December 5, 2023
Min Read

How to Write a Video Script: 6 Steps and Tips

Learn how to write a video script with a great hook, message, and call to action. Discover why effective scripting is so important and how to get it right.

A laptop sits open on a desk, displaying a scriptwriting program. Next to it, a notebook lies open, filled with handwritten notes. A film clapperboard rests on the edge of the desk, ready to mark the start of a new scene.

You wouldn’t bake cookies without a recipe. Why film a video without a script?

Whether you’re new to content creation or a pro, we all have days when we make mistakes, go off-topic, or say too many filler words during filming. Instead of spending time re-recording or editing a video, organize your thoughts with a script. 

A well-planned video script can provide the structure you need to stay on track and effectively share your message. Here’s how to write one with all the elements you need to hook viewers and keep them watching.

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What Is a Script?

A script is a written plan of everything you’ll say and do in a video, including the introduction, structure, and key points. It should also include extra notes about timing and transitions, giving you all of the information you need to film the video and tell the story effectively. Keep it handy while you record so you stay on track and remember what to say. 

Why Should You Write a Video Script?

It’s easy to sit down and start recording when you have a great video idea. However, that method might not consistently give you the most coherent or interesting final product. The occasional vlog or stroke of inspiration might lead to great content, but it might also create confusing or less interesting videos. 

If you have a clear idea of what to say, writing a script is the best way to stick to the plan and ensure you say everything you need to. Here are the two most important reasons to write a script for your next video:

Boosts Clarity

You don’t want to sit down to edit your video and realize you missed a key talking point. Thinking about what you’ll say before you film makes sure you cover everything you need and say it in the best way possible. 

This is also important if you’re collaborating. Sharing a script ensures everyone involved follows the same messaging, resulting in a more cohesive final video, and an easier filming process.

Saves Time and Resources

Having a blueprint to follow helps you film and edit more efficiently so you don't have to spend as much time fixing mistakes and cutting clips together. You’ll avoid filler words like “um” and “like,” and if you lose your spot while filming, you’ll see exactly where to pick back up. 

Using your time wisely is crucial when you're trying to grow your following. The more time you have saved, the more you can spend creating and sharing great content, and the more opportunities you’ll have to show up on viewers’ Explore pages. Scripting may take time out of your day, but it’s worth it to plan ahead and prioritize your video’s quality.

How to Write a Video Script in 6 Steps

 Image of a whiteboard with different elements of the script highlighted.

Everyone’s writing process is different. You might scribble down a few talking points right before filming or spend hours thinking of the perfect words to share your ideas. There’s no “right” way to make a script, but if you need a place to start, try these steps:

1. Define Your Target Audience

Before you start working on your script, decide who your video is for — also known as your target audience. This group of people can be as vague or specific as you want, like “Gen Z” or “people who want to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator.” This is to help you know who you’re writing for, and it will make it easier for you to tailor your script to meet their needs and interests. 

Your target audience will impact: 

  • Where you post — Your audience's demographics, interests, and online behavior will guide your choice of platform. To reach a younger or visually-oriented audience, you may opt for TikTok, while Instagram may be a better place to reach millennials. When you know where to post your video (whether that’s one platform or many), you can see what’s popular on those platforms and emulate that in your script.
  • Video length — Different platforms have different formats and time limits. Instagram Reels are usually 90 seconds long, so you’ll have to make sure your script doesn’t exceed that. If you know your target audience loves long-form content, you can plan for a 30-minute YouTube video and write a long script instead.
  • Visuals — While writing your script, think about how your video will look. Things like stickers, captions, and effects will show your personality and add to your message. This can help you establish a strong and relatable online presence that resonates with your audience.

2. Set Your Main Goal

Your video should have a clear purpose so your script doesn’t go off track. If you’re unsure of what direction to go in, ask yourself:

  • What problem are you trying to solve? 
  • What makes your message unique?
  • What do you want your audience to walk away with? 

The answers to these questions can tell you what you really want to write about. If your goal is simply to entertain and make viewers laugh, you’ll know your script should have lots of jokes. If it’s to show them how great a product is, make sure your script explains why the product is unique. 

Having a clear goal also helps you track your video’s performance later on. If your video’s purpose was to get viewers to click on the link in your bio, you can check how many clicks you got. Did you achieve that goal, or will your next video need to do something differently?

For new creators, less specific goals like “Try scripting a video” or “Test out this new type of content” is still a valid — and important — goal. You’ll learn about the process without adding the stress of metrics or performance just yet. 

3. Create a Script Outline

An outline is like a map of your video script, showing you where to start and end so you don’t get lost along the way. 

Start by brainstorming. Jot down ideas of what you want to talk about and plan how your video will achieve your goal and address your audience. Then, you can put those ideas into a logical flow with a beginning, middle, and end. 

