You can have the best-animated explainer video in the world, but unless you have a script that supports and reinforces the messaging viewers can be left confused. At Salamandra.uk we always pay close attention to the script right from the start of the animation process as it plays a key part. Here are some top tips to help with yours:
- Write as you speak
In most cases, writing for the ear is more informal than writing to be read. Imagine you are speaking to someone while you are writing. When you write as you speak, you will naturally use smaller words, a more conversational tone and shorter sentences. Pro Tip: a voice-over script should not sound like it was scripted.
- Learn from radio commercials
Have you stopped listening to commercial radio? You may want to listen once more. You can learn from their 30-second radio commercials. Radio commercials fly by quickly. The writers focus on one relevant point. They often use this formula: say it-explain it-repeat it. The lead sentence gets your attention and evokes curiosity. The next few sentences provide the details. This is followed by repeating it. This isn’t a bad formula for instructional scripts—say it-explain it-repeat it.
- Keep sentences short but varied
Many people recommend using short sentences when writing for audio. And it’s true that in an eLearning environment, you can’t count on your busy audience to click Replay if they miss something. The risk of relying on short sentences, however, is that the script may sound stilted or too simplistic.
A better approach might be to aim for short sentences that vary in length. This is closer to how we speak. To keep sentences on the shorter side: 1) stick to one idea per sentence; 2) delete all the extra verbiage, and; 3) break sentences into two whenever possible.
- Pay attention to rhythm or beat
Speaking is similar to music—it’s got a rhythm related to the tempo of the speech and the alternation of stressed and unstressed words. When you read your voice over script aloud, you can improve the rhythm by considering the words as sounds and listening to their flow and timing. A pleasing rhythm has the potential to hold the listener’s attention longer and to enhance the listening experience.
- Use silence effectively
Silence is to audio as white space is to visuals. Listeners need time to process the verbal content and to watch what’s on the screen. You can work brief pauses into your script by indicating where the talent should stop for a moment (often referred to as a beat) during the recording.
- Read all voice-over scripts aloud
Reading your script aloud is mandatory. That’s how you can determine whether the wording is awkward or smooth and whether the sentences flow from one to the next. Reading aloud helps you know when it’s best to use contractions, if juxtaposed words are difficult to pronounce and whether the whole script is well-connected. Finally, this is how you know if a narrator can get through a sentence without having to stop for a breath in the middle.
If you want more insightful and interesting tips that might help, you can read all the blog posts for our 12 Days right here!
On the first day before Christmas, my client asked of me…
12 Deadlines Looming
11 Quotes a-waiting
10 Emails Pending
9 Drawings Happening
8 Voice-Overs Playing
7 Briefings Coming
6 Scripts Need Writing
5 Mooooood Boooaaards
and a Marketiiiinggg Straaategyyyy