An earlier article by Tamara Weintruaub provided hints for getting the most out of your YouTube videos with tips about creating and promoting effective videos. One preliminary aspect I did not see is how to develop a script.

A video script with suggested narration, audio and screen shots can be a valuable planning tool for you (or your client), the videographer and the editor. Having written numerous video scripts for marketing, training, and public relations, I have found getting “buy in” from a client with a well-written script can save time and money.

Here is a suggested video script checklist.

  1. Format: Two columns. Left column titled Narration or Audio; right column titled Visuals or Scenes.  Number each segment, e.g., Scene One, etc.
  2. Narration: I have found it more efficient to write the narration and/or dialogue first and then write in the suggested visuals to support the copy points.
  3. Visuals: Besides giving you a mind’s eye picture of how the finished piece will look, the script also helps the photographer plan the shots and allow for shooting scenes out of sequence to save time. Then edit them in post-production.
  4. Types of Shots: You can open with an establishing or long shot (LS) under a title, then move to a medium shot (MS) and then a close shot (CS). Start with the front of a building, then pan in and segue to an office with the narrator / presenter at her desk. At the end of the video, reverse the process.
  5. Timing:  For most videos being used for self-promotion or marketing, they should run about three-minutes.  If you absolutely have more that needs saying, make two videos  a part one and a part two.
  6. Keep it light: Avoid THS (Talking Head Syndrome). As with posting to a blog, find your “voice.” Perhaps a video on how you solved a client’s problem. Or why you joined a roller derby team. Don’t try to cram Godfather IV into three minutes.  Give yourself and your viewers a break. Remember! It’s only a movie!

Read more: The Importance of Careful Language in Script Writing