Video script writing 101: How-to steps + templates and examples | Biteable (2022)

This step-by-step guide walks you through how to write a video script from start to finish. You’ll learn best practices for planning and writing your script. As a bonus, get downloadable video script templates you can use right away.

You’ve seen the stats.

It’s no secret video is one of the most powerful marketing methods available. Video gets more engagement and drives more growth than any other type of media.

But you’ll only reap the benefits of video marketing if your videos are at least decently produced.

That doesn’t mean every video needs a Hollywood budget, but you do need to put some time into planning your video and writing a video script. Leave the spontaneous selfie-cam footage to Facebook Live and Instagram stories.

The good news is that learning how to write a good video script is easier than it looks. This guide covers the basics of writing a script and gives you a few examples to help you write your own video script.

You’ll learn:

  • How to plan your script.
  • Best practices for writing your script.
  • Tips for choosing the “right” kind of script.
  • Example video scripts to jog your creativity.

Bonus video script templates

Of course, you don’t have to write your own video script. Video script templates are the busy video maker’s secret weapon. Your audience will never know the difference.

If you don’t have time to craft a super-amazing script, you can work from one of Biteable’s video script templates and end up with a fantastic video. At the end of this guide, we walk you through our favorite ready-to-edit presentation, promo, and explainer video script templates available from Biteable.

Create videos that drive action

Activate your audience with impactful, on-brand videos. Create them simply and collaboratively with Biteable.

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How to write a video script

Before we go anywhere with video, let’s be clear about this: keep it simple. As you plan your video and write your script, it’s all too easy to start throwing all sorts of cool ideas out. After all, you can do anything in a video, right?

With an unlimited budget, sure. But we’re willing to bet your budget is limited. So keep your videos as simple as possible. You’d be surprised how much work it takes to produce very minimal on-screen effects.

Planning your video script

With all that in mind, start planning your script. Some writers call this “prewriting”.

1. Identify your audience.

This is a staple in any sort of marketing or copywriting. You need to address a very specific customer with your content, otherwise it won’t resonate. It can be tempting to make it as broad as possible in order to address every potential customer. Avoid this temptation. Something that’s for everybody appeals to nobody.

If you need help identifying who you want to reach, go through the exercises on this worksheet from digitalmarketer.com.

2. Choose a goal.

Next you need to know what the point of the video is. This will depend on where your audience will see the video, what stage of the marketing funnel the video will be used at, and what you want viewers to do after they watch the video, and the key performance indicators you use to track your success.

But if you want viewers to do something specific after seeing the video, you’ll need a call to action. Just make sure your call to action aligns with the purpose of the video. Have a look at this video for FreshBooks. The purpose of the video is quite clear, even if it’s not explicitly stated.

(Video) VIDEO SCRIPT WRITING 101: Basics, Templates & Examples | Complete Tutorial

Freshbooks Customer Testimonial

3. Decide on a central character.

If your video features too many people, it will be difficult to follow and the focus will stray from the main point. Identifying the primary character does two things:

  • It simplifies and focuses your video.
  • It pushes you toward creating a story (if your video needs it).

Some videos, like a product overview, have very little story in them. However, it’s still best if a single person does most of the talking. If you’re producing a video with a narrative arc, it’s best to focus on the main character.

In either case, you need to know who’s going to be on screen most of the time. If you need two or more people in the video, choose one person to show for a majority of the screen time.

Bonus tip: If you can, use the same person as the spokesperson in all your videos. This creates continuity and familiarity in your video content. That’s why brands often create characters that almost function as mascots, like Flo from Progressive.

Fluent in Insurance, also check out Maid for Us

4. Identify the main point of the video.

This boils down to a very simple exercise: tell someone why they should watch this video in one sentence.

When you start writing your script, put the answer to this question as close to the beginning as possible. Let viewers know what they’re going to get right up front, and you’ll retain more viewers.

As a bonus, identifying the point of the video will also tell you what sort of video you need.

Writing your video script

If your planning is good, the writing will be fairly easy. You’ve already created your map. Just follow it.

