1. 1 video = 1 message!
The clue is in the title. Like in movies, a script can involve several others secondary plots, but they are obviously outweighed by the main line of action, which contains the story’s theme, main characters and their actions that drive the story forward.
A video needs to have one single message at its core. Trying to say everything is like saying nothing. Everything you write has to follow a coherent line: First, identify it, and then stick with it!
Make sure that you know what it is that you want to convey with this video. Boil it down to its essence and narrate the story accordingly!
2. Keep it short!
As a general rule, but even more in today’s world of technology and the shorter attention span that comes with it; the shorter the better. Make sure to erase all redundancies and superfluous information. Straight to the point is always the way to go: forget about embellishing the prose!
3. Limitations Are Great!
Contrary to popular belief, limitations are actually useful when it comes to creativity. Instead of working through an ocean of infinite possibilities, narrowing down your options helps your brain find tangible elements to work with. In order to think outside the box, you first need to know what that box contains! Use these elements to your advantage, be it the characters involved in the story (or how many they are), the tone you want to use, the key sentences the script will revolve around… The rest is imagination.
4. Take the viewer on a “value wave”!
What this means is that you need to take the viewer on a ride. In movies, the worst thing possible always happens when the character is at his/her best. In comedies more than in any other genre, every scene always finishes on a high and funny note, even if what preceded it involved tears and tissues!
For your specific script, use the value wave to engage the viewer. When you’re at the peak of positive value (the world is a happy place, there is no problem, hakuna matata!), that’s the exact moment you place the setback which your service/product will solve (actually the world is not that happy a place, there is a problem: and here’s how to fix it thanks to us)!
Try to have every paragraph surfing a different wave than the one before, be it from negative to positive, from positive to negative, or from positive to ultra-positive and vice versa!
Otherwise, the value stays neutral and the viewer is bored!
5. Start with your best stuff!
The first paragraph, as in the first couple of seconds in your video, will decide if the viewer is going to stick around to hear the rest of your story, or not. In order for the spectator to willingly concede his attention to you, start with your best stuff!
What that means is that the first golden seconds of your video are about attention grabbing.
In order to do just that, you need to be one of these three things:
Obviously, this is no science and other things might work as well; but consider these as a safe starting point!
6. Tell a story!
In film, a story always involves two things: a character, and something happening to her/him. For your script, that translates into these two things:
- A personalised narrative
Always go from the general to the specific. Tell a concrete story! Materialise abstract notions into a concrete and personalised narrative. Using the example of film again: movies are not about wars: they’re about soldiers!
When we say that something happens to a character in a film, we are talking about one thing: change. Something brings them out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.
Something, even small, has to happen in order for a story… to be a story!
How can you make that happen for your video project? Set up an element in the beginning and make it pay off at the end. Use the contrast between the intro and the outro to show the concrete differences and benefits of your product/service!
7. Make it visual!
Writing a script for a video is different from any other form of copywriting. Video can bring images to life; but in order to truly exploit that format, use all it has to offer! Use imagery, metaphors and comparisons. Use verbs and expressions that can be easily translated visually, such as “blow away”, “turn around”, “step up”. Make it vivid so that it jumps out of the page (see, I just did it there!)!
It is also important to stay within a certain visual semantic theme. Mixing technical illustrations and funky cartoon characters might not be the safest bet. But then again, maybe it is! This is the beauty of what we do, nothing is set in stone! Always think outside the box. But give it some thought before you go ahead and do it (and blame it on me in the process)!
I hope these 7 tips were somehow of use to you! And of course, us copywriters at 87seconds are always happy to contribute in bringing your video to the level it deserves!