Here are four easy tips to help you craft a simple, yet commanding video script. I began writing commercials as an ad agency copywriter in the early 1970’s. Here are some simple truths which I learned the hard way.
1. Write, knowing that people care far less than you think they do. Remember that people are probably not thinking about you, your product or service in advance of hearing or seeing your message. They have just changed the baby, or returned home from a hectic day at work, or were thinking about that snack in the refrigerator. Keep it simple by succinctly accomplishing three things. Commanding their attention. Informing them. Simply telling them what to do next. That’s it. That’s all. The end.
2. Strive to make more out of less. I think it was Benjamin Franklin who apologized when writing to a friend, saying that he would have written a shorter letter, if he had more time. Crafting and consolidating powerful words takes effort. Early on, I tried to cram as much information into a message as possible. Clients would love the detailed content, but the targeted individual retained very little. Often, giving people too much means that they retain too little. You might start by spewing everything you want to say into your word processor. Then, cut it by 80%, keeping only the vital words and thoughts. Then, cut it some more. Be ruthless in your self-editing. Eventually, you’ll distill your message and make it palatable to the person who will give you only a few seconds of their time.
3. Have a single purpose, writing for an audience of one. A common error, when writing something that you hope multitudes will see and hear, is to speak to them, instead of to him or her. What is my immediate benefit from what you have to tell me? Put yourself into the (often self-serving) mindset of your recipient and you’ll be starting well.
4. Write with restrained freedom. If people do not quickly connect with your message, your creative freedom is irrelevant. One of the most exciting parts of writing is how you can transport someone into a world of your creation. Be sure you make it very, very, very, very, very clear where you intend to take the person. Often, you can set this up as part of your opening sentence (above, I called it “commanding their attention”). For example, using this product or service is like experiencing your first kiss… You get the idea. Once they buy in to your premise, fly baby, fly. Or is that pucker, baby, pucker?
I guess there’s one more helpful nugget I can offer. Even if you want to do this yourself, BizVid Communications would love to help you tighten things down and turn a good piece of copy into a great one. A nuance here and a retouch there can make a huge difference. As we say, it is not the big budget, but the big idea. Learn to put your big idea into few words and you’ll find great success.
(If you wish to view Caz’s instructional videos on writing for the Christian marketplace, access this YouTube link.)