Tips and tricks for a good video script
Are you trudging your way through putting together a good script for your next corporate video? Here are a few tips from practice.
Creating a video is not purely a rational process. Many decisions during the preparation, filming or editing are affected by taste, aesthetic sense, judgement, personal experiences or insights. Not something you can write an instruction manual for!
Still there are a few fun tips and tricks for writing a video script. These could come in handy in the preparations for your next video!
In a video, you can speak approximately 100 words of text per minute.
Number of topics
Focus on one main topic per video.
Long videos are boring. As are lengthy stories with a great deal of information. Keep a corporate video concise. Think of what you want to achieve, make that your main topic and gather your content around that. For each minute of video, you can explain approximately 2 side aspects.
1 speaker per minute of video.
In a talking head video, or a video based on interviews, you can focus on 1 person per minute.
Or 2 people in a video that lasts 2 minutes, 3 people in a video that lasts 3 minutes ... et cetera. This ensures that each speaker is on screen for a decent amount of time and that he/she has enough time to answer a few questions.
In a vox pop video (in which you ask a number of people to very briefly give their opinion) you can go through a series of people somewhat quicker.
The average corporate video lasts 3 ~ 4 minutes. Shorter is usually better.
On average, a viewer has decided within 20 seconds whether he finds the video interesting or not. At least 45% tune out after 60 seconds.
A good informative video also includes breaks. Approximately every 40 to 50 seconds there are a few seconds of rest for the viewer: no information, no text, just a few pictures to look at while he/she processes the information.
Write in colloquial language. If you find it difficult, try speaking your texts out loud. You will automatically notice what works and what doesn’t as colloquial language!
A few writing tips: keep your sentences short, use one subject and one verb per sentence. Make subordinate clauses into new sentences. Avoid using jargon. Write in the present tense. Use positive words. Be critical and keep asking yourself what you are trying to say.
The W questions
The best questions to ask someone during an interview are:
- what, who, where, why, when and how.
What you usually do when thinking of questions for an interview is: first write down what someone should say and then formulate an appropriate question for that.
It takes 20 to 30 seconds to answer a question. Or longer, but in that case we often edit bits out.
Stick to the right order of a story: past - present - future. This allows you to keep the story on point.
Viewers continue watching longer if they are stimulated at the beginning of a video. You can do this with a strong opening question or a provocative opening statement. Usually viewers decide within the first 5 ~ 7 seconds if they continue watching. And don't use an intro, it's a waste of time.
What should a viewer do after the video ends? What is the call to action? Visit a website, call someone, buy something?
Repetition is good. It helps viewers remember the message better. Don’t hesitate to use repetition in a video. Let speakers repeat what others have said: they reinforce each other! Be sure to give a summary at the end.
As a viewer, we are very receptive to a story that relates to us as ‘people’. So try to convey your message on a human level.
Instead of describing a machine, you could instead talk about what the device does for us. Instead of showing a software platform, you can show what an ‘ordinary’ person can do with it. The human level also immediately provides you with starting points for using emotion in your video.
What it ultimately comes down to is that you tell a good story. Once upon a time ... but then in video form.
Dutch version available here.