On a recent writing course, we were asked to include some script-writing advice, for the company’s corporate videos.
I canvassed the opinions of the wonderful Rough House team, who have made thousands of documentaries, news reports and corporate videos between them. Here is their top script-writing advice:
Planning (aka pre-production)
As with all pieces of writing, do your research and have a plan.
- What is the aim of the video?
- Who is it targeted at?
- Where can you film?
- What do you need to say?
- Who, if anyone, can you interview?
- What pictures do you have available?
Read more: 15 tips to improve your writing
- Your script needs to tell a story – and as with any story, have a start, a middle and an end
- Start with your best pictures
- As much as possible, let the pictures tell the story, rather than thinking you have to explain everything people can see on the screen
- Don’t fill every second with voiceover, your pictures should “breathe”, especially if you have good natural sound
- If pictures are really dramatic, don’t talk over them
- The pictures and words should marry up, so “write to the pictures”
- Words and pictures should enrich each other with your words adding more information
- Read your scripts out loud, so you can see if it flows easily
- If you’re writing for someone else, listen to them and get used to the rhythm of their voice so it sounds natural
When you’re writing graphics
- Keep the text short and simple without too many statistics
- You don’t need to write in full sentences – imagine you’re writing bullet points
- Give people time to read and absorb what is on the screen (6” is a good guide)
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