If you aren’t sure where to begin, you could follow the A.A.A.A formula for your outline:

  • Grab the audience’s attention with a catchy opening line.  
  • Agitate a problem you can solve. 
  • Show the activity involved in solving the problem.
  • Guide the audience on how to take action.

4. Create Your Script

Divide your script into sections to make writing easier and create a flow for your script. Here’s a basic template to help you get started:

  • Captivating hook — Include a hook in your intro to give viewers a glimpse of what's to come and instantly grab their attention. Remember that your script can include visual elements or cues, not just what you’ll say. Consider a line like “Have you ever…?” or an eye-catching image that makes them want to know more instead of scrolling to the next video. 
  • Engaging main content — Once you’ve grabbed the audience's attention, keep it. Don’t overload the middle section with facts or long interludes. Maintain the viewer's interest with stories, jokes, or other information that helps you reach your video’s goal. 
  • Surprise or twist — If you can, include a fun element like a twist or surprise, such as a punchline that goes against what users would expect. You’ll intrigue viewers and make your video stand out. 
  • Call to action (CTA) — Conclude with a CTA that asks viewers to subscribe for more or check out your profile. This shows potential followers that you have more great content for them, so if they liked the video, they’ll know that there’s more where that came from. 

This general structure provides a helpful starting point for any kind of video. If you’re trying to tell viewers the impacts of pollution on sea turtles, you could start with “You won’t believe what a sea turtle goes through every day,” then explain the problem. Once you have your audience hooked, you’ll explain how to take action and learn more, whether that’s from your profile or another source.

How thoroughly you develop the script is up to you. Some creators might prefer to make bullet points of the main talking points they need to elaborate on, but others might want to write every word to avoid improvising. Experiment to see what method feels most authentic for your content. 

5. Run Through Your Script and Edit 

Before recording, read your script aloud. Words that look good on paper might not sound as good when you say them, and you want to catch any weird phrases before they end up in your video. 

As you read your script out loud, take notes about what to edit and simplify, catching anything that feels too formal, awkward, or robotic. You should also make sure that everything you say matches your main message and goal.

4 Script Writing Tips

A person using their laptop. They are using the Captions AI Script Editor to help them with their work. They are holding a cup of coffee.

If you’re feeling stuck or aren’t sure if your script is the best it could be, here are a few tips: 

1. Use an AI Assistant Like Script Editor in Captions

To overcome writer’s block or draft scripts faster, use an AI tool like Script Editor within the Captions app. It can generate a script for you with just a few instructions so you don’t have to waste time brainstorming. 

Within the Captions app, all you have to do is:

  1. Tap on “Create” and select “Script.”
  2. Select a template for short-form content, long-form content, an ad, or a sales pitch. You can also select “Auto” if you aren’t sure.
  3. Enter a short description of what you'd like your video to be about, like new makeup products.
  4. Add keywords if you want, like lipstick or highlighter.
  5. Choose your preferred tone of voice from options like professional, casual, or funny.
  6. Choose your video length from short, medium, or long.
  7. Select a language for your script.
  8. Tap “Generate script” and watch the Script Editor work its magic.
  9. Edit as necessary to add personal touches.

2. Get to the Point

Your audience might scroll past your video if they don’t think it’s interesting enough to watch. Get to the point fast to keep them engaged. Your hook is arguably the most important part of your video, so make sure it appears right away and captures viewers’ attention quickly. It could be the difference between losing a view and earning a follower.

3. Be Authentic

It’s a good idea to watch videos similar to yours to get a sense of what works. However, don’t copy them. Take inspiration, but set your content apart by creating an authentic script that lets your personality shine through. It fosters trustworthiness and shows the audience why they should follow you.

4. Make Your Video Stand Out

When writing your script, think about what you want your finished video to look like. Take note of all the elements you want to include, like captions, animations, or infographics. That way, when it comes time to film and edit, you already know what you need to include.

Remember, some viewers scroll without sound. To quickly grab audience attention and boost engagement, use Captions to add subtitles to your videos. It gives people something more to look at, gives hearing-impaired viewers the chance to experience your ideas, and sets you apart with unique fonts and colors.

Script, Film, and Edit the Perfect Video With Captions

Video scripts make sure you deliver an interesting and polished message every time. However, they can take a lot of energy to create. Use Captions to generate an AI script and give you the starting point you need to film studio-grade videos 10x faster. 

With a strong script, you have one of the most important ingredients in your recipe. To complete it, use Teleprompter for easy access to your script, AI Trim to cut away any pauses or filler words, and AI Eye Contact to fix any moments you looked away from the camera. That way, you can focus on telling your story, and let Captions take care of the rest.

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December 5, 2023
Min Read
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