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Tv commercial-script

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Tv commercial-script

  1. 1. 5tweetsretweetFollow: RSS Email Twitter LinkedInHome•About•Archives•Resources•Contact•Write for PCT•SearchHow to write a 30-second TV commercial scriptApril 8, 2010 by Dean RieckFiled under: How-to GuidesEvery copywriter longs for the opportunity to write aTV commercial. But the type of commercial you’ll end up writing isn’t what you think it will be.Unless you work at an ad agency or video production house, you’re not going to come anywhere closeto writing a script for the next NIKE commercial.You might get the opportunity to write a direct response or DRTV commercial. But you’re morelikely to write spots for shoe stores, neighborhood banks, used car dealers, furniture outlets, fruitmarkets, and other local businesses.Not too impressive, I know, but there’s a ton of small businesses who need these kind of TV spots.And someone has to write the scripts. Right?Page 1 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script
  2. 2. It might as well be you.Understanding Local TV AdvertisingTV commercials are not like other media, such as print or websites.A reader browsing a website has plenty of time to absorb information and can even reread copy that isinteresting or informative.However, TV commercials happen in real time. Most local spots run 30 seconds. That’s all the timeyou have to tell the viewer about whatever you’re selling. When it’s over, it’s over.Of course, an advertiser will run commercials more than once, so viewers may be able to see yourspot several times. However, the number of times it runs is out of your control. So you shouldn’t relyon repetition to get your message across. It should be clear and complete even if seen just once.It’s also important to remember that the small businesses who run local TV ads don’t have a bigbudget. The owners usually operate brick-and-mortar stores and want to attract local customers. Yourcommercial can’t waste time on clever visuals or dialog. It must introduce the business quickly andgive viewers a reason to go to the store.The 30-Second TV Commercial FormulaThere are many ways to structure a TV commercial, but for our purposes, let’s stick to the standard“voice over” spot. This means that an announcer reads about 30 seconds of copy accompanied bysynchronized video. (Technically, a 30-second commercial is 28.5 seconds. You lose about one and ahalf seconds to fade the video up at the beginning and down at the end.)So you will write a script consisting of two elements: the audio (announcer’s voice over) and thevideo.Page 2 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script
  3. 3. Click to download a pdf of thistemplate.Most writers use a specially formatted TV script template for this, a page with the Audio on one sideand the Video on the other. You can see the template I use here.If there is anything like a formula for writing a local 30-second TV script, it’s this:1. Say it.2. Explain it.3. Repeat it.SAY IT.With only 30 seconds to work with, you don’t have much time to build a mood or be clever. You mustget to the point with the first sentence. Come right out and say what the spot is going to be about.“Save 50 percent on all living room furniture at Finley’s Furniture!”“Sun Bank offers you the lowest rate home equity loans in town.”“Buy your dream car at Nolte Chevrolet for just one dollar down!”The lead sentence in a commercial is like the headline in a print ad. It must get the viewer’s attention,select the appropriate audience for the message, and make the viewer want to know more.Along with the announcer speaking this lead sentence, you will need to show a visual to go along withit. If the commercial is about saving 50 percent at Finley’s Furniture, you could show an attractive setof furniture with the words “Save 50%” on the screen.Words on a TV screen are generally called “chyron” or “CG” for character generator. So when youwrite the announcer’s first sentence in the audio column, you will also write instructions for the videoand CG in the Video column.EXPLAIN IT.After you SAY IT, you need to EXPLAIN IT. If your lead sentence is successful, you now have theattention of the viewer and must spend a few seconds sharing additional details.If your lead sentence is “Save 50 percent on all living room furniture at Finley’s Furniture,” you couldshow various brand name pieces of furniture with audio that names each one.Or to keep it simple, the audio may be nothing more than “Save 50% off traditional furniture. Save50% off modern furniture. Save 50% off sectionals, tables, and lamps.” And so on.REPEAT IT.Finally, after you SAY IT and EXPLAIN IT, you should REPEAT IT. This sounds pretty simple, buta lot of writers forget this.Page 3 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script