5. Write out visual and audio elements.

This is super important if you’re doing any sort of voiceover with visuals that cut to different shots. But even if your video is a single shot of someone talking, write the visual and audio aspects into your script.

The script is a set of directions for whoever is shooting the video, and you want the video team to know, without a doubt, what’s supposed to be happening with both the visual and audio elements.

A simple table with two columns is an easy way to format your script. It’s easy to read and see how the video will look and sound. This is a brief two-column video script example:

Map out the visual and audio elements of your video script.

Add as many boxes as you need to cover all the shots in your video.

6. Write your script, then trim to fit.

(Video) How to Write a Script for a YouTube Video (Made Easy!)

Depending on the sort of video you’re making, you may need to cram everything into 15 or 30 seconds, or you could have a full three minutes or more to work with.

Either way, plan for 125 to 150 words of dialogue per minute.

But when you start writing, focus on saying everything you want to say. Once you’ve got all the dialogue written, check your word count, then start axing and rewording until it fits your time limit.

This method makes your script clear and concise. It forces you to keep only the dialogue you need.

Here are a few brief tips for writing dialogue:

  • Speak directly to the audience. Use “you” and talk to your viewers. It’s more personable, and people prefer being spoken to rather than being spoken at.

  • Write it the way you would say it. Your audience isn’t going to read your script. So write what you would actually say, not what looks best on paper.

  • Read your script out loud. This is the only way to find out if your dialogue sounds natural. If you make changes, read it out loud again.

Once the dialogue is clean, you’ll know roughly how much footage you need to shoot and what shots you need. If you’re using a voiceover, be sure to shoot some extra footage to account for pauses in the dialogue and visuals that don’t make the cut.

7. Stick to the video script (mostly)

This is technically not part of writing the script. But it’s related to writing your script. It boils down to one question: why bother writing the script if you’re not going to follow it? That’s like paying an architect to draw a floor plan, then just building your house all willy-nilly.

Once you start filming, follow your script as much as possible. Some minor changes are fine, and professional actors or voice actors can contribute some flair. Or, if you find you don’t have the resources to do what you planned, you may need to make changes or go back and rewrite the script.

But avoid making major changes to the script on the fly just because you think of something cool. Ad hoc changes and ad-libbing rarely turn out for the best. Explosions are cool, but don’t blow everything up just to have some fun.

How to write the right kind of video script

Marketing videos accomplish two things:

  • They educate viewers.
  • They persuade viewers.

Some videos only do one of the two and some do both, but we’re going to split the various types into one of these two categories to keep things simple.

Educational videos: Presentation and explainer video scripts (+ templates)

Presentation and explainer videos fall into the educational category.

These videos are usually for:

  • Demonstrating how to do something.
  • Explaining how your product or service works.
  • Introducing what your brand does.

The keys to success with educational videos are brevity and visuals.

Concise information is easier to remember. That’s why phone numbers are seven digits long. So keep your video short and break it up into manageable blocks of information to help viewers retain what you’ve shown them.

Also, include relevant visuals to show and tell the viewer what you’re explaining, which will increase retention even more. Here’s an excellent explainer video from Mint:

Mint.com “Financial Life”

It’s short (1:32), the visuals are relevant, and the dialogue is broken up into separate statements.

This explainer video from Dollar Shave Club is legendary:

Watch this one more than once, because it’s hilarious. But once you stop spitting coffee, notice how the dialogue is broken up into 10-15 second chunks, which are separated by funny visuals. Distinct, memorable blocks of information.

And just for giggles, here’s a bonus videos to get your inspired.

IT-Man

(Video) How To Format A Screenplay - 5 Basic Elements : FRIDAY 101

To help you create your own explainer or presentation video, Biteable offers video templates you can edit yourself. Here are a few presentation and explainer video script templates to get you started:

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Video templates for Explainer Script

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Watch Full Screen

Video templates for Business Explainer

Edit video

Watch Full Screen

Video templates for Product Explainer

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Watch Full Screen

Video templates for App Explainer

Edit video

(Video) How to Format a Screenplay: Screenplay Formatting 101

Promotional and commercial videos are for getting people to do things. The action you’re after isn’t always an immediate purchase. You could use a persuasive video to get people to consume additional promotional content.

