Video scripts give you a straightforward action plan for what content to record and why. In doing so, they help save you time, promote team coordination, and reduce retakes.
The best part? You can streamline your video marketing process further by using a video script template.
The template serves as a consistent document that guides your thinking around what to add to a video, how to structure it, and how to edit it in a way that it engages your audience well.
Most of all, a video script template doubles as a checklist reminder of sorts that ensures you don’t miss noting down each video’s essential elements like its goal, CTA, and visuals.
With that, let’s dive into how to write a video script. We’ve also a free video script template that you can use to guide your video production (no download required).
Let’s start with a summary, followed by the details.
Quick step-by-step summary:
1. Answer questions about a video’s target viewer, CTA, takeaways, and goals
2. Dump all your ideas about the dialogue, then shortlist to pick the winner
3. Create an outline for the finalist idea. Organize it, then flesh it out
4. Add editing notes for b-roll and video effects
Skip to a section:
- What to figure out before you write a video script
- How to write your first video script
- Best video scripting practices for different types of videos
[#TOC1]What to do before you write a video script[#TOC1]
Strong video scripts start with a brief, a document answering key questions related to the video you’re creating.
You may be tempted to skip this step. But trust us when we say you need a brief to settle on the video’s scope and focus.
If you’re working with a video production team, there’s more reason to spend time writing a brief as it helps bring all team members on the same page.
The best part? Briefing isn’t all that time-consuming. In fact, it’s as simple as writing down the answers to these five important questions:
1. Who is the audience for this video?
The answer to this helps you decide the tone to take and the content to cover.
But while knowing the audience demographics (who they are, what they do, and where they’re viewing you from) is important, it’s far more foundational to understand these two things about your audience:
- Their goals
Ask yourself: why are these people taking the time to watch my video?
For this video on translating videos online that we created for VEED, for example, we knew that our viewers wanted to learn how to translate their videos. But we didn’t stop there. We dug deeper and realized they were looking for a quick way to translate videos with minimal effort and without having to download a new translation tool.
- Their struggles
A lot of folks know the answers to their problem — even before they watch your video.
For instance, they may already know that they can use a DIY video maker to create bite-size videos. But they may struggle with actually using the tool. Or they may get stuck at the video editing part.
Whatever the case may be, having a grip on your target audience’s struggles helps you create video content that gives solutions to everything they’re stuck at, making you a hero in their eyes 🎯
2. What is your video’s goal?
A clearly defined goal gives your video a strong focus.
It helps you create a script that logically (and emotionally) leads viewers to the goal — whether it’s to convince them to try your freemium tool or to check out your blog post on the topic.
3. What are your topic angle, key takeaways, and video CTA?
Before you start scripting, you’ll probably have a topic in mind. Now, sit with it and work out an angle.
For example, let’s say you’re creating a video on improving productivity. You can take a handful of angles here such as:
- Quick productivity tips to try today
- Productivity draining mistakes to avoid
- A dive into a specific tactic to improve productivity
- A series showing experts’ productive routines
Once you’ve decided your topic angle, determine the takeaways you want your viewers to leave with.
Aim to keep these to under 3-5 takeaways because there’s only so much the human brain can retain at a time.
As for the CTA, stick with one. Your viewers are more likely to follow through with a simple request than two or more action steps, which can quickly confuse them — a psychological fact known as choice paralysis.
4. Who’s going to be in the video?
Next, decide on the characters. Marketing videos typically feature 1-2 people. Advertising videos may feature more people though. Or your video could have no character — only moving screens with you or a voice-over artist doing the talking.
5. What platform(s) is the video going to go live on?
And finally, noting this down helps you write a video script that is tailored to its publishing platform’s requirements and its audience expectations.
[#TOC2]How to write your first video script[#TOC2]
On to the meaty bit next.
But first, open a fresh Google doc (or copy our free video script template). Create a table divided into two columns:
- Voice (dialogue or the narrative)
- Video edits (audio cues and effects to add)
Next, follow these steps:
1. Start with a brain dump
Creativity is a mess or so they say. It’s why the best place to start is by letting out all your ideas in writing.
Do this without pausing to evaluate how good an idea is or rewriting a sentence – a process called freewriting. You’ll notice more ideas come as you freewrite. So keep writing.
Once done, go through your ugly first draft and identify ideas that are keepers. Get rid of the rest.
2. Build on your finalist idea and organize sections
Now think through what you want to cover under the idea(s) you’ve finalized.
Start with creating a bullet points-based outline. Then review it to organize sections in a logical flow.
Taking the time to do this now will save you from having to write, move, or delete whole sections in the final script.
3. Write a strong intro hook
A good hook instantly catches your viewers’ attention, encouraging them to continue watching your video.
But to make sure your hook does its job well, keep the following things in mind as you work on this section:
- Respect your viewers’ time. People don’t care about fancy intros. Keep your hook short so you can dive into providing value as fast as possible.
- Aim to resonate with your audience. Use the information you’ve gathered on your viewers to make the first few seconds count with a line that speaks to their pain points.
