A video script need not be difficult to follow
Chances are if you are interested in video scripting, you’ve actually seen one or more scripts. Perhaps you’ve seen them in the news when a movie script comes up for auction. Undoubtedly, what you’ve seen is the screenplay format, and this works best for dramas, movies, etc. Its flexibility allows the director to inject his or her vision into what the scene should look like,and so on. This is an example of a screenplay:
But more often than not I know that when we are writing an industrial script for our customers, we need something more. We want precise timing of the many elements, so that frankly, it minimizes the imagination necessary on the part of the client. After all, our clients are typically not video or movie people — in fact they think in one dimension. When we ask our clients, who are the experts in their subject matter, to create a script with two columns (one for video and one for audio) it typically is returned to us not as a true industrial or corporate video script, but more like a brochure. For example, we will find that the client has written the audio portion of the video script with great precision, but the video portion will say “video as appropriate” throughout.
As video professionals we know that 93% of the viewer’s impression comes from non-verbal communication, so that means video has a huge role in conveying the message. When clients give us a script that includes audio, they are only addressing 7+% of the communications equation. audio. So we have found that not only does it work better to see the various inputs of the production side by side, but we must see ALL the elements of the video synchronized.
For years we’ve been using MS Word and creating tables where each column is an element: column 1 is the scene number, column 2 is the video to be shot or used, column 3 is the graphics and titles, etc., while column 4 is the audio. Here is an example of a video script we created and shot for Abbey Carpets and Floors in San Jose. Several of the audio sections are merely mentioned as “CUSTOMER” because the interviews had not taken place. The director’s role here is to lead the interview subjects to support the point that the script is trying to make.
When we create the script, we put the words, description, graphics and so on in their boxes so that the client can see what’s happening concurrently. When we scroll up or down, the elements stay in sync with each other, keeping it all organized.
You can see the finished video for Abbey here.