But, most often, promotional and commercial videos are for:

  • Showing the benefits and features of your product or service.
  • Demonstrating what separates your brand from competitors.
  • Showcasing how your product or service will improve your customer’s life.

Customers will often view these videos on social media or in a sidebar on a website. Getting to the point and keeping it short are non-negotiable. A call to action is mandatory as well.

These videos usually get watched with the sound off, so write your script and plan your visuals to work without sound. Including subtitles is also a good idea.

You might be thinking “great! I’ll save myself time and create a video with no dialogue!” That’s a perfectly good idea, but even if your video has no dialogue, don’t skip the script. Write a script for the visuals so you have a plan to work from.

Here are some examples of commercial videos that work well on multiple platforms:

Open Up With Oreo

Speak ASL? – Burger King

Ignore This (Beatbox Version) – Qualcomm Korea

Notice how short these are. Also note that all of them are consumable without sound. But the main takeaway from these videos is that you need to get attention, deliver your message, and get out before your viewer swipes you off their screen.

Video templates starter pack

We know that can be challenging, so we created a starter pack of video template collections you can use and edit yourself:

  • Social media video templates.
  • Video ad templates.
  • Promotional video templates.
  • Explainer video script templates.

Make your first video with Biteable

So you’ve got the knowledge. You’ve got the templates. You’ve got the video editor (Biteable, of course)and you’ve got the power. Now go forth and make some awesome videos.

Create videos that drive action

Activate your audience with impactful, on-brand videos. Create them simply and collaboratively with Biteable.

Get started now

FAQs

How do you write down a video script? ›

How do you write a great explainer video script in 8 Simple Steps? ›

Here's how to do it.
  1. 1) Identify Your Story.
  2. 2) Distill Your Story.
  3. 3) Bring Your Viewer Into the Story.
  4. 4) Add Emotion.
  5. 5) Check Your Length.
  6. 6) Adjust for Voice Over.
  7. 7) Show, Don't Tell.
  8. 8) Test Your Script.

What is a video script format? ›

What is a video script? A video script is the blueprint and foundation for your digital video. It's a chronological run-down of scenes, action and dialogue that you want to appear in your video.

What are the four main steps of creating a video? ›

The process of creating a video should consist of 4 different steps: Pre-Planning, Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production.
  • Pre-Planning. The first step in our production process is the Pre-Planning, where we agree on the strategy and goals for the project. ...
  • Pre-Production. ...
  • Production Phase. ...
  • Post Production.

How do you write a good script? ›

Simple Tips and Ideas for Writing an Engaging Script
  1. Keep the Main Plot Simple. ...
  2. Write a Character to Root For (or Against) ...
  3. Make It Visual. ...
  4. Trust Your Actors. ...
  5. Stick to the Page Limit. ...
  6. Avoid Chunks of Dialogue and Action. ...
  7. Do Your Research. ...
  8. Write on a Schedule.

How long should a script be for a 5 minute video? ›

For a 5 minute video, you would need around 750 words if someone is speaking the entire time. Adjust as needed for scenes without voiceover or dialogue. By using this handy calculation, you and your team can create a successful, focused video script that delivers on value and stays in budget.

How many words is a 30 second video? ›

Word count: Keep in mind that word counts for 30-second explainer videos usually come in at around 75-85 words.

How many words is a 30 second script? ›

The Number of Words in a 30 Second Script is Around 80 Words

Typically, advertising agencies are encouraged to limit their commercial copy (script) to 80 words or less in order to convey their message.

How do you write awesome explainer video scripts in 3 easy steps? ›

How To Write Awesome Explainer Video Scripts In 3 Easy Steps

What is script short answer? ›

A script is a written version of a play or movie. If you're auditioning for a movie, you'll get the script to practice a scene or two. Script comes from the Latin scrībĕre, meaning "to write," and all its meanings have to do with something written.

