Movie directors often solely concentrate on how to shoot and cut superb movie, what with their savvy camera tricks and editing technics. Inbound marketers, on the other arm, concentrate not only on the importance of how to generate top-notch movie. but also why developing excellent movies is vital to their marketing efforts.
Most marketers wear a lot of hats, however, and let’s just say that of all the hats worn, the videographer hat is not typically their primary one. That’s because creating movie — much less creating fine movie — can be scary, especially if you’re fresh to it.
And if you’re a new-comer, you may overlook how significant the planning stage of movie production is — the part where you indeed solidify your movie concept, objective(s), and script.
So that’s what we’re going to metal out here: how to write an effective movie script to ensure the best possible movie emerges from your editing software and onto your publishing platform of choice.
How To Write a Solid Movie Script
Step 1: Commence concepting with a brief.
A brief? Indeed? Yes — truly. Albeit it might seem like this is an effortless step to skip, it’s not worth it.
Creating a brief permits you and your team to document the answers to truly significant project questions so everyone involved in creating the movie can get on the same page. And that’s ideal, because you know what’s the worst? When you’re three-quarters of the way through the editing process and your boss or colleague wants to entirely redo that entire shot where you demonstrate how your gizmo solves global heating.
When pesky predicaments like this one attempt to stand in the way of progress, you can just refer back to that questionnaire containing the goals and project plan your team mapped out together, and say, “No way, Jose. That’s not what we agreed to.”
And boom. You can stir on.
Concentrate on your goals, topic, and takeaways when developing your brief.
A brief doesn’t have to be fancy, nor does it have to go after a specific formula, but there are several key questions every questionnaire should include to craft an effective movie script.
What’s the purpose of this movie? Why are we making the movie in the very first place?
Who are we making this movie for?
What’s our narrow movie topic? (The more specific, the better. For example, if you’re in the house painting business, you might choose a topic like “buying the right paint brush”).
What are the takeaways of the movie? What should viewers learn from watching it?
What’s our call-to-action? What do we want viewers to do after they’ve finished watching the movie?
You can lightly create a brief in Microsoft Word or a Google Doc to serve as a living, breathing template that you revise over time.
Different movie projects may require your team to think through different things before you get scripting and shooting, so you may find that you add or subtract certain questions to your brief as you become more experienced with movie creation.
Step Two: Write your script.
Once you’ve picked a topic, it’s time to write that script.
Just like the brief, the movie script doesn’t have to be fancy. You’re not attempting to submit this script for any awards or string up it in the hallway. It’s purpose is stringently functional. A good script makes it effortless for the people on camera to get their message across while sounding and acting natural.
Write in plain, conversational English.
Writing a script is not the same as writing a college paper or marketing research report. You want to write the script how you want the movie subject to speak. On camera, telling, “I’m gonna create a movie after reading this blog post” will read much better than “I am going to create a movie after reading this blog post.”
Make it thorough.
A script doesn’t just include dialogue. If your movie will require numerous shots, characters, or scenes, include these details. Be sure to include any necessary information about the set or stage deeds, such as a wardrobe switch.
Basically, you want the script to be thorough enough that you could forearm it off to someone else to shoot.
Differentiate the main narrative from B-Roll, text overlays, and voiceover using different formatting or callouts.
If your movie will transition from a the subject speaking the primary narrative to a close up shot of your product with a text overlay, you’ll want to call that out in your script so anyone who reads it knows what’s supposed to be read on screen versus incorporated in the editing process.
Take a look at how the folks over at Wistia did that in the movie script for Wistia’s Scripting Tips below. Text overlay is called out with a big, bold “TEXT,” audio is called out in all caps (REWIND SOUND), and B-roll or extra details are called out in italics (with glasses on). (Note: It might help to observe the movie very first for the excerpt of this script to make sense).
Script every word.
It’s understandable to think you can just jot down the main bullet points for a script and then just wing it on camera, especially if you know your subject matter. This treatment makes it harsh to communicate a message as clearly and concisely as possible (which you should aim to do in every movie you create), and it usually results in a lot of re-dos.
So, we suggest scripting every last word. Trust us — doing this will keep you organized during filming and save you explosions of time later.
Make it brief.
Shorter movies are better than long movies. and to make brief movies, you need a brief script. Don’t write a script any longer than two pages. If you can keep it to one page, even better. It’s also worth doing two to three rounds of edits solely focused on cutting all unnecessary fat.
The result is a movie that’s succinct, engaging, and permits for a plain editing process.
Use Google Docs.
Our friends over at Wistia recommend using Google Docs so that your team can collaborate on the script. The cool part about using Google Docs for scripting: Your revision history is always there for you in case you need to revert to a previous version, and your teammates can use the comments feature to add their two cents without switching the actual script copy.
We recommend letting one person take the lead in writing it, and then inviting others to use the comment feature to add their thoughts and suggestions later on.
Use this script template.
Writing a script from scrape is way tighter than kicking off with an example. To give you a head begin, download this Word Doc movie script template we used to create this movie with Wistia.
Have your script ready? Neat. Now it’s time to.
Step Three: Do a table read.
Now that you know how to write a script, it’s time for a table read — the part where you practice bringing that script to life on camera.
Why practice? Because some words look fine on paper, but once you read them aloud, they just don’t sound right. The table read is where you indeed get to fine-tune the tone and nix anything that sounds too decent, too improper, too robotic, or otherwise inappropriate for the message you aim to convey.
Witness the awesome movie on how to do a table read, brought to you by our mates over at Wistia .
Oh, and one last peak.
When it’s time to shoot, use a laptop and a chair as a teleprompter.
Just as you don’t need a fancy script, you don’t need a fancy teleprompter to recall your lines. But you do need help remembering your lines. You can actually just use two things you already have — a chair and a laptop — to keep your lines handy as you’re shooting.
Are there other tips you have for movie marketers when it comes to putting together a fine script? Share your advice with us below!