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Script-writing that's fit for the part

Tips on script-writing for animation

· script-writing,Video Tips,animation

By Nathan Coyne

A good video is the sum of its parts.

High quality visuals, appropriate pacing and length, an engaging voice-over and a suitable music track.

If it falls down on one of these parts, the overall viewer experience will be impacted.

When it comes to animated videos, the script is the foundation.

It’s quite unlike writing a report, a news article or a blog post.

It’s an oratory.

Or as Mandy, our director of production, regularly says: “You’re creating a piece of theatre.”

So the first thing you need to do when writing - or reviewing - a script is continuously read it back to yourself (in your head is fine) and imagine it being delivered aloud.

This way you’ll ensure it flows well, and won’t jar once it’s been recorded as a voice-over.

Secondly, pay attention to the length and don’t overburden the script by trying to fit too much in. For a typical two-minute animation you are looking at a script of about 300 words.

Which should be plenty to provide a summary and to give someone the top-line messages.

You can’t have it both ways: Writing a script of 500 words, while keeping your video to a length where people are going to watch the whole thing and not miss your call-to-action.

Thirdly, remember the visuals, because they need to work in tandem with the script and can pick up an equal amount of the strain. The beauty of animation (or film) is that the message is not solely being conveyed by the voice-over. Let the visuals provide some of the detail so the script doesn’t have to.

A viewer can digest both what they’re hearing and seeing (provided they’re complementary), so rather than writing a long list make a general point and flesh out the detail with words and images on screen.

Fourth and finally, you should leave room for literary and rhetorical devices such as metaphors and repetition (using anadiplosis and antimetabole).

Think 'political speech', rather than 'academic report'.

You don’t need to raise the roof at the Old Vic, but follow the above and you’ll have a script that's fit for the part.

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