And remember, you can always start video scripting by working on the hook first or returning to it later on.
If you prefer the former, know that perfecting a hook can be time-consuming. It’s also the part where you may want to pull your hair out or end up feeling demotivated.
So a better idea to keep your motivation tank full (or, at least, almost full) is to either write a rough intro and proceed with the main sections or add some placeholder text instead of a hook.
Return to this hook at the end to create a tight, value-backed introduction.
4. Fill in the sections
Now, add line-by-line details under your organized video script outline. Or don’t — it depends on your experience as a speaker and the video you’re shooting.
Essentially, you may have a lot of experience with speaking and may also have a strong grip on the topic. In that case, you may only need a short list of pointers to talk about. Or you could be experienced and an expert on the topic, but you prefer a fleshed-out outline.
At the same time, a lot depends on the video. If you’re working on longer videos such as YouTube videos, it’s often best to fully script things so you stay concise instead of going off the tangent.
Similarly, shorter videos such as TikToks, YouTube Shorts, or Reels are better off with a simple list of bulleted ideas. These help you remember what to touch upon and you can take it from there.
At the end of the day, the choice between scripting every single word versus making bullet points depends on your personal preference. We recommend experimenting with both to understand what helps you reduce retakes and create an audience-engaging video.
5. Add editing notes for b-roll and video effects
Now add ideas for b-roll (supplementary footage to your primary video) in the empty column in your video script template.
B-roll clips help engage viewers better by supporting your storytelling. For example, if you were making a video on packing a travel suitcase and add clips showing you strolling by the Caribbean blue water, you’re basically using a b-roll to tell a better story.
You’ll also want to add notes on video effects such as text or a transition effect.
Thinking of these edits before recording your video helps you decide if there’s a certain way you want to speak or position yourself in the frame.
For instance, if you were to make a video on YouTube growth and plan to add a chart featuring growth numbers, you’ll want to add notes on standing to the far end of the frame. This way, you’ll be leaving room to edit in a video overlay of your analytics chart in post-production — all without having to film the scene again.
And that’s all, your script is ready.
[#TOC3]Best video scripting practices for different types of videos[#TOC3]
The how to script guide in the section above generally applies to all videos. But the tips we share below will help you decide how to organize different video types’ structure and how to approach editing them.
Scripting how-to explainer videos
How-to explainer videos are short videos that people watch with the intent to learn something quickly. Your job? Make it easy for them.
Condense the information to a handful of steps — keeping content under each short so you don’t lose viewers’ attention. Also, jump straight into the how-to answer after telling your viewers what they’ll learn in X steps (or in which order as the example video does 👇).
Your how-to video script should also direct the person recording the video to say “step X” each time they share a new step. And when editing this video, be sure to include text-based step numbers.
Scripting training videos
Training videos can run long. So it’s best to summarize what you’ll teach in the video in three steps — show those in bullet points on the screen as you say them.
It’s also a good idea to keep your introduction short and jump right into the meat of the matter.
And when editing these videos, add notes for supporting visuals to your training video script template. For example, make suggestions to add flow charts to explain concepts or processes.
Here’s a good example of a training video using visuals and text overlay:
Scripting promotional videos
Since promotional videos typically aim to sell, work extra hard on the hook to capture and retain viewers’ attention.
For instance, start with a convincing statistic. This could be general data (but related to your product or service) or internal data as a Zapier promotional video used. Their intro said, “we save more than 30 hours a week automating our lead generation and sales process.”
Alternatively, capture the before and after of using your product as this promotional video script example does:
As for editing a promotional video, be sure to add in screens of your product in action. The example video that we’ve shared above does this too.
Lastly, it’s important you work on your call-to-action (CTA) for this type of video. Want an effective tip? Stick with a short CTA and include power words such as “free,” “limited-time,” and “bonus” to encourage action.
Scripting presentation videos
Storytelling can help you win at presentation videos.
An effective storytelling formula that you can use here is a 3-step format from the CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, Peter Guber:
👉 Step 1: Hook your viewers using an unexpected challenge or a thought-provoking question.
👉 Step 2: Tug at your viewers’ emotions by rubbing at the struggle of the challenge you opened with.
👉 Step 3: Close with a short CTA.
When using this format to create your presentation script template, aim to transport the viewer from “what the situation is” to “what it could be (with your solution).”
Here’s the formula in action as used by Steve Jobs at the launch of the iPhone:
Scripting introduction videos
This type of a video does well with storytelling too.
When writing an introduction video script though, add in guidance on a handful of B-roll shots to record and instructions on which camera shots to take.
Here are some ideas to nail openings for introduction videos using storytelling:
P.S. Make sure you add subtitles to all your videos to improve their engagement and accessibility.
Write video scripts today for creating audience-engaging, sharable videos
Remember, videos that people actually watch (and love) are videos created on the back of extensive planning and an in-depth understanding of the viewer.
A video script template helps you succeed on both counts. It also reduces the need for retakes.
So start your videos with a script and crush your video marketing goals. We’ll leave you with a
free video script template so you can hit the ground running.