How can I create a video? ›

How to Make a How-To Video
  1. Choose a topic that can be covered by a video. Ideally, you want to choose a subject that's visually interesting and that can be easily broken down into pieces for your audience. ...
  2. Use a title to draw viewers in. ...
  3. Give simple instructions. ...
  4. Add lots of video clips or photos. ...
  5. Keep it short.
12 Sept 2016

What is a video outline? ›

In the filmmaking business, step outlines are used to highlight the most important scenes; they act as posts to direct the filmmaker through what can sometimes be a murky and uncertain process. The outline will serve as the base and will propel the writer into the next stages of the creative journey.

What are the 8 elements of script writing? ›

The elements for a script are:
  • Scene Heading.
  • Action.
  • Character Name.
  • Dialogue.
  • Parenthetical.
  • Extensions.
  • Transition.
  • Shot.

What are the 5 basic elements of a script? ›

The 5 elements that make up a great story

For this introduction, we're going to call them character, want and need, plot, structure, and conflict and resolution.

What are the main parts of a script? ›

The basic format consists of six major elements: scene headings, action, character name, dialogue, parentheticals, and transitions.

What are the steps of video production? ›

The 5 Stages of Video Production
  • Step 1: Idea Development.
  • Step 2: Pre-Production/Scripting.
  • Step 3: Production.
  • Step 4: Post Production.
  • Step 5: Marketing/Distribution.

How can I improve my script writing skills? ›

How to be a good scriptwriter in 14 steps
  1. Learn the fundamentals of storytelling. ...
  2. Take scriptwriting classes. ...
  3. Study creative content. ...
  4. Develop good writing habits. ...
  5. Write stories you care about. ...
  6. Finish your script. ...
  7. Format your script. ...
  8. Find a mentor.
25 May 2021

How do you write actions in a script? ›

5 Tips for Writing Great Action Sequences in Your Screenplay
  1. Write action lines in the present. Write the description of every action sequence as if you're watching it unfold in real time. ...
  2. Keep action descriptions pitchy. ...
  3. Use slug lines. ...
  4. Don't get too technical. ...
  5. Include the pertinent details.
23 Aug 2021

How do I write a script in Word? ›

To start writing a script just hit alt+S and type your slug line. Then hit ENTER and you'll automatically be in an Action paragraph. Type your description. When you hit ENTER again you will automatically be in another Action paragraph.

How do I know if a script is good? ›

7 Ways To Check If Your Script is Done
  1. Negotiable Characters. Make a list of all your characters. ...
  2. Intimate Relationship. How well do you know your script? ...
  3. Actually Rewritten. I'm surprised by how many writers have never retyped their script. ...
  4. People Give Up. ...
  5. All Words Locked. ...
  6. Out Loud. ...
  7. Your Best All Time.
5 Dec 2019

What are the types of script? ›

Here are eight types of scripts that you can write:
  • Original script. Original scripts include those that you create from your own ideas. ...
  • Adapted script. An adapted script re-imagines an existing story or narrative. ...
  • Screenplay. ...
  • Storyboard. ...
  • Spec script. ...
  • Standalone script. ...
  • Pitch script. ...
  • Shooting script.
11 Mar 2022

How do I write a script faster? ›

10 Techniques to Write Your Screenplay Faster
  1. Outline, Outline, Outline. Often screenwriters get stuck with the dreaded writer's block. ...
  2. Know Your Hero's Journey. ...
  3. Write for a Star. ...
  4. Keep the Action Moving Forward. ...
  5. Remember Your Audience. ...
  6. ABC (Always Be Cutting) ...
  7. Make Your Opening Count. ...
  8. Don't Write Your Oscar Speech Yet.

How many words are in a video? ›

1 minute video should be approximately 150-170 words (with maximum of 6 scenes). Here are some quick numbers: 60 seconds video = 150-170 words (approx) 90 seconds video = 255 words (approx) 2 minute video = 300-340 words (approx) 3 minute video = 450 to 510 words (approx).

How many words is a 15 second script? ›

Stick to these rules of thumb: 15 Second Spot – 30 to 40 words. 30 Second Spot – 75 to 85 words. 60 Second Spot – 150 to 170 words.

