And action: a guide on how to write video lessons scripts

And action: a guide on how to write video lessons scripts

Keeping your students interested is not always an easy task. Learn our tips to write good scripts for your video lessons.

Here on the blog, we’ve already talked about how to create online courses, shared tips to make a good video, but until today we didn’t have a post dedicated to another important detail in the preproduction stage: the video lesson script.

Do you want to know more about it? Keep on reading this text and learn tips that will make all the difference when it is time to create compelling content for your students.

Understand the importance of the script for video lessons

The content preparation for a good video lesson involves an extensive preproduction stage, in which you plan everything that you want to show in that video.

Later, these ideas are recorded in a document, known as the script, which will guide you through all your recording.  

The script is nothing more than the precise description of what will “happen” on your video lesson and in addition to the lines, it provides the images and visuals that you will use to convey your idea.

When you create a hierarchy of information within your video lesson, it makes it harder to pass on knowledge clearly and in a timely fashion.

Now that you already know the importance of the script to organize your ideas, let’s get to our tips?

Start the video with a promise

The first challenge of the video lesson is to break the physical distance barrier between teacher and student.

And you only have from 5 to 15 seconds to do so. If you do not get your viewer’s attention early on, she is unlikely to engage with that content.  

You have little time to draw attention and fewer resources than if you were in a classroom, so the first tip is: start the video delivering something that is interesting to the viewer.

In order to do so, it’s worth to use editing features to stage a humorous situation or tell a story, as long as the introduction relates to the topic you will address.

Let me give you an example.  

Qué onda, chavales? In today’s lesson, we’re going to talk about expressions and slangs that native Spanish speakers use but that are not taught in school, like the one that I used at the beginning of the video “.

Another possible way to start this same video lesson would be creating a scenario in which two young people appear talking to each other: whereas one of them is speaking a chilled out Spanish; the other uses a more formal speech. And you should emphasize how difficult it is their communication.  

Staging is an interesting resource because right in the beginning of the video it is possible to see the conflict you intend to solve in that class.  

Be objective

One of the biggest problems of online courses is the belief that some students have that video lessons are boring and confusing, especially the ones on more technical subjects.=

To break this stereotype and be successful teaching over the Internet – where people want everything done yesterday – your script will need to be lively and objective.

Whenever possible, make short introductions and give examples of the practical application of the theme. Thus you can get closer to the routine of the people who are watching you.

Concepts and theoretical information need to be transmitted clearly, especially if you are explaining the origin of an idea or something that is not applicable in the day-to-day.

If in doubt, follow the cliché answering these four questions: what for, why, for whom and how.

Check how long your video is

Repeating a little what I’ve said in the previous topic: people who use the Internet want to consume content in a fast and simple way.

Especially in the case of online courses, where most students watch the lessons on the weekends, going home or even in the work break.

To reach this audience and keep them engaged, your lessons need to be short. It’s better to split your content in videos between 5 and 15 minutes.

No long content with one or more hours long, okay?

In lessons where you feel that you have summarized too much, an alternative is to create other options of material on the subject and indicate these files for download on PDF in the video description or share it on the platform where your course is hosted.

Consider the different profiles of your students

Before you even create a product you need to have a well-defined buyer persona for your business.

Who is my target audience? What are their preferences and problems? What kind of content do they consume on the Internet?

The answers to these questions will help you be more assertive in your message. To learn more about buyer personas visit this post here.

Usually, a business that is at the very beginning has only one buyer persona mapped out. But in time, you’ll notice that every person who shares the interests of your persona can consume your product.

As your business matures, your students will have different ages and professions, and they can be from any part of the world.  

In order not to waste the expansion potential of your online course, bet on a neutral language and avoid talking about specific situations, after all, you want your content to be evergreen and accessible to as many people as possible.

If you follow the comments on your video lessons you will also be able to extract valuable insights to write the scripts for the next videos.    

Know what you’re going to say before you start recording

Limiting the theme of each lesson prevents you from losing focus and talking about things that are not useful for your student at that time.

Not going off topic while recording, which can be very common when you adopt a more spontaneous video style, it is important to set a narrative which includes beginning, middle, and end, also known as the storyline.

