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How to Write an Effective Explainer Video Script

The script is the foundation of any video project. In our 20 years of experience in video production, we’ve learnt that you can’t go wrong with a good script. But you won’t be able to pull a miracle with a bad one. While execution is important, if your main messaging is not great, then no amount of technical prowess is going to redeem your video.

In this article, we’ll go over how to write an effective video script for explainer videos using the 3-act story structure. Let’s dig in.

What is an explainer video script?

A video script is the foundation of your explainer video. It's the crucial blueprint that shows the chronological run-down of voiceover text alongside visuals, movement, and sound that you want to appear in your video. Well-thought-out scripts are the key to producing videos that deliver results.

What makes explainer videos unique is that they aim to educate viewers. It follows a general structure which you can use for your educational marketing videos. They are perfect for demonstrating how to do something or explaining how your product/service works or introducing what your brand does.

The most successful explainer videos are brief and visually engaging.

Why write an explainer video script?

Writing a script may seem daunting, especially if it's your first time. But it's absolutely essential to the process. It allows you to plan your messaging, facilitate collaboration with your designers/animators, and lets you estimate and manage the video length.

Unscripted videos waste time, resources, and effort. Considering the investment you put in producing videos, you really can't afford to just wing it.

How to write an explainer video script

By now, you should already have a video production brief on hand. The brief answers the 5 key questions to ask before starting a video project:

  • Why are you producing a video?

  • Who is the target audience?

  • What is your key message?

  • Where will your video be distributed?

  • When will your video be published?

If you haven’t done this step yet, you should do that first. When you start writing your video script, your audience and key message must be crystal clear in your mind.

Once you’ve sorted that out, you can start translating your key message into a story.

The 3-Act Explainer Video Script Structure

Humans are naturally drawn to storytelling. Dry facts and statistics are good, but they are lifeless by themselves. Stories engage viewers and inspire them to take action. By following a good story structure -- one that has a beginning, a middle, and an end -- you’ll give your audience a familiar path to follow.

For explainer video scripts, the 3-Act structure looks like this:

Issue > Solution > Action

Issue: First, you introduce the problem that your business solves. In this act, you typically meet the main character who is experiencing the same issues as your target audience. You talk about how this problem is preventing the main character from achieving their goal or reaching an ideal state.

Solution: Then, you show how your product or service solves this problem. This is the part where your brand swoops in and saves the day. You describe what your product or service offering is, how it works, and its benefits. Most importantly, you explain what makes your solution different from your competitors.

Action: The last act should drive viewers to take action. By now, you should have been able to establish a need for the audience to do something and to create a sense of urgency to do that thing. Some examples of call-to-action prompts are “Sign Up,” “Contact Us,” or “Learn More.”

Let’s see this structure in action:

How TMNZ can help Accountants

Issue: The target audience (Accountants) is seeking a better way to manage provisional tax.

Solution: Tax Management NZ makes paying tax more flexible. It enables accountants to have more options like paying provisional tax when it suits them.

Action: Visit today

Creating characters for explainer videos: The Hero

An effective technique in creating a story for your explainer video is to create a character, the hero of the story. Not all explainer videos require a character at the centre to be successful. But creating a hero character is a powerful way to simplify and focus your story.

The hero character should reflect the target audience. They should be able to relate to the main character -- what they’re going through, what their problems are, and how they are feeling. This will allow the audience to easily follow the narrative arc of your story and better understand the main message of the video.

4 Tips for Writing Better Explainer Video Scripts

1. Keep a Conversational Tone

Scriptwriting is very different from blog or article writing. It’s a bit more casual. Adopting a conversational tone makes the message of the video more understandable and more engaging for audiences.

2. Adapt the Language of your Audience

The language you use in your video is highly dependent on your audience. If you’re speaking to kids, then the language should be simple and light. But if you’re speaking to professionals in a specific industry, you may want to use more jargon.

3. Write out Visual and Audio elements

In your script, be sure to note any cues for shot direction, B-roll, or visual elements happening in the video while the talent narrates the script. This makes it easier for the talent to feel more comfortable.

4. Read through your Script Out Loud

Sometimes, phrases and words sound better on paper than they do out loud. This is why it’s good practice to do a table read where your talent/s can sit down and read the script out loud. This is a great opportunity to enhance the script to make it feel more natural.

Need a professional team to help you create effective explainer videos? Don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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