Script Writer’s Guidelines

We have had a very nice response to our video production checklist.

https://redpinestudios.wordpress.com/2008/01/02/video-production-checklist/

(or look at the “Recent Entries” box on your right and click on the “Video Production Checklist” link….

So I thought that I would post these guidelines for script writers who have never written a script. We put this together to help one of our corporate clients, who is attempting to do their own scripting. We figured these guidelines could help them to jump-start the process. It can be challenging to get your thoughts organized.

These guidelines can be freely used and distributed, but please don’t forget proper credit and attribution (listed at the bottom of the page).

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Some Script-Writing Guidelines

Before you Begin:

Questions to consider before you begin writing your script

Describe your target audience(s). If you have more than one, list them in the order of highest priority to your company.

List the top 3-5 points that you need your video to make. Try to narrow this down to no more than five.

What is your audience’s current perception of your company?

How is this different from the perceptions that you want them to have after viewing the video?

What feelings, emotions, and sensations do you want to leave your audience with after the video is over?

What action would you like them to take after they have viewed the video?

List the people who will appear in the program.

List the people who will be involved in generating content for the program.

Who has the final script approval?

What is the deadline for completion of the video?

1. The “Hook”

You will want to start your project with a hook – something that will want to make them watch more. It can be visual or audio-based and it should happen with the first 30 seconds – 1 minute of your program.

Some suggestions for a hook: a visual montage of images of your company, someone saying something striking to illustrate a sample of what your company has achieved, an audio testimonial under images.

2. What thread is going to take you from the beginning to the end?

What is the narrative trajectory for your project and where are you embedding this?

Some suggestions: following the experiences of one person, the repetition of a visual motif, the repetition of an audio motif, the conventional story with a beginning, middle, climax, end

3. Structure

It may help you to break down the storyline into more manageable chapters – think of the DVD selection menu on movies that you watch at home and try to make one of these for your project. Organize it according to your 3-5 main ideas.

Do you want to tell one story with a beginning, middle, end?

Do you want to weave other stories into that main story? Where would these sub-stories appear?

Do you want your project to consist of various testimonials or sub-stories? If so, how will you tie these together? Will your story be linear or non-linear?

4. The “Ah-ha” Moment

Is there one? What does it look like? Where/when would it be appropriate for your video? An “ah-ha” moment is a moment that grabs your viewer’s attention. It is the moment that either pulls it all together, or transforms your viewer’s perception, or just a moment that grabs them and pulls them back into the narrative after you have given them a lot of information. It typically appeals to raw emotion. You can have one, more than one, or sprinkle them throughout the various chapters. In the conventional sense, it is a climax or mini-climax.

5. End

Ways to think about ending your video:

Consider what action you want your audience to take.

Add something new, or a promise of a future development or service.

End with your one of your best testimonials.

End with a major achievement.

End with a visual montage/music.

© 2008 Red Pine Studios – may be freely distributed with attribution

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Script Writer’s Guidelines

  1. Sasha Nella

    I am a Final year student majoring in Film and Television and my final project is producing a 10min Corporate video for a Capoeira School. This information has helped me greatly… Thankyou 🙂

    • redpinestudios

      Glad to hear it, Sasha – shoot me a link when you finish it, I would love to see it. Capoeira, what a great subject. Good luck with it.

  2. Hari prasad

    Thank u very much for your information.I am doing my animation and Vfx course. Now i am stepping into do some corporate videos. So please give me some references so that i can make a good video.

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