The beginning is the moment when you present the lesson topic; development is when you go deep into the subject and use images and visuals to illustrate your explanation; and the conclusion usually is a synthesis of everything you said in the video and instructions for supplementary study materials.

When you master the subject you will talk about, your explanation sounds more natural. Which brings us to the next topic.

Learn to improvise sometimes

When it comes to video lessons there are no rules, each script is unique and allows trials.  

The only trap that you should avoid at all costs is sounding artificial, as if you were reading all the time.

In election propaganda, for example, it is very common for the viewer to have that feeling.

Know how to use some resources that can help you a lot, if you haven’t got a lot of practice in front of the cameras yet.

Narrate the events

Do you have a hard time memorizing longer explanations?

In these cases, when creating a script it’s valid to record image and audio separately.

Do you want an example? You are writing a tutorial on how to do Carnival makeup: first, you record all audio, explaining the step-by-step and the products you’ve used, only then you record the makeup itself.  

When editing you put the two together. It makes the process easier because you won’t need to memorize lines or do two things at the same time anymore.

Remember that to have a natural result your reading should have pauses and you should really enunciate the words.

But if you still want to improve your performance in front of the camera, we recommend that you read about it in this post here.

Use broadcast journalism tricks

Headline is a name given by journalism to the calls announcing the stories on broadcast news.

If you have a lot of difficulties to improvise, you can predict on the script brief inserts where your text is lighter, to alternate with the times when your lesson has a more complex content.   

Highlight what your intentions are in every scene

Knowing everything you need to say by heart is virtually impossible. One thing that helps a lot when it’s time to record is highlighting in the script the most important concepts in each scene.

What should I say in each moment of the video? What are the key concepts of my presentation?

If you use a clear board to teach your video lessons, you can write down these words to give more emphasis on them during your explanation.  

Put your script on paper

Now that you have defined the conceptual part of your video lesson, it’s time to start the practical part, which is structuring your script.

Here at Hotmart, each one of us has her own tactics to write a script. But if you’re just starting out to record videos, it’s best that you use a more traditional model, which is the document divided into two columns:

  • On the right side we write down what will show in the image, visual effects and background specifications (video soundtrack);
  • On the left column, we write what we’ll say in the class.  

If you are very worried about the length of your video lesson, you can read the lines using a timer to check how many seconds it took to finish each scene.

This note may be indicated in the script by using an apostrophe symbol (‘). An apostrophe indicates the minutes (1′) and the double apostrophe indicates seconds (1’ 20”).  

But be careful not to inhibit your creativity. Make as many adjustments as necessary in your text until your idea sounds as clear as possible.  

Invite the viewer to take action

Just like in the sales video, your video lessons also need to have a Call To Action that indicates what you expect your student to do after she finishes watching the video.  

This action might be to access the student area, take an online test or read a blog post that will help her understand a little more about the subject that she has just seen.

Anything that might increase her time on your site.   

Review the text aloud

Last and most important, review your script out loud.

Many written sentences that looked great in your head can be awkward when spoken, detached or too formal.  

Reading aloud is also great to test the length of the scenes and know exactly where to pause your speech, so that video lesson is more natural.  

If you’re still unsure, show the script to a friend.

Third-party opinion is essential to know if you are able to teach that content, which is nothing more than the goal of producing a video lesson.  

If the person reads your script and I doesn’t understand what it is about, I suggest reviewing your approach and rewriting the content, until your language is accessible to people who know nothing about the subject.   

Extra tips!

  • To know what to say, the first step is to do a lot of research! The more you know about the subject, the easier it will be to organize your video lesson;
  • Organize the subjects you will talk about in order of relevance. So if you don’t have time to talk about everything, at least you emphasized what was most important;
  • When writing a script remember that it does not need to be formal nor use big words. Imagine you’re explaining the subject to a friend. This strategy works really well;
  • If you’re interviewing someone, give guidelines to the person before you record, so she does not go off topic and extends too much. There is nothing more terrible than interrupting the interviewee during a dialogue. A well-done briefing helps a lot in these moments!
  • Put your personality into the script. Use words that you use every day and address the viewer naturally, these help strengthen your brand in the imagination of your audience.

How about putting our tips into practice on your next video lesson? Then you tell me here in the comments section if it worked!  

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