How do you write a corporate video script? If you Google ‘film scripts’, you’ll be inundated with hundreds of complex and dull-looking documents written in the same font, all looking exactly the same and quite complicated to understand. A corporate video script is presented in a completely different way. While a screenplay has many rules, covering things like formatting, terminology, and presentation, a corporate video script is much easier to get your head around.
A corporate video script uses a table layout.
There are usually three columns, separated into rows at moments when the visuals or narrative changes. By structuring a script in this way, it’s simple for anyone involved in the project to see what’s happening at any given point in a film without needing to understand complex film terminology.
But where do you start when writing a script? There are three columns that make up a typical corporate video script.
Column One: Narrative.
The narrative column contains all of the dialogue that will tell the story of your video, such as voiceover, on-screen presenters, interview comments, or even a combination of the three. Let’s say this is a voiceover or presenter script, a minute of narrative equates to around 150 to 175 words, so be sure to keep an eye on this if you want your film to be within a certain length. If your video is mostly interview-based, the narrative column in the script will need to be written a bit differently. Of course, we don’t want to script interview answers word for word and spoon-feed them to the interviewees.
That not only looks a bit shifty on camera but takes away the naturalistic and spontaneous delivery that you want from an interview.
What you’ll want to do instead is add bullet points of key messages that the interviewer will need to bring out for the interviewees.
A list of questions will be developed further down the line, but at this stage, it’s important to see how the interviews fit in with the overall story. You can include some template or ideal answers to help indicate how the narrative of the film will flow, but remember that you can’t put words in your interviewee’s mouth. Column Two: Visuals.
The second column in a corporate video script explains what visuals will be shown on screen during each scene.
Traditionally, this will be footage that’s captured during a filming day, but it can also include details on stock footage, photography, or animated scenes for projects such as explainer videos. A script writer will pay close attention to what’s happening in the narrative column when describing visuals for a corporate video.
The visuals of course want to support the narrative so they need to be relevant, and exciting and can sustain the length of the narrative. So, if you have around a minute of voiceover, you’ll need more than just a shot of someone walking into a building to cover it.
If the video is completely animated, there may also be storyboard images alongside the script to show illustrated examples of each scene. Don’t forget though, that the script is meant to tell a story, so using expressive and creative language here will help stir up stimulating and inspiring images in the minds of the audience.
Column Three: Graphics and On-Screen Text. The third most important column in a script describes any on-screen text or graphics that are to be seen during the video. These could be, names and job titles of the interviewees, animated titles, technical terms used in call-out graphics, or call-to-action text for the end of the film.
Including on-screen text in the script is particularly important if it is likely to include a lot of phrases or terms that need to be checked for accuracy before filming.
Plus making sure all spellings are double-checked before editing takes place is always useful.
Just like the Visuals column in a script, any on-screen text should be there to support the narrative and not be fragmented in any way. Adding in the on-screen text that isn’t referred to in the narrative would just confuse the audience. This might happen if you want to shorten the film and you think that by moving some voiceover into the on-screen-text column, you’ll save a few seconds of screen time.
But this doesn’t work and it only confuses your film.
Similarly, you don’t want to bombard the audience with extensive bullet points or paragraphs of text.
Keep it concise and essential to the story. Narrative, Visuals, and Text are the most vital sections to include in a script, but you may need additional columns for things like: Numbering each scene. Location information for filming.
Estimated duration of scenes. Translations.
Technical information and so on. But the script is the backbone of every corporate video. Even if a film is mostly interview-based, a script is the only way to show how the film will be structured and explain the story before filming begins.
It’s vital that a script is shared with all stakeholders in the project during the writing stage too, so any feedback is considered and worked into additional draughts before the script is signed off and production begins.
Making script changes after filming or even after editing has started can be both time-consuming and expensive, especially if it involves reshooting or scrapping scenes entirely.
So spending as much time as possible to make sure this stage of the production is perfect before filming, is well worth it. For more handy tips on how to get the best out of your corporate video project subscribe to us on YouTube or find us on social media.
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