A video marketing script is written in a completely different way from that of a more familiar fiction screenplay.
I’ve written both types over the years, and can tell you that a corporate video script is much easier! Let me show you how it’s done.
A typical corporate video script uses a table layout to present all the information required from the film. There are usually three columns, but you may only need two or up to five depending on how complex the video is.
The table is then separated into rows at regular intervals where the visuals or narrative progresses in the video. Usually, each row represents around 15 seconds of the video.
The three main columns of a corporate video script are as follows:
Column 1 – Narrative
The narrative column contains all of the dialogue that will drive the story of your video. This could include a voiceover narrative, on-screen presenter script, interview comments or a combination of the three.
If you are using a mixture of these, it’s best to alternate the formatting of the text, so it’s clear which is which. For example, having voiceover text in bold and interview comments in italics.
You can also separate them out into multiple columns – so having one column for voiceover and a second column for interview comments. But this will take up valuable space on the page, so try to keep them in the same column if you can.
How to write script dialogue
If you’re using a voiceover or presenter in your video, it gives a consistent narrative for your video and allows information to be communicated in a clear and concise way.
A minute of voiceover or presenter narrative equates to around 150 to 170 words. So be sure to keep an eye on this if you want to keep your film within a certain length.
Keep sentences short, use simple language and always consider your target audience. Read it out loud to see how it flows too. Some words and phrases might not sound natural when read out loud so be sure to practice a few times.
Interview comments add a human element to a video and can give authority and a personal perspective.
If your video is to feature responses from interviews, you should include your ideal comments from interviewees in the script and use these as a benchmark during filming.
This is because it’s not advisable to spoon-feed answers verbatim to interviewees. It’s not only bad practice, but it takes away the naturalistic and spontaneous delivery you want from an interview.
A list of questions to draw out these answers will be developed before the shoot, but for now, it’s important to see how the interview comments fit in with the story overall.
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Column 2 – Visuals
The second column in a corporate video script explains what visuals will be shown during each scene.
Most of the time, this will be additional footage to add content to the narrative. This is known as B-Roll (as opposed to the narrative which can be called ‘A-Roll’) but I tend to use the term ‘general shots’ or ‘GV’s’ (general views).
These shots can be captured during a filming day, but you can also use stock footage, photography or animated scenes here.
Pay close attention to what is happening in the narrative column when considering the visuals. Naturally, they want to support the narrative so make sure your visuals are relevant, engaging and can sustain the length of the narrative section they are layered with.
There may be a storyboard alongside the script that shows illustrated examples of each scene too. This can help bring the script to life, either through sketches or photos. I tend to use storyboards for animated projects more than traditional corporate or promo videos, as a storyboard helps illustrate the visual style better than a script.
Don’t forget that the visuals in a script are meant to tell a story as much as the narrative. So use expressive and creative language here to stir up stimulating and inspiring images in the minds of the audience.
Column 3 – Graphics and On-Screen Text
The third column in a corporate video script is any on-screen text that is to be seen during the video.
These could be names and job titles of the interviewees, animated titles, call-to-action graphics, or taglines.
Including on-screen text in the script is important because text can be checked for accuracy before production. Plus ensuring all spellings are checked and double-checked before editing takes place saves time when reviewing the final edit.
Just like the ‘Visuals’ column in a script, any ‘on-screen text’ should be there to support the narrative and be connected to what is happening on screen.
It might be tempting to shorten the length of a video or speed up a section by including on-screen text instead of voiceover or interview narrative. But this is a mistake. Having anything on screen that doesn’t match the narrative will confuse the audience, so keep everything congruent.
Also, you don’t want to bombard the audience with too much information. Keep the on-screen text short and avoid extensive bullet points or paragraphs of text.
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Additional sections of a video script
Narrative, Visuals and Text are the most vital sections to include in a corporate video script. But you may need additional columns for things like:
- Numbering each scene
- Location information for filming
- Estimated duration
- Technical information
A script should be easy to understand at a glance, so only include extra columns if absolutely neccessary.
The script is the foundation of every corporate video.
Even if a film is mostly interview-based, a corporate video script is the best way to show how the film’s story will unfold before filming begins.
It’s vital that a corporate video script is shared with all stakeholders in the project during the writing stage too. All feedback should be considered and worked into additional drafts before it is signed off and production begins. Making script changes after filming or editing has started can be both time-consuming and expensive. It might involve reshooting or scrapping scenes entirely!
Spending time to make this stage of the production perfect is well worth it!
Want to get your hands on the templates I use when writing scripts for projects? Drop me an email, and we’ll fire it over to you! Email email@example.com or find us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter !