14 Apr How to write an effective explainer video script in 4 steps
Animated explainer videos are becoming more prevalent as companies look for new ways to connect with their audience online. Here are 4 key steps to help you write an effective script.
Keep it Short
There is no reason why your video needs to be longer than 60 seconds unless it is purely educational. Microsoft did a study and found that by 2013 the human attention span had decreased from 12 seconds (in 2000) to 8 seconds (in 2013) which is 1 second less than a gold fish…. A 60 second animated explainer video is roughly 140-160 words. It might seem challenging to explain what you do in such a short period of time, but remember we are talking about animation and much of what you want to say can be expressed through the visuals. We always provide a written script to our clients, containing both scene direction and narration.
Step 1: The problem: Show the viewer that you understand their pain
Before you can convince someone to buy your product, you first need to connect with them and let them know that you understand their pain. Think about the problem you solve. Where does it first manifest itself? How does it make your customer feel? What is the worst thing that can happen if someone has to live the rest of their lives without a solution? Create a story-line and scenario that is relatable, demonstrating the impact and scope of problem. It’s not a bad idea to give the character a name and refer to him/her so it feels like your talking to your client/customer. The problem section should be around a third of the video, in this case 45-50 words. Comedy is often used to exaggerate the point, but the video doesn’t have to be funny to be effective.
Step 2: The Solution: How do you save the day?
There are many ways to approach the solution, the key is don’t water down the message with a bunch of facts and statistics. Miles Davis is famous for saying “Less is more,” so pick three or four things that separate you from everyone else. You could go with a heroic theme where you play the hero in the story and swoop down to save the day. If your product is an app for example you might consider making this section more informative, describing and showing the key features and how they they work.. Make sure the message is simple and concise. Using simple language can be more inviting and easier for viewers to digest.
Step 3: The Hook: what is the call to action and purpose?
There’s an old saying that you can lead a horse to water…. but its surprising how many videos actually fail to lead the horse there. You can’t make them drink, but if there is no clear call to action the viewer won’t even know that there is water nearby. What are you trying to accomplish? What do you want the viewer to do? Who are you targeting? It could be as simple as getting the viewer to your website to find out more or something very specific like filling out a form. If there is a link below the video or in the description be sure and mention it. If you don’t have a slogan, consider one. Try and break down what you do in three or four words so the viewer remembers and internalizes the message.
Step 4: Adding visual cues
You don’t have to be a storyboard artist to communicate action to an animator. Give a sense of scene description at the top, if the story goes to another location create a new scene with its own scene description. Describe what the environment looks like, but also what the characters feel like…. are they happy, sad, angry, indifferent? Take each sentence or phrase of the narration and give it visual direction, brackets work well. Describe what’s happening in the scene, if your using abstract objects and symbols give the artist a little sense what elements you want in there. Animators/artists are creative, and will figure how to get across what you want.
At Tenzer Animation script writing is a part of our 5 step process. We believe its critical to have a simple method of bouncing ideas back and forth to ensure we meet our clients’ expectations.
- Keep the script to 160 words or less
- spend the first 45-50 words establishing the problem- put the target audience in the story as the lead character
- spend the next 70-80 words explaining how you solve the problem – pick three or four points to focus on
- Use the remaining words to wrap up the story and establish the call to action
- Once you have the narration, write in scene descriptions and visual cues.