Corporate video production, by its very nature, blends both science and art, the technical and the creative. The script for your video must do the same.
Creativity is not solely the province of the arts. Scientists, doctors, lawyers, and yes, even businesspeople, are creative every day. They need to be—shorn of creative impulses, how could an experiment be designed, a cure envisioned, a marketing strategy crafted?
Science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, said about creativity:
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”
Intriguing. But could Bradbury really have penned The Martian Chronicles or Fahrenheit 451 without thinking? Certainly the idea for these sci-fi classics emerged from the realm of the creative—but their execution? That required thinking and self-consciousness. In fact, there’s little doubt it was the interplay between the two—the creative impulse on the one hand and the need for rules and order on the other—which generated The Illustrated Man.
The Art and Science of Video Scriptwriting
This takes us to the medium of corporate video. Those who produce corporate videos, at least, those who are good at it, are all-too-familiar with the interplay, the sometimes warfare, between the creative impulse and the rules of their craft. And nowhere is this more the case than in the shaping of a compelling script.
Jason Rich, a marketing and public relations consultant who has written more than 55 books on ecommerce, online marketing and interactive entertainment, says about scriptwriting:
“In addition to being a skill, script writing for video is a creative art form. Even a script for a three-to-five-minute video could take hours, possibly days, to write, rewrite and fine-tune. You want the wording and approach to be exactly how it needs to be in order to properly present your core message to your audience in a way that’s succinct and compelling.”
Scriptwriting 101: the Rules of Engagement
In his book, Entrepreneur Magazine’s Ultimate Guide to YouTube for Business, Rich provides guidelines for writing the kinds of engaging corporate video scripts that are a perfect fit for your audience, and for YouTube. Here are 6 tips to get you started:
- Take the Temperature of Your Audience: Trying to write your corporate video script without knowing your audience is a drop-dead deal breaker. The style of your script—the language and phrasing you employ—simply must resonate with your intended audience. Remember, your marketing video is a message, an act of persuasion, and you don’t persuade Gen Y’ers in the same way you persuade a group of business executives.
- Keep Your Message Focused: What is it you’re trying to say? If you can’t summarize your message in a sentence or two, well, you just don’t have a message. Think about the message, hone it and perfect it. Then make sure your corporate video script presents that message with crystal clarity, with just the right words, and that whoever is speaking those words on camera sounds natural, whether it’s an actor, an announcer or your company spokesperson.
- Kill Your Darlings: Faulkner advised, “In writing, kill all your darlings.” Let your script flow naturally. Don’t become so enamored with your own writing ability that you dilute your message in a litany of cute catch phrases and irrelevant blather that will at best distract, at worst turn off, your audience.
- The Best Corporate Videos Are…Visual: When you write your corporate video script, remember that this is a visual medium. Incorporate images, pictures, graphics, charts and motion graphs to succinctly convey important ideas and keep your audience engaged.
- Exit, Stage Left: A good script is a well-directed script. Be sure to include details on camera angles, shooting locations, music and sound effects, and any animated or multimedia content. This will save you time in the long run and improve the quality of your final corporate video production.
- You Said What? If you’re incorporating dialogue, the interaction has to sound natural and unaffected. Remember that what looks good on the written page doesn’t always sound right when spoken. Take the time for a read-through—you’ll quickly discover that, “Oh yes, that appears to be just right for my business needs!” somehow doesn’t come off as natural-sounding.
It would be nice if scriptwriters could all make like Jackson Pollack and just start throwing paint at the canvas. They can’t. Scriptwriting for corporate video is both an art and a science. It’s a craft with its own set of rules, a skill which takes years to master, especially if you want to put your corporate video in front of millions of viewers.
Before you put your marketing video in front of the masses, you’ll want to work with competent professionals who can assist you with top-of-the-line video production services. And if you need help hiring a good team, check out this free e-guide with cost-saving tips for working with video production companies.
We can help. For more information on how to create a winning video script, contact us today.