included in an AV script include dialogue, shot descriptions, camera directions, sound effects, music cues, and voiceover instructions.
Are there any standard templates available for creating AV scripts?
Yes, there are many standard templates available for creating AV scripts. These templates typically include pre-formatted columns for audio and video elements, as well as sections for shot descriptions and camera directions. Some templates also include sections for dialogue and other elements.