How to write a great script for an animated explainer video
Our friends over at The Animation Guys have put together this insightful guide on how to put together great writing great scripts for animated content whilst avoiding the common pitfalls that companies tend to fall into. You can check out their member page here.
So, what are the first steps?
Calendars have been consulted. Meetings have been made. Handshakes have been shaken and everything is in place to start your exciting animated project!
As you may already know, the first part of the process is the script. Sometimes we receive scripts and advise on them. Sometimes we develop a script together with our clients. The latter requires rustling up some relevant information, learning about your brand and understanding what it is you are trying to communicate. Hopefully, this will help you gather the right information so that when the animation comes to life, the story, structure and characters all reflect the key messages you are trying to get across.
At this stage, there are a number of questions we get used to answering. It seems like there are a lot of preconceptions about this process. Here are some frequently asked questions:
Can you write the script for us?
Can I give you this 10,000 page PDF and you write a 1-minute script summarizing all of it?
- No! Well… not exactly! It’s always good to have more to work with. However, we see a trend in people trying to cram too much information into scripts. Remember that your audience needs to retain the messages for it to be effective. If there are too many messages, the brains of your audience may implode. Whilst on paper that sounds good, we advise staying clear for legal reasons.
How long does it take to write a script?
- It really depends. There needs to be a certain amount of time dedicated to getting this right and if there are hold-ups at this stage they are more commonly on client feedback side. The timeline can be expedited but expect the first week or so to be dedicated to getting this right.
How many words are needed for a 60-second script?
- We aim for 140.
How late in the game can we change the script?
- In order to make the most of your investment of time and money in this production, we need to lock off each stage before moving forward.
A Great Foundation
The script is a very important step. Ideas and raw potential are poured into it which create the bones to flesh out the rest of the project. Getting the script working right is crucial.
Things to focus on at this stage are…
Will this resonate with the target audience? Is what your saying going to grab their attention. Everything from the core message to the type of language should ‘ring true’ to your audience.
If it’s information led, are we presenting it clearly in an easy to follow way? Remember that your audience needs to be educated and not bombarded with information.
If its more conceptual or story driven we ask ourselves if the story beats are showing enough to the audience so that they connect with the story on an emotional level. Some might say it’s like a fine wine, it needs time to breathe.
What context is the video being watched in? This will have a big impact on the language you use. If it’s an awareness piece targeting people in their personal life via Instagram or TV advertising, perhaps something more conversational. If it’s an Internal Training Video, then perhaps something a little more professional and serious.
The Collaborative Approach
We think the best things happen with collaboration, think peanut butter & chocolate, Ben & Jerry, Nutella and large spoons… Is our sweet tooth showing? That’s why we put such importance on the client’s input and feedback. You’re a brain box on your company and it’s sector, what the video objectives would be, your target audience and USP’s. Our expertise is on the story, character and animation. That’s going to help make this thing really sing at the end of the day!
The script is no exception and while later stages (Style Frames, Storyboard, Animation) are more feedback based the script needs to have some initial input. That’s why we’ve developed some questions we ask at the beginning of the project to get us all on the same page. We advise writing these out at the top of the document you write your script on, to make it very easy for yourself!
The kind of questions we ask range from:
- What are the communication objectives? What does success look like?
- Who is the audience?
- What do we want the audience to do?
- What are the key messages? What is the most important key message and why?
- How do we communicate this in the video?
- What’s the tone of your video?
Now that you have looked inwards (#mindfulness #buda #blessed) and answered these important questions you can filter these into a script structure. For us, the next step is we send over a tailored document that lays out this structure for you to fill out. Then when you send that to us we can advise on the best way to add themes and narrative structures to make it super #engaging!
Get a free script pack today!
So that’s the first step in a neat little nutshell. Fancy having a crack at it? Then get in touch and we can send you over a script pack. All the info you need will be right there to get your project off the ground!