How to write in-vision video scripts that work for you personally

It’s so easy these days, isn’t it? Fire up the laptop, pull up some words from a Word document on the screen, and off you go speaking to your camera and broadcasting to the world via Blab, Facebook Live, or any of the other choices we have at the moment.

HTWB TV newsreader

What’s important is that you convey the information in your own confident, natural way, even if it doesn’t quite match up to the style of a top professional newsreader.

But when you watch unprepared speech “to camera” and it rambles, drones, stops and starts with ums and ers, what does it make you think of the person (and business) represented?

And on the other side of the same coin, what do you think of the person (and business) represented if they are staring at the camera like a rabbit caught in the headlights, with the coat hanger still in their jacket, looking terrified and speaking in a tight, squeaky, scared little voice?

Why it’s worth spending time writing a good in-vision** video script

Even if you’ve borrowed the equipment from your teenage son or daughter and all you need to invest is your time on a rainy Sunday afternoon, don’t be stingy about the quality of what you write for yourself to say in a video.

Just a little preparation and rehearsal of the words you say can make the difference between an embarrassingly awful video, and one that may still look DIY but makes you (and your business or organisation) look professional, knowledgeable and good at what you do.

And there’s more to it than just what you say: writing yourself a script means you can time your video without more than a little – if any – editing

You know how important it is now for online video – especially for business – to be short and to the point. Viewers, customers, prospects, followers … no-one has time to watch 10 minutes of rambling, unstructured video no matter how cute and endearing it is.

Writing yourself a script to speak in-vision means you can do all your sharpening and editing on screen before you start, so you may not need any editing at all afterwards.

The formula is easy: people’s natural speaking speed is usually between 120 and 180 words per minute. Decide where your natural speed fits. Then decide how long you want your video to be – say three minutes. Multiply your speaking speed by the number of minutes and you have the number of words you should write for the in-vision script.

So if your natural speaking speed is about 150 words per minute and you want a 3 minute video, your script should be around 450 words long – maximum (it’s always worth under calculating slightly to allow for natural gaps in your speech, any silent interludes, music or other sound inserts, etc.)

Key tips on how to write and use a good, natural-sounding in-vision video script

  • Decide on the length of your video and work out how many words you have time for, using the formula above.
  • Now imagine you’re sharing the information to go into the video with a colleague over a cup of coffee. Be aware of the timing, but don’t work from notes; simply record yourself talking or use voice recognition software if you have it.
  • Transcribe that, run a word count on it (easy with a Word document) and then edit it down or up to the correct length for your video. Don’t be afraid to move chunks around and polish it, but whatever you do, don’t rewrite it as you think it “should” sound. What’s important is that you convey the information in your own confident, natural way, even if it doesn’t quite match up to the style of a top professional newsreader.
  • Whether you’re using a laptop with an in-built camera or a desktop with a loose webcam, your “eyeline” must be to the camera, not to what’s written on your screen, if you want to look convincing. To achieve this bump up the size of the type in your document as large as you need so you can see it, sort of, while looking at where the camera is. You may need to go very large, but you can scroll as you talk.
  • Now, rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse some more until you pretty well know the script off by heart. See how much of it you can speak from memory, only reverting to the written words occasionally.
  • Record your video and watch it back. Make the final edits and polishes.
  • Record your video and publish it, or if it’s going out live, hit “go” and enjoy it!

A hilarious example of bad – actually brilliant – delivery of an in-vision script

…by the sadly late, fabulous British wordsmith and actor Ronnie Barker…enjoy.

Further reading on how to write and create better videos for business and other activities

How to write a powerful voice-over narration script for video

How to make good business videos without going to Hollywood

Hey, business videos: aren’t you forgetting something?

DIY videoers: why proper scripts save time and money and don’t bite

Blabbing on live video: some useful tips I picked up

How to look your best on live streaming video

How to use makeup to look your best on camera

Creative training videos: this the renaissance at last?

How to get powerful off-camera interviews for your online video

How to write in-vision video scripts that work for you personally 

Any questions on how to write better for video?

Please share them here in the comments.

And you can find plenty more help on writing for a wide variety of media and topics in our bijou bookshop, here.

**in case you hadn’t realised, by “in-vision” we mean words spoken by you or whoever directly to and in front of the live camera – as opposed to a “voice-over” which is words spoken over the pictures but without the speaker being seen.