The Challenges of Scripting

The Challenges of Scripting

Scripting is a key element of any video, it can also be one of the trickiest to nail. Recently I was asked to pull together a script for a product tha

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Scripting is a key element of any video, it can also be one of the trickiest to nail. Recently I was asked to pull together a script for a product that, in the client’s words, could be used by any industry and was totally customisable. They had no specific target market, the most they had was an idea of who they wanted to speak to within a given company, but that company could be in hospitality, retail, travel or a host of other industries. They didn’t want to exclude anyone, it needed to retain a fairly high level of technical content and, the kicker, the script needed to leave the viewer with more questions than answers. 

With such a wide open brief, the difficulty was always going to be retaining focus. It would have been challenging enough had it been a piece of copy for a brochure or website, but creating a script came with the added pressure of pace, flow and matching it to the planned animation.

The way we speak is rarely like the way we write/read, plus the average person speaks at around 200 words per minute (one of the few facts which has stuck with me from my shorthand teacher), which is a useful guide to pacing the speech. Too slow, it seems laboured, too fast, it’s incomprehensible.

Picking the right tone was also going to be a major part of making this particular script a success due to the very specific storyboard for the animation; the product was going to be given a personality, so it reacted to the different scenarios and what was being said.

To get this right, I had to draw on multiple skills. I spent considerable time researching the product, looking at all the available marketing materials and I asked questions, most of which were able to be answered, before I even opened a word document. My journalistic background also came in handy, deterring me from veering too far into marketing spiel and making sure I kept the story moving, whilst my PR background offered me a window into the client’s perspective, providing me with a clearer picture of what they wanted – even if they weren’t entirely sure of that themselves.

The finished script was completed in two days, with only minor alterations from the client on the first version submitted. The fast turnaround also meant the agency could keep to the planned timeline for delivery.

“Many thanks Sara for your reliability, professional approach and rapid understanding of the key value assets of the message. You have proved that a professional script completely sets the tone for the client’s marketing and sales needs. It’s greatly overlooked in my opinion.”

Rob Granville, MD, LittleVoice Media