Scripting Educational and Training Videos

There is no one right way to script a Training or Educational video, but the following Two Column Script approach is one that I’ve found to work well as it provides a good balance between planning things out in detail, and staying flexible to adapt the shoot to the circumstances on the day.

1. Audience

Before you start writing, ask yourself who is it that will be watching this video? This will help guide you in deciding on the tone and the type of language that will best engage with this audience.

2. Key Points

What is it that you’re Audience wants or expects to learn? Brainstorm the important information to get across in the video. You can do this by creating a simple bullet point list of all the key points to be made.

3. Script Structure

Take a look at how you might break the information up into sections to help provide a clear journey for the viewer.

The rate of information flow is important to keep in mind. Too much information without space in-between for the viewer to process what they have just seen and heard can be over whelming. Too little information and the viewer is likely to become bored and start skipping ahead.

It may also be appropriate to add a short welcome or an overview at the beginning to help prepare the viewer for the information to come.

And, if you have an intro then you’ll likely want a logical way of ending the video, this could be a recap of the information, a troubleshooting section or perhaps simply a “thank you for watching” and directions on where to go for additional information.

4. Two Columns

As the title implies this script format has two columns, I usually have the Audio on the Left and the Visuals on the Right.

In the Audio column will go everything that can be heard (presenters lines, voiceover script, music start & end points, sound effects etc).

If there are unscripted parts such as interviews then you can simply put into the Audio column each of the key points that the interviewees will be talking on. Opposite the Audio in the Images column will go everything that can be seen (video images, photographs, graphics, text, transitions etc).

5. Focus on Audio

Time to put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard). When writing your script it’s good to start with the audio column. Remember that this will be heard so read it aloud to get a sense for how it sounds, if something sounds awkward or unclear, rework it until it sounds natural and clear. Remember to keep in mind the tone and type of language you decided on when thinking about your audience.

6. Time your Script

Chances are your script at this stage is longer than you think. The best way to know for sure though is to get out a stopwatch and time it as you read it aloud. Ask yourself if the length is appropriate for the video’s purpose? Can you simplify or refine it further?

7. Think in Images

Once you’re happy with the audio column turn your attention to the visuals column. Ask yourself what images would support the audio opposite. If you know exactly what will be available to shoot on the shoot days you can list each shot as you imagine it. If you’re planning a shoot where you don’t know exactly what will happen, then just put in very general descriptions or possibilities.

Remember everything need not necessarily be captured on the shoot days, you might also have some great pre-existing still images that can be incorporated or maybe some graphic elements or text on screen would be more appropriate for some parts.

8. Get Feedback

Give your script to people whose opinion you respect and trust for some feedback. If you get the same comments from several people, these are likely to be comments or advice worth listening to.

Happy Scripting.