Guide to writing video scripts

Scriptwriting for videos takes a special approach. Here are some top tips for you. Just ask Mark if you’d like more help on 07801 419800.

Define on the results you want

Do you want to increase web visitors? Increase the length of web visits? Reduce helpdesk enquiries with video web support? Showcase new products? Whatever your objectives, they will determine the contents and length of the video you are creating. A storyboard will provide an overview of the film images and messages in sequence and provides a starting point for the script.

Work to a realistic wordcount

The length of your video will determine the length of your script. See how many words you can read aloud at a comfortable pace in the allotted time. For a typical 60 second website video, Marketing Zone recommend a script that’s around 150 words.

Prioritise your main messages

Preparation always pays off. There may be hundreds of things you’d like to say. But be disciplined and focus on the main points that you’d like your customers to take away with them. Create a story with a beginning, middle and end. Finish with the next steps you’d encourage customers to take.

Open with a clear benefit

Like press releases, videos should begin with the story in a nutshell before telling the whole story. That way if only part of the video is seen you’ve still got the message across. More importantly it tells people why they should keep viewing.

Tell and show

Think about where you want to say the message and where you want to show the message with images or text. Video is also ideal for demonstrating what you mean, saving you from having to describe whole processes. Knowing how you’re going to support what you say means you can streamline the script and use visual cues to complete the message.

Write in a conversational tone

Use the first person – you, we, us – it makes it more direct and personal. Write for the words to be heard not read. Keep sentences short. Keep punctuation simple because you can’t hear a semi-colon! Write as if you were talking to a friend or work colleague.

Keep language simple.

Use more Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) words that are short and direct rather than Latin-derived words which are more formal, elaborate and have more syllables.

Ask Request
Build Construct
Buy Purchase
Go Proceed
Help Assist
Send Transmit
Talk Converse


Use contractions

It’s easier to say ‘you’re’ than ‘you are’. It really helps the words to flow when they are spoken.

Not: You will be able to master this approach to scriptwriting quickly because it is easy to follow. There are many benefits; the main one is that you will be able to create a video script that gets results.

Instead: You’ll be able to master this approach to scriptwriting quickly. It’s easy to follow. There’s many benefits. The main one is you’ll be able to create a video script that gets results.

Chunk it down

It helps to break down your script up into small, chunks. Short paragraphs allow you to get across each message clearly when reading aloud. It’s even OK for a paragraph to be a single sentence.

Big text size

Write your script in a larger than usual font, and with greater line spacing because it will really help you to read it aloud. We find 24 point Arial font, with 1.5 to 2.0 line spacing works well and gives you enough room to write in any changes or underline text when you’re developing the script.

Read it aloud

Once you’ve committed your script to paper read it our loud. It will really help you to refine it. See how it flows and feels, and if there are words and phrases where you stumble over then change them. Then put your script aside for a time before repeating the exercise. You’ll be surprised how many edits are needed to create your script.

Replace commas with dashes

In written text commas have a well defined grammatical role. But when reading a script you’ll usually feel the need to pause when you see a comma. These pauses aren’t always in the best places when it comes to reading aloud. So take out all the commas. Where you need to pause put a dash instead. Then read and refine.

Underline for emphasis

To emphasise certain words in your script underline them as a reminder to yourself when reading aloud. Underline in moderation otherwise it will lose impact. Read again to check the most important points are being highlighted.

Try the mirror test

Once you have made sure your script flows well and you no longer sound wooden practice it in front of the mirror. Do this several times so you can identify and iron out any habits or tics that could distract viewers.

Use autocue on the day

If you can remember everything you want to say, and how you want to say it then that is great. But most people do better when their script is on autocue. It provides a reminder of what you have practiced saying. And allows you to focus on delivering the words not remembering what the words are.

Well crafted videos are very powerful indeed. If you need any help, creating your next video please ask!