OK, so you have a great idea for a series of videos that are going to make you oodles of cash or that you think a million people will want to watch. But really, without a good foundation (script, storyboard, etc…) none of that is going to be possible.
No this isn’t an ad for my writing services, though I have done scriptwriting in the past if you’re in need of a writer. Really, this is a quick set of tips on how to give your video as much potential as it can from a content point of view. The strongest foundation for any video project is a clear idea of what it is you want to show your viewers and you can cement that idea into place with a firm script.
You, as the creator, need to know exactly what you want to show or tell. You need to have some story, some linear piece of content that the viewers can follow so they know what you’re attempting to tell, teach or sell them. This means you have to write it down and put it into a format that will be usable when you go to shoot the video. A standard rule of thumb is that someone speaking English in a formal way will speak around 100 words a minute. So for a five minute video of nearly non-stop speech you would need 500-600 words.
Now you’re making a video here right? So you don’t want five minutes of someone just sitting there talking, or maybe you do. Either way you will want to perhaps cut in some other scenes, videos of the product, stories of other characters, whatever it may be. The best way to begin thinking about this is with a storyboard. It’s like a comic book representation of the video. You have each scene in there along with some planning on what you want to show or how you want to show it.
Storyboarding will help you section the video into smaller bite-sized pieces that you can then wrap your head around and work on as individual units. Then when you have them all put together you can see how the entire story will unfold. This really helps with flow and by planning each sequence separately you can be sure that you will be keeping the pace and flow and that will keep the viewers involved and interested.
The Video Elements
If you’re going for a full-blown production, or want to give the appearance of one, you’re going to want to incorporate some on-screen elements. Text, inlays, videoclips and transitions are great ways to give your video some flair and a more professional look. Generally, this falls into a video editor’s area but you can think about these when you’re doing your storyboard which I spoke about earlier, or you might be doing the whole process yourself and then you need the whole picture.
If you’re going to script a video that generally means you’re going to have someone on-screen at some point speaking. If they’re going to be speaking for any long period of time you will definitely want to give them a way to read what it is they need to say. A teleprompter is a great way to do this. For those with smaller budgets, cue cards, or perhaps a laptop with the words on it large enough to be read and near enough to the camera that the person looks like the are talking to the audience directly while reading.
This is very important. You need to have whomever will be on screen practice what they’re going to say. Maybe even do a recorded run through of things when able so that you can see how it flows and if the words are able to be said properly. Reading and speaking are harder than they seem at first and when you record a practice session and run it back you might realize that there are some words or sentences that will need some tweaking to help get the point across as smoothly as possible.
As with all projects good planning and preparation are keys to creating a successful video or series of videos. Everything you want to do needs to be doable and so that’s where the scripting, storyboarding, planning and practicing really come in handy. They give you a better idea of what your final product will look like and sound like. That means you can take that sample video and show it around to get some feedback from people not familiar with the project.
In my freelancing career I’ve done video reviews for software, written scripts for others and proofread others’ scripts and assisted with production on set. Many of these tips here are things I’ve found especially useful. They’re by no means the only things to think about but merely a place to begin.