Written words are such a powerful tool and when harnessed in a good script they can be pretty emphatic.
We are surrounded by them every day. Some we read and some we hear.
And whether we are watching some film about an Extra-Terrestrial, an episode of Breaking Bad or a short promotional video, two common traits are always shared: they are all stories encapsulated within a script.
The purpose of a script is to produce the concept, or idea of the video (or film), in written form. It therefore also helps dictate the direction that the visuals may take.
And this is where the focus of this piece lies, with those written words used to fashion a script.
“Audiences are harder to please if you’re just giving them effects, but they’re easy to please if it’s a good story.”
– Steven Spielberg
And Spielberg knows.
As Loftworks’ Production Manager and in-house writer, I have produced various forms of written content during the past few years; from short video and animation scripts, and website copy to marketing material.
So let’s explore the importance of a script and how it can be utilised to refine your message — to ultimately bolster its impact.
Script of equal measure
Though let’s downsize from Spielberg’s natural habitat of the million dollar film industry to the more modest environment of promotional video.
When combining a solid script with appealing visuals, you are invited aboard a dynamic and expressive vehicle that can both inform and entertain.
But of course, it can work both ways...
Even provocative and engaging visuals could appear undernourished without a script of equal measure, so achieving that balance is imperative.
You’ll often notice a bad script more than one that shines, and again, this can detract from even the most immersive visuals and therefore hinder your enjoyment.
Message of clarity
Many clients who contact Loftworks want a video. They often know what they are trying to say but can sometimes struggle to surface it. They often come to us with a script that is muddled.
And this is a vital stage of the process. To make the video memorable your message must be delivered with precision, craft and fluidity — otherwise, the interpretation can be cloudy.
In a short video, by offering too many strands of narrative your audience may come away slightly dazed and not remember your key message: that all-important ‘call to action’.
And this, of course, is the very essence, or reasoning, behind your video.
Audiences (perhaps subconsciously) appreciate a clear beginning, middle and end.
It’s what they have become familiar with, as that is how many forms of entertainment are structured, and with this blueprint, a script already has the bones of a natural story arc.
Delectable and moreish
In promotional videos especially, audiences don’t appreciate being asked to cut through noise or to be fed anything that doesn’t offer genuine sustenance to the story’s existence.
The message must be delivered with clarity; this is one purpose of a good script. It will avoid repetition while the information will be structured in a succinct and accessible manner.
The audience wants to be engaged and an experienced writer will enable this. But what of flair?
Even a good ‘promotional’ story, or video, can be informative while also offering originality and evoking emotion.
Therefore, the clever use of language or even traces of humour, in moderation, are fine, the latter can even offer subtle interludes.
A skilful writer will streamline the key elements of your message to present them with a more delectable coating. Absorbing the audience into your story to make them want more is key, so each line of script needs to earn its place.
In summary, the script is one of the main arteries of visual production and its value should never be underestimated.
Spielberg was not the only esteemed filmmaker to eulogise a ‘good story’ — nor will he be last, and this only typifies its importance.
This may all seem to be on a much grander scale, but the significance in his words undeniably remains.