  4. 4. Share |Remember that your audience is not necessarily a captive one. Attention spans are very, very short.With remote controls and hundreds of channels to choose from, you can also expect many viewers tocome into your spot late. They may be interested in what you’re talking about, but if you don’t repeatyour “headline,” you run the risk of loosing a sale.Often you just need to repeat the idea in the lead sentence and, since you’re probably urging people toshow up at a store at a particular time, give the location and time. Like this: “Save 50 percent on everypiece of living room furniture in the store. This weekend only at Finley’s Furniture. 123 Main Streetin downtown Groveport.”On the screen, you could show “Save 50%” plus the date and address, along with a picture of theoutside of the store.Quick Tip For Writing Local TV CommercialsOkay, I know a commercial like this isn’t very sophisticated. It doesn’t take a genius to write one.That’s why the hardest part is resisting the urge to be creative. You have a job to do, usually to drivebuyers to a store location. And more often than not, the more creative you try to be, the more likelyyour commercial will fail.What you have to learn is how to build the words, images, and CG so they deliver a clear, completemessage in just 30 seconds. So here’s my tip: Set up your DVR or video recorder to capture a fewdozen local TV ads. Then watch them carefully and transcribe the audio and video images.After doing this a few times, you’ll start to get a sense for how local TV commercials are put together.Eventually you’ll be able to write a script on your own. It may not be an award winner, but it willprobably be good enough to get the job done.Related posts:How to write a direct response TV commercial that sells1.How to write a radio ad that generates calls or traffic2.>>> Subscribe to blog by RSS or E-mailSmart Comments5 Comments on How to write a 30-second TV commercial scriptJoshua Black on Apr 8th, 2010 11:23 am1.I can see how this is also a really concise method to get your message across in other mediumstoo, such as classified ads, radio, and this would even work well for YouTube informercials.Page 4 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script
  5. 5. Thanks for the insight.-Joshua BlackThe Underdog Millionaire.-= Joshua Black’s last blog … Bag of Dog Poop Ignites a Small Business Fire… =-.Dean Rieck on Apr 8th, 2010 12:03 pm1.Joshua,Well it would work for radio. Classified line ads are so short you basically have to keep them toa headline. They’re like tweeting. For a 30-second TV script you have about 70 – 80 words.That’s short.akhtar shirzai on Aug 23rd, 2010 4:45 am1.actually, it is very intersting for me, because i work in NATO in tv section and have to write tvspot for the support of Afghanistan governmet, but we havent any training now and i am newfor that work .so, i hope to support me in this case for how to write spots for 2 minutes and what is importantfor best script to regard it and learn it.Ian Moore on Nov 12th, 2010 5:00 am1.I am a graphic designer by trade, based in the UK, which has involved a certain amount ofcopywriting and copyediting for both print and web over a 26 year career. I have recently beenasked to write a 30 second tv ad though and I find the opportunity to tempting to turn down. Iwill be studying your tips pages while I consider my approach but I have no idea what to offeras a fee nor what the going rate is for such a commercial. Can you offer any guidance?Dean Rieck on Nov 12th, 2010 9:40 am1.Ian,There really is no “going rate” in copywriting. Fees are all over the lot. But you can see thePage 5 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script
  6. 6. following for a sense of what full-time professional copywriters might charge.http://www.directcreative.com/copywriter-salaries-and-fees.htmlKeep in mind that this may be higher or lower than what YOU can get. It’s all about yourexperience and skill and the expectations of your client.Tell me what youre thinking...and if you want a pic to show with your comment, get a gravatar!Name (required)Email Address (required)WebsiteSpeak your mindSubmit CommentNotify me of followup comments via e-mailCategories•Ask Dean◦Business Smarts◦Checklists◦Copy Editing◦Copywriting Tips◦Creativity◦Design◦Freelancing◦How-to Guides◦Inspiration◦Interviews◦Miscellaneous◦Productivity◦Page 6 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script
  7. 7. Psychology◦Writing Basics◦Writing Tools◦Copywriter Info Center•Discover what a copywriter does, jobs available, writing courses, and more!Recent Posts•Should you join a freelance or writers union?◦Storytelling and the greatest sales letter of all time◦7 surprisingly easy ways to fight burnout and recharge your writing batteries◦POWER Copywriting: How to write any ad in 5 steps◦When freelancing fails: 5 questions to ask yourself◦Direct Creative Blog•B2B vs. consumer marketing: 5 key differences◦15 copywriting formulas that sell like gangbusters◦Is it time for a BIG direct mail piece?◦Dazzle your clients with Google search hacks◦Perform a direct mail autopsy in 6 easy steps◦•Page 7 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script
  8. 8. All contents copyright © Dean RieckPage 8 of 8How to write a 30-second TV commercial script11/16/2010http://www.procopytips.com/tv-commercial-script

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