I just saw this on FundsforWriters.com and thought I’d pass it along. It’s so interesting, especially for writers:
Tips for Creating a Better Script for Video/Photo-Montage
By Holly Adams
Although I am a writer, I am also a Voice Talent for webmercials,
e-learning, and audiobooks. This week, I have been hired for a
real-estate agency’s web video, and find myself in a common
situation: The person creating the script is not familiar with
writing for this medium. Hence, I created a ‘how-to’, useful
whether you are creating a video-trailer for your book or writing
for a corporate website!
* TIME (step one)
Watchable time is 3 minutes, and most quick web pieces are less.
Three two-minute pieces are better than one 6 minute piece; most
people click away at 1.5 minutes. 200 words is around 1.5 minutes,
so aim for 200-350 words.
With that in mind, write down EVERYTHING that you think is important.
Read aloud at a medium pace, and time it. Your written piece is
probably five minutes. Now prioritize what you think is important,
and write those concepts down in bullet form. Note if you like a
certain ‘tone’ (Cheery? Mellow? Dramatic? Authoritarian? Snarky?).
* IMAGES (step two)
==Do I have images for each of my bulleted ideas? Make a note next
to your bullets of how many images you have for each and what they
look like. Yes, you can write an image into more than one category-
although you will not SHOW the image twice, writing it in two places
gives you placement options. If there are ideas WITH NO IMAGES, then
you need to get some OR decide to use written text (like “Comes in
red as well”) OR save that idea for a later project.
==Do I have enough images for a whole sentence? This is a biggie.
Watchable time for each image is 2-3 seconds. Lovely long compound
sentences do not work, nor do sentences where the main object or
verb is at the end of the sentence — people need to hear information
that explains, modifies, colors what they are seeing.
==Which images are strong and should be first? I know it seems bass-
ackwards to think about how it looks rather than what you want to say,
but this is a visual medium first and foremost — your message is embedded
in the images, not the other way around.
==What if I am having a video/photo professional create my images or
use my existing images to decide which goes where? Highly recommended.
HOWEVER, you should still have a notion of what KIND of images best
show your idea and what kind of image might be a most-compelling
* SEQUENCE (step three)
Start and end with the strongest images. Which ideas do they match
on your bullet sheet? You may have to do some realigning of ideas
and images, and that is okay. The strongest image/concept-clump is now
first. What should come next? The second section is often a lesser
point. In general, organize your sequence with main points separated
by smaller points (e.g. ‘main, small, main’).
* SCRIPT! (step four)
Remember—SHORT AND SWEET. How can you talk about your ideas beautifully,
dynamically and succinctly? Remember, each ‘slide’ will only be 2 or 3
seconds and that your total time is 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. Now touch base
with your visual artist (if you have one). As an expert in the visuals,
s/he will tweak your concept to give the piece have your tone and tell
an interesting story.
* REVISIT/REVISE (final step)
Your video-photo person will send you the piece for alterations. Send
back your thoughts with any script changes, then wait for the final
Holly Adams is the lead writer for Mystery & Adventure Agency, a
successful children’s playwright, and has been published in the
Teaching Artist Journal, the NYS Autism journal, Brespols’ Silk
Roads Art & Architecture, and Kinvene Magazine. Her work on Autism
and the Arts is posted in three countries. A performer as well,
Holly loves narrating audiobooks and web projects.