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Scriptwriting for video is much different from writing long-form content. There are many factors that lead to a great video script. Read on for the top 3 things you have to think about when writing a video script.
We all have our favorite movies, and the part that makes one stand out over all the rest is how we felt at the very end. It’s because the best scripts are aimed at communicating a message that persuades the viewer to action. A great script sets up a scene and characters and leads them through a journey or over hurdles. By the closing of the video, the viewer will see a bit of him or herself in your character, and this emotional connection allows the message to take hold. Placing your call to action on top of this emotional connection prepares the script for success.
Solid, approachable characters are the start of a wonderful script. When they are relatable, detailed and real, the dialogue in the script will reflect this. Some writers will move about the room to act out the parts of their characters to get a better feeling about what they might do next. This sounds like a lot of work, but it can be fun and ensures a script is authentic — the script will show these efforts.
The biggest mistake rookie scriptwriters make is placing a character or event to fill up space. It’s a hasty way to fill a transition or explain a gap. A good script will take the extra time and creative process to solve these problems in the storyline.
Showing six or seven characters in a video, unless each one is serving a distinct purpose, often will confuse the audience. Generally, viewers identify with one character while the others play supporting roles. If a character was created to deliver a single line, it better be such a good one that the story just cannot do without. Cutting out the excess ensures the audience can focus on the central message.
Also, notice how fewer characters with more dialogue can build an emotional connection with the viewer — this makes them more rounded (and thus more realistic), and this keeps your script tight and to the point.
The structure of the story is the next facet of a great script. The most important thing, when working with a narrative, is to tell a story that flows logically from Point A to Point B, with one character facing an obstacle (a physical or mental barrier, or an opponent) and either overcoming or failing to conquer the challenge set before them. The rest will fall into place after that.
Narrative structures used in feature films include the three-act structure and the Hero’s Journey. These structures are common because they work. A story resonates with a viewer when characters endure trials and overcome hurdles. If nothing else, include a little Good vs. Evil. This is something every person can relate to and will get the audience rooting for your character’s success.
Every detail, every line of a great script comes back to the central theme. The characters and the story written in the script are the platforms on which the call to action is built. The best scripts stay focused because this single message is what viewers will remember and act on once the video is done.