How many words is a 3 minute script? ›

Speech and publication coach Daphne Gray-Grant found that, on average, people speak at a rate of 125 to 150 wpm so a 3 minutes long speech uses between 375 to 450 words.

How many words is a 10 minute script? ›

The general rule for speech giving is 100 to 200 words per minute. With this in mind, a 10-minute speech would require 1,000 to 2,000 words.

How many words is 1 minute of voice over? ›

Generally a voice over artist speaking naturally will use about 150 words a minute. A voice actor using the lower part of their voice won't get much further than 120. And then there is the experience level of the voice over actor in question. The more words you want to emphasize the slower you're going to speak.

How many words should a video have? ›

How many spoken words should be in 60 seconds of video? The data suggests that 120 to 200 spoken words per minute is best. If your language is complex and includes words with more syllables, your best bet is to stay within the 120-150 wpm range.

How long is a script of 60 seconds? ›

Timing and Word Count

However, a :60 second script, is between 160 and 180 words. The average person speaks around 130 words per minute, so 180 may be slightly faster than the way a person would talk normally.

How many words is 10 seconds? ›

23 words

How do you explain the concept of a video? ›

The video concept is the basis of your film. It defines which goals should be achieved, how the final product should look, which target group should be addressed, and what is actually the main topic of your film. It is important to work out ideas and bring them on point.

How do you write a script reel? ›

How to Script Videos for Social Media in 5 Steps - YouTube

How do you start an informative video? ›

How to Write Engaging and Informative Video Content
  1. Decide on the target audience, goal, topic, takeaways of the video. ...
  2. Write a script your audience will want to follow. ...
  3. Make sure the introduction stands out. ...
  4. Focus on storytelling. ...
  5. Use a conversational tone. ...
  6. Read it out loud before recording. ...
  7. Include a clear call to action.
28 Jun 2019

How do you write a good explainer video? ›

Explainer video script best practices
  1. Keep it short – 90 seconds or less is ideal.
  2. Your key message and value proposition should be in the first 30 seconds. ...
  3. Speak in 2nd person, using words like “You” and “Your.”
  4. Use simple language – don't alienate viewers with technical terms they won't understand.
7 Apr 2022

How do you film while reading a script? ›

How To Naturally Read a Video Script (Without Doing One Million Takes)

What is script give an example? ›

Script is defined as the written words of a play, movie or show, or a standard message to deliver on the phone or in person. An example of a script is the screenplay for the movie Chinatown. An example of a script is the greeting which is spoken when making phone calls for a call center.

What is scripting language with example? ›

Scripting languages are a specific kind of computer languages that you can use to give instructions to other software, such as a web browser, server, or standalone application. Many of today's most popular coding languages are scripting languages, such as JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Python, and several others.

What is script writing in English? ›

A script is a piece of writing in the form of drama. Drama is different from prose forms of writing, like novels and short stories, as it is meant to be performed either for stage, radio, television or film. This means it has to sound effective when it is read out loud.

How do you write a good script? ›

Simple Tips and Ideas for Writing an Engaging Script
  1. Keep the Main Plot Simple. ...
  2. Write a Character to Root For (or Against) ...
  3. Make It Visual. ...
  4. Trust Your Actors. ...
  5. Stick to the Page Limit. ...
  6. Avoid Chunks of Dialogue and Action. ...
  7. Do Your Research. ...
  8. Write on a Schedule.

How do you write a presentation script? ›

How to write an effective presentation script
  1. Finalise the storyboarding. Planning is everything when it comes to writing a script for a presentation. ...
  2. Stick to the slide content. ...
  3. Remember to add in some pause breaks. ...
  4. Write, practice, iterate and repeat. ...
  5. Remember, You don't always need to write a script.

How do you write a Tiktok script? ›

Basic rules for writing a tik-tok script

From the first seconds, captivate the viewer. Show the story as clearly and clearly as possible. Add humor from the first seconds. Track what part of your story the person may get bored and rewrite it.

