Video scripting 101: how to write a video script
Edited by Nataly Bogorad
August 15, 2021
What is a video script, and why should you care? A video script is basically the blueprint that video creators use to create organized, professional videos that follow the right structure and tone for their target audience. All successful video makers use scripts to guide them through the process of shooting and editing their videos.
Why is a video script important for your videos? Whether you’re producing a web series, a vlog, or a how-to video, your script gives you the roadmap you need to make sure that you include everything you need in your video to make it successful. For a dramatic video, your script will include your characters’ lines, blocking, and directions for editing everything together to create your vision.
If you’re creating a how-to video, your script may only include the steps you take in the process and a few notes for you to more easily improvise your voiceover as you create the video. Even an interview video can benefit from a video script, including your interview questions and notes on any topics that you want to cover with your interviewee.
So, now that you know the importance of having a video script, let’s discuss how to write a video script that will help streamline the video creation process, as well as the editing process. In this article, we’ll walk you through a few video script templates and video script examples that you can use as you get started creating the right scripts for your video production projects.
Script writing templates
So, let’s get started on how to write a script for a video. Video scripting doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can make video production a lot easier and more straightforward. You just need to know a few simple steps to create the kind of script that will carry you through the whole production and post-production process.
1. Choose your target audience
At this point, you may be tempted to just sit down and start writing. After all, you know what you want your video to say, so why not get started? Stop right there. First, before you go any farther, to write a successful video script, you need to know your audience. Who are your ideal viewers? If your video were a conversation, who would you be talking to?
When creating sales, advertising, and marketing campaigns, the pros will develop what they call “buyer personas.” These are imaginary people who represent their target customers. As they create content for their target audience, they keep these buyer personas in mind so that they can stay focused and create the kind of content that will engage their audience. You can do the same thing for your video projects.
Whether you’re developing content for your YouTube or Twitch channel, or you’re writing short scripts for TikTok and Instagram videos, you can save a lot of time and get a lot more out of your video scripts if you just focus on the right personas.
So, how can you identify your target audience? Ask yourself a few questions, including but not limited to:
- How old are they?
- Are they predominantly men or women?
- What are their hobbies?
- What are their goals?
- What pain points do they have that you can solve?
For example, let’s say that you’re creating a video about how to tie-dye a t-shirt for kids. Your audience is probably going to be elementary through middle school aged kids and their parents. While their parents will be watching and helping them, the video’s audience is really the kids. So, your audience persona is:
- Age: 10-14 years old
- Gender(s): All
- Hobbies: Fabric crafts, painting, creative playtime activities
- Goals: To tie-dye a cool shirt that they’ll love, to spend an afternoon doing something fun and creative
- Pain points: Not knowing where to start and/or the risk of dyeing their parents’ carpets and furniture
With these details you should start to get a picture in your head of your audience, which will make the next steps easier, especially when you get to the step of actually writing your script. In this example, your audience is the kids who’ll be doing the tie-dyeing, but you’ll notice that the pain points include concerns that their parents might have. This tells you that you should probably include details in your script about how to have fun tie-dyeing a cool t-shirt without making a huge mess. That’s a detail you might have overlooked if you’d just started writing a script with the basic steps for tie-dyeing a shirt.
2. Identify your goal for your video
Whether you know it or not, you’ve actually already started on this step by identifying your audience’s goals. Ideally, if you’ve created an accurate viewer persona, then you know what your audience wants to get out of watching your video. That should give you what you need to identify the goal of the video itself.
So, taking the example from above, if your audience’s goal is to create a cool tie-dyed t-shirt, then your video’s goal should be to show them how to tie-dye a cool t-shirt.
After you identify your video’s goal, break it down into a beginning, middle, and end. For a how-to video like this, just list out the main steps of the process you’ll be doing in the video. For a dramatic video, write a brief outline of the main plot points that you can use as you write out the full script. For an interview, create a basic outline of the topics you want to touch on.
3. List your video’s visual and audio elements
Of course, a video script isn’t just about the lines you (and your cast) will be saying. An effective video script will include all of the directions and details that you will need to shoot your video, and everything you’ll need in the video editing process, as well. That means you need to include all of your video’s visual and audio elements in your script. List those elements out, including things like:
- Channel logo
- Title screen
- Any audio effects and/or video effects
You’ll use this list as you start writing and editing your video script. The more complete the list is, the more easily you can pull from it and ensure that you include all of your visual and audio elements in your actual script and, as a result, in your actual video. Remember, the more detail you put into your script, the less you (and your post-production team) will have to do later when it’s time to cut everything together into a finished video project.
4. Write your video script
Now it’s time to actually write your video script. Using the basic outline that you created before, start writing the script in a way that will lead from the beginning, smoothly through the middle, and to the end goal of the video.
