7 Rules for Compelling Video Scripts

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7 Rules for Compelling Video Scripts

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It takes more than great graphics. Make sure you excite them not bore them. Learn how to write scripts that hook your audience and make them take the action you want. Find more resources like this......

It takes more than great graphics. Make sure you excite them not bore them. Learn how to write scripts that hook your audience and make them take the action you want. Find more resources like this at http://www.technoledge.com.au/b2b-marketing-trends.

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  • 1. 1 Video is a fantastic medium for explaining complex technologies. In fact, other than using moving or static graphics, how else will you explain concepts and relationships you can’t see? Great videos need more than great graphics. A terrific script will ensure your viewer gets your message and knows what action next to take, rather than being dazzled by brilliant imagery and doing nothing. Think before you write You need to do some preparation first, so get a Coffee and a comfortable chair and think about these:  What’s the purpose of the video (company introduction, technology overview, case study interview, new product release, product demo)?  Where will the video be used (website, blog, EDM, face to face)?  Will you repurpose the content or part of it (where and for what purpose)?  Who is the target audience (and what do they know about you now)?  How and where does this video fit with the rest of your content strategy?  Will this video stand on its own or be part of a series? Now you’re ready to look at the elements for your script. Understand the elements Video scripts (or storyboards) are usually divided into audio and video columns; visual descriptions are in the left column and words on the right. For long videos (say 10 minutes up to documentary length) the script will serve as the blueprint for the video production. For 2-3 minute videos (the length you need for blogs, websites and EDMs) you probably won’t need to give the videographer a lot of instructions. He’ll know what he’s doing. You just need to focus on what you want to say and give him a copy. This sort of script will be more a ‘narration script’ to which images will be added. The basic elements of a simple video script are:  Concept—how you’ll tell the story, such as voice over image  Structure—how it will be sequenced  Content—what material you’ll use  Style—how you will say it i.e. your ‘voice’ Use a proven formula As with face-to-face presentations and other communications with a purpose other than telling a story, these are the basic steps to structure your story:  Introduce yourself  Tell them what you’re going to tell them.  Tell them what they’re going to get out of it.  Tell them how your product or service solves a pressing problem they have.  Sum up the main points.  Add a testimonial.  Call to action, and close. 7 Rules for Compelling Video Scripts It takes more than great graphics
  • 2. 2 Now let’s look at the 7 rules that could make or break your video script. Rule 1: Remember less is more Few people will make the time to watch a 10 minute business video, so don’t risk it. Short 2-3 minute videos with succinct messages are more effective and likely to be watched to the end. The viewer can see the length of the video before he hits ’play’ so keep it short, or he’ll exit without viewing. If you have a product or service with many features and benefits, don’t cram them into one long video. Make several short videos instead. People have short attention spans. Don’t ask them to remember more than 3 key points. They won’t. Rule 2: Open with a bang You have to get the viewer’s attention in the first 20 seconds. That’s how long you have to say ‘Hello, I’m John King and I’m going to show you how document automation software will reduce your document creation costs by 90%.’ Keep it short and impactful. Rule 3: State, explain, example State each of your 3 points, explaining each time what you mean and give an example. This is especially so with complex concepts, so relate what you do to something everyone will understand, such as, this example of security software:  The software can neutralize zero day malware attacks  Malware is identified by the way it behaves rather than by its signature  It’s like a policeman watching someone because their behaviour is suspicious, not because they’ve broken a law. Rule 4: Be very clear Writing for video is quite different to writing for print, because:  Your viewers must understand every sentence right away. It’s not like re-reading a sentence. They’d have to go back and play it again—and they won’t.  You have no headings or paragraphs to help with structure of your story (but you can insert text). You need to ensure clarity, that is:  The audience must understand everything right away.  There’s no ambiguity or confusion. Rule 5: Keep it simple The rules for good writing apply even more to writing for video. People process messages a few words at a time, so short sharp messages have maximum cut through.  Use short sentences and phrases with few words.  Use short, punchy words e.g. use not utilise.  Avoid complex sentence structures (that sound like commas, colons or brackets are needed)  Leave room to breathe (and for viewers to process).  Avoid the temptation to cram in more information (stick to simple messages).  Use pauses to for their comprehension and your transitions. You’re writing for the ear not just the eye, so read your script out loud to make sure the words flow smoothly. Rule 6: Make smooth transitions There are no headings or paragraphs in speech, so you must pay attention to your transitions - from introduction to main message, from one point to the next, from the last point to the summary. Fading out from one idea to the next is the old way to transition. These days video-makers jump-cut, sometimes out of synch with the dialogue. Make sure your transitions are smooth, natural and barely noticeable. Rule 7: Have one call to action Every story needs a good ending, yet how many Hollywood films have you seen that failed to reach logical, convincing conclusions? In business videos, endings need to be simple and succinct. Recap the main points (no more than 3), then issue the call to action and make sure there’s only one. Be very clear what you want the audience to do. ### References http://www.mindspring.com/~mmm/10point.html http://www.mindspring.com/~mmm/element.html http://www.acsellerant.com/tag/video-script/