How can I improve my script writing skills? ›

How to be a good scriptwriter in 14 steps
  1. Learn the fundamentals of storytelling. ...
  2. Take scriptwriting classes. ...
  3. Study creative content. ...
  4. Develop good writing habits. ...
  5. Write stories you care about. ...
  6. Finish your script. ...
  7. Format your script. ...
  8. Find a mentor.
25 May 2021

How do you write actions in a script? ›

5 Tips for Writing Great Action Sequences in Your Screenplay
  1. Write action lines in the present. Write the description of every action sequence as if you're watching it unfold in real time. ...
  2. Keep action descriptions pitchy. ...
  3. Use slug lines. ...
  4. Don't get too technical. ...
  5. Include the pertinent details.
23 Aug 2021

How do I write a script in Word? ›

To start writing a script just hit alt+S and type your slug line. Then hit ENTER and you'll automatically be in an Action paragraph. Type your description. When you hit ENTER again you will automatically be in another Action paragraph.

What are the 8 elements of script formatting? ›

The elements for a script are:
  • Scene Heading.
  • Action.
  • Character Name.
  • Dialogue.
  • Parenthetical.
  • Extensions.
  • Transition.
  • Shot.

How do I know if a script is good? ›

7 Ways To Check If Your Script is Done
  1. Negotiable Characters. Make a list of all your characters. ...
  2. Intimate Relationship. How well do you know your script? ...
  3. Actually Rewritten. I'm surprised by how many writers have never retyped their script. ...
  4. People Give Up. ...
  5. All Words Locked. ...
  6. Out Loud. ...
  7. Your Best All Time.
5 Dec 2019

What are the types of script? ›

Here are eight types of scripts that you can write:
  • Original script. Original scripts include those that you create from your own ideas. ...
  • Adapted script. An adapted script re-imagines an existing story or narrative. ...
  • Screenplay. ...
  • Storyboard. ...
  • Spec script. ...
  • Standalone script. ...
  • Pitch script. ...
  • Shooting script.
11 Mar 2022

What is a good introduction for a presentation? ›

Welcoming and greeting the audience

Hello, everyone. I'd like, first of all, to thank the organizers of this meeting for inviting me here today. Good morning everyone and welcome to my presentation. First of all, let me thank you all for coming here today.

What is a good way to start a presentation? ›

How to start a presentation
  1. Tell your audience who you are. Start your presentation by introducing yourself. ...
  2. Share what you are presenting. ...
  3. Let them know why it is relevant. ...
  4. Tell a story. ...
  5. 5. Make an interesting statement. ...
  6. Ask for audience participation.
30 Aug 2021

How do you write a short presentation? ›

At the beginning of the presentation: Introduce the topic. State the objective of the presentation.
...
Three Key Steps to Prepare for a Brief Presentation
  1. Reduce time for completion of task.
  2. Increase customer satisfaction.
  3. Reduce need for outside resources.
  4. Reduce non-value added activities.
28 Jan 2015

What are the four main steps of creating a video? ›

The process of creating a video should consist of 4 different steps: Pre-Planning, Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production.
  • Pre-Planning. The first step in our production process is the Pre-Planning, where we agree on the strategy and goals for the project. ...
  • Pre-Production. ...
  • Production Phase. ...
  • Post Production.

How can I create a video? ›

How to Make a How-To Video
  1. Choose a topic that can be covered by a video. Ideally, you want to choose a subject that's visually interesting and that can be easily broken down into pieces for your audience. ...
  2. Use a title to draw viewers in. ...
  3. Give simple instructions. ...
  4. Add lots of video clips or photos. ...
  5. Keep it short.
12 Sept 2016

How do you write and copy a video? ›

5 Things You Need to Know About Writing GREAT Marketing Copy

Videos

1. How to Write a 30 Second Commercial Video Script
(Marketing 360)
2. Can You Show An Example Music Video Script?
(VLAMP How-To Show)
3. How to Write a Script: Step-By-Step with Examples
(Twinkl Teaches KS2)
4. 6 Simple Scripts for Explainer Video [Step-by-Step]
(Rued Riis)
5. How to Write a Script for a YouTube Video
(Jeven Dovey)
6. Broadcast Script Writing 101
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