How to Write a Script for Video in 6 Straightforward Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A video script is a text document that describes everything happening in a video. Regardless of your background and experience in script writing and video production, learning about effective ways to write video scripts can improve the quality of your work. Knowing how to write effective scripts for video productions can help your career trajectory. In this article, we discuss why knowing how to write a script for video is important and provide actionable steps on how to do it.

Why is knowing how to write a script for video important?

Knowing how to write a script for video is important for producing any type of video content. Some of the elements that you can incorporate in your script to help you organize your video production include the following:

  • Description for each scene: If your video material contains multiple scenes, your script can describe each of them to help you create a coherent piece of video material.

  • Directions: Besides general descriptions of scenes, the script can also include specific directions that the people in the video production can follow.

  • Dialogue: The script also includes the words that each person speaks in the video.

  • Camera cues: You can also use the script to provide instructions regarding how to film the video, with elements such as close-ups and specific camera angles.

  • Post-production instructions: It may also help to include instructions regarding how to edit the video material in post-production.

Some specific reasons why it's important to know how to write a video script are the following:

It helps you create a visual concept before filming

Having a well-detailed plan before filming can help you prepare by providing a concept for the entire process. Having a clear description of all relevant elements of the video production can help create more coherent work and make the process more efficient. It also helps your production team, giving a clear set of instructions they can follow from beginning to end.

Related: How to Become a Screenwriter (Step-by-Step Guide and Skills)

It can reduce the video production costs

Making the video's production process more efficient can also make it less expensive. Video content usually requires special equipment, dedicated locations, and staff members with different specializations. The costs tend to be proportional to the length of the process, which means that shortening the necessary time to film the material is likely to lead to a reduction in costs. Knowing what to do at all stages of production can significantly reduce the time necessary to execute tasks.

It can help you align the material with your goals

Video content can have multiple purposes. Some common ones are to inform an audience regarding a specific subject, to entertain them, or to market a product or service. Regardless of its purpose, preparing a script allows you to review all elements to maximize the chances that the video achieves its goals.

Related: What Is Storyboarding? (Plus Related Careers)

How to write a script for a video production

Consider following these steps when writing a script for a video production of any kind:

1. Identify your target audience

Before starting work on your video script, it's usually important to know exactly who you want to see it. As opposed to other forms of content, such as written or audio, video productions are usually expensive and take a longer time to prepare and execute, increasing the benefit of being specific. Even with a clear idea in mind, your overall approach and execution may differ depending on your target audience. Specific elements that you can adjust to fit a particular audience include the following:

  • the location, lighting, and character costumes

  • your video's length

  • the way you choose to distribute it to the public

Related: What Does a Storyboard Artist Do? (Job Skills and Salary)

2. Choose a specific objective for your video material

After identifying who you want the video to appeal to, you can devise a goal and keep it in mind when creating the video script. Knowing why you're making that video can influence all subsequent steps, such as the location, story, and characters. Having a clear goal for your video can also help you create the metrics that you can use to measure its performance after launching it.

Related: Guide to the Types of Narrative Styles (With Writing Tips)

3. Create a basic outline for your video

Creating an outline before writing your video script can help you organize your ideas in a coherent form. This usually involves deciding what you want to happen in the respective video, how you want everyone to execute their tasks, how you plan on spending your budget, and other vital elements of your future script. Outlining them before writing the script can help you be more efficient by filtering out unproductive or unrealistic ideas. It also helps you throughout the filming process, as you can refer to it to keep a clear direction.

Related: How to Create a Film Resume (With Template and Example)

4. Decide who your main character is

The main character of a video production is usually a major component in ensuring a connection with the audience. Deciding who this is and outlining some of their characteristics before writing the script can help you create a main character that your target audience can relate to, making your video more effective. You can include as much detail as possible, including the way they act and speak, any particular characteristics, and any other element that you think makes them more relatable to your target audience.

Building your main character before writing the script can also help you identify potential flaws in your script goal and target audience. If you can't decide on how your main character can help make the video more effective, it may be necessary to revise the goal and target audience and provide more detail.

Related: How to Become a Voice Actor in 6 Easy-to-Follow Steps

5. Start writing each section of your script

Once you've completed the preparation steps, you can start the actual work on your script. You can make it more effective by structuring it into specific sections. Here are some sections you can use:

Introduction

Here are some elements that you can include in the introductory part:

  • The hook: A video's hook is an industry term for a short segment necessary to capture the audience's attention. Including this at the beginning of your video can improve the chances that your audience watches it until the end.

  • Your brand: Featuring your brand or your employer's at the beginning of the video can make it more likely that your audience remembers it.

Related: How to Prepare for and Succeed at Video Interviews

Middle section

Your script's middle part can contain the following elements:

  • The video's message: After capturing the audience's attention with your hook and introducing your brand, you can tell the audience the reason for creating the video. You can do that with an action occurring on video or with a simple statement from your main character.

  • The evidence: After making a powerful statement, it's important to provide evidence that supports it and provide your audience with additional information. Depending on the type of video you're scripting, some of the ways you can present the evidence are by including technical information regarding a product, testimonials from previous customers, or a video demonstration.

Conclusion

You can conclude your video by introducing a call to action. This involves telling your audience what to do after viewing the respective video. For instance, if your video's purpose is to promote a specific product, ending it with Buy it now!is an appropriate call to action.

Related: 12 Careers in Editing Video to Consider (With Salaries)

6. Conduct an off-camera rehearsal

You can streamline your filming process by gathering all the people who feature in your video material and asking them to practise their lines. This can help you make the dialogue more conversational, as you're likely to discover some elements that seemed to be working when you wrote them down but no longer sound natural when spoken aloud. Take notes when encountering such situations and edit your script draft accordingly.

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