We recently shared an article on how to write a video script from scratch. But what if you’ve already made a start and are looking for ways to improve your video script? Maybe you feel like the tone isn’t right or your script is too long. Or maybe you feel like it isn’t engaging enough. Don’t worry, we can help! Here are a few tips to help you improve your script.
Assume “No Prior Knowledge”
It’s good practice to assume that everyone who will be watching your finished video is going to be experiencing your product or service for the very first time. Avoid industry jargon and “insider” terminology. Even if you think it’s something everyone should know, there’s still a chance they might not.
There’s a good rule of thumb for writing a script, which is to write it as if you’re speaking to a 14-year-old. Think back to when you were that age. I know I felt like I knew everything there was to know about the world, but actually, in hindsight, I knew very little. Apply this to your script. You should treat the audience like they should be able to understand what you’re saying, but you also need to convey the information in a way that even a beginner can understand.
Expand your acronyms
Acronyms are a big no-no. Even if it’s a commonly used abbreviation, like FYI, would you say these acronyms out loud in conversations? Remember, your script is going to be read out by someone. It’s better to use the full phrase, like “for your information” as it’ll sound better when spoken aloud.
The only exception we’ll make to this rule is for computer file types. When people debate over the correct way to pronounce “GIF”, nobody stands up and argues for “Graphics Interchange Format”.
Active Voice vs. Passive Voice
Try to use your active voice more than passive voice in your writing. Passive sentences tend to be wordier and can distance your audience. Active sentences are clearer and more direct, telling the viewer what to do.
Here are two examples.
- “Customers are advised to remove the lid of the tank and empty the water once a week to ensure freshness and cleanliness of the product.”
- “To keep our product clean and fresh, you should empty the tank once a week. Lift the lid and empty the water.”
The first example is trying hard to be formal and authoritative, but the instructions aren’t as clear or engaging. The second example attributes ownership (“our product”, “you should”) and keeps the instructions simple.
The more that you address the viewer directly, using words like “you, me, us, we and I”, the more engaging your video will be.
It can be easy to overlook punctuation when writing. But when you’re writing a video script, you’ve got to remember that your words are going to be spoken by somebody.
Full stops and commas are a voice-over artist’s best friend. They let them take a pause and catch their breath. Don’t let your sentences run on for too long.
On the other hand, too much punctuation can also be a problem. People don’t speak in bullet point lists, for example. Nor do people speak with bracketed interjections (unless they’re a bit of a rambler). So don’t include those in your scripts.
Ideally, you should only be using commas, full stops and hyphens… and maybe an ellipsis or two for dramatic effect.
There is an art to brevity. Keep your script as short as possible.
At the end of the day, your video needs to capture your audience’s interest and you need to do everything you can to keep them engaged enough to watch all the way through till the end.
…these tips have helped and will get you well on your way to improving your video script. However, if you need advice or help with making your script shine, please get in touch!