3 Integral Script Writing Guidelines
Script writing guidelines. Somewhat paradoxically, script writing for videos is both the simplest art form and the most complex. A script is just words on a page, but it is also the vehicle that drives your entire production and communicates your vision to your team. Without a good script, your production could run into unnecessary (and often costly) delays or worse: lose its fidelity to your original artistic vision. Follow these three integral guidelines to ensure your original idea makes it all the way to the silver screen.
Of course it’s important to make your script easy to follow. Frequent script-readers on your production team will want to find familiar indicators of key information, such as dialog, time of day, location, necessary props, etc. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that maintaining industry standard formatting can also serve as a mark of professionalism and thus become a calling card for better resources. As a filmmaker, it is paramount that every step you take to bring your concept to screen demonstrates your trustworthiness in helping everyone involved look good. Actors want good scenes, cinematographers want good shots, and investors want good return. Your script is the first thing you pass around and is therefore the first chance you have to indicate you’re worth the investment. Don’t blow that opportunity by flaunting a sloppy script. Get their attention early; know how to format your script.
- Show; Don’t Tell
It is too often that beginning script writers try to announce every important piece of information via character dialog. While it might read fine, hearing actors explain character traits or plot points out loud almost always feels forced and unnatural. Try instead to employ strong, playable actions that show these traits or points without being too overt. It may seem obvious for videos to lean towards showing rather than telling, but many beginners attempt to bypass visual storytelling in favor of heavy dialog. The attraction to video over a medium like radio is the ability to fully immerse an audience in your world. To accomplish that, you need to show them your world: don’t just tell them about it. After all, actions speak louder than words.
- Tie It All Together
Constant media exposure has trained audiences to place weight on all the information, characters, and events with which videos present them. If your script introduces any such threads yet fails to grant them significance to the larger plot line, then the reader (and thus the audience) will feel that the story is incomplete. In this case, you have two options: either cut your loose thread out entirely or tie it into the plot. Though less is more in some cases, the best scripts find clever ways to tie many seemingly unrelated plot points into one cohesive story. A good script will hold itself together like a woven tapestry. If any loose threads remain untreated, then the whole story can unravel.
With proper application, these guidelines will help mold any story idea into a functioning script. However, successfully utilizing them can take a lot of time and personal investment. The good news is that we at Advanced Media Integration are available to work with you through the script writing process and prime your story for production. Whether you have an inkling of an idea that still needs development or you need a simple once-over edit, we can take you through all parts of pre-production preparation. From brainstorming to polishing, our professional writing team is here to help you. All you need to do is let us know.