As you write, keep your audience in mind. If you’re writing to elementary-aged kids, for example, you won’t want to say something like “Precise application of the dye is not necessary for success.” Instead, you’ll want to use a conversational tone and words that you know your audience will understand, like “You don’t have to be super exact with where the dye goes to make a really cool design”.
As you write, reference your list of visual and audio elements, and add them in at the points in the script where they should appear. If you’re going to be editing the video yourself, you might not need to be super detailed in your script notes, but be sure to write them in such a way that you’ll understand them when you come back to edit your video. If someone else is doing the editing, you should be as detailed as possible in your script to give them the roadmap they need to create your vision.
5. Read your script out loud
When you’ve finished a full draft of your video script, it’s a good idea to read your script out loud. This will help you identify awkward wording that may not stand out when you’re reading it to yourself. It’ll also help you identify areas where you may need to fill in more details, where a transition needs some work, and/or where you need to add some notes for post-production.
6. Edit your script to fit your time limits
After you’ve read through your script and worked out any awkward lines or other issues, it’s time to make sure that your video isn’t too long or too short for your intended audience and platform. For example, if you’re creating a video for Instagram or TikTok, you should be able to read your script out loud in less than a minute. If you’re creating a quick explainer for YouTube, you’ll want to keep it between three and five minutes. Set a timer and read through your script once more. Then edit it to ensure that your video will be just the right length.
Creating a script template for your videos
Now you have all the steps you need to write a successful video script. You don’t have to write every script from scratch, though. In fact, you can create and use video script templates that will make the script-writing process faster and easier – so you can get to creating cool videos that your audience will love.
An effective video script template will grab your audience’s attention and engage with them from beginning to end. That’s why a lot of video script writers use the AAAA formula when they write video script templates. AAAA stands for:
As you write your script, you want to start by grabbing your audience’s attention. Then, very quickly, you want to agitate their pain points by highlighting the challenge that you’ll help them solve. After that, it is an activity in which you show them how to solve that challenge, and you’ll end with a call to action to get the solutions they want or need (for example, by subscribing to your channel for more useful videos).
Here’s a sample video script template that you can use as a reference to create your own video script example template for your video scripting needs.
Hi, I’m [NAME] from [CHANNEL OR BRAND NAME], and today I’ll be showing you how to [VIDEO TOPIC] in [#] easy steps!
Are you struggling with [CHALLENGE OR PAIN POINT]? You’re not alone! A lot of people have trouble with [CHALLENGE], but it doesn’t have to be this way. Keep watching to see how you can easily [OVERCOME THE CHALLENGE].
Ready to get started? Let’s begin with step 1…
[DETAIL STEP 1]
Now that you’ve [STEP 1 SUMMARY], let’s move on to step 2:
[DETAIL STEP 2]
Easy, right? Once you’ve [STEP 2 SUMMARY], let’s go to step 3:
[DETAIL STEP 3]
There you go! You’ve just successfully [OVERCOME CHALLENGE] in just a few simple steps!
Want more videos on how to [OVERCOME SIMILAR CHALLENGES OR ACCOMPLISH SIMILAR GOALS]? Be sure to like and subscribe at the links below! Thanks for watching!
This template only includes your basic voiceover or narration. It’s missing your visual and audio elements, but you can insert those at the appropriate points in the template wherever you need them. The important thing to remember is that a video script template gives you the freedom to modify and customize scripts based on a consistent structure. And you only have to create that structure once, making it much easier to write numerous video scripts and create more content in a more efficient way.
Also, while this video script template is designed for how-to videos and explainer videos, you can easily write a similar template for interviews, podcasts, and other videos, as well. You’ll just need to modify the Activity section to fit the type of video you want to make and your goals for your video. And, if you create a range of different types of videos, you can also create a set of video script templates that you can use whenever you need them.
Summary: creating effective video scripts and templates for all your videos
Now you hopefully have all the steps and information you need to create effective video scripts and video script templates for your video projects. Remember, when you first start writing a script or a template, always start with your viewer personas. Identify your audience and what they care about. Determine which pain points they have that you can solve and which goals you can help them accomplish. If you do this, you’ll have the tools you need to write to the right audience with the right tone and content.
Once you’ve identified your viewer persona(s), create your video templates based on the AAAA formula. This will help you engage your audience by grabbing their attention, highlighting their challenges and goals, and helping them solve those challenges and reach those goals. After you create your template(s), be sure to insert your visual and audio elements with any notes you may need in the editing and post-production process.
With these steps, you’ll have everything you need to make more effective videos in less time with less effort – all by creating video scripts that streamline the video creation process. Feel free to start with the sample script template above, but don’t hesitate to modify it and create a script template that works best for you, your style, and your audience.