Picture this: you’re about to step in front of a camera and speak to create a video.
Would you like to have what you’re about to say scripted or unscripted?
Your answer most likely depends on several different factors - like how comfortable you are in front of a camera, the topic you’ll be speaking about, the goal of the video, and more.
So let’s break down in more detail the pros and cons of scripting your video and when it makes sense to script or not.
WHEN TO SCRIPT
Scripting refers to documenting word for word what a person will be saying on camera. The script is then either memorized and presented to camera or it is projected on a teleprompter and read from when presented to camera.
There are many pros to scripting your video content:
You’ve got a planned message
You’re sure to stay on topic and message
You’re less likely to have awkward pauses or extra umms and ahhs
Scripting is often helpful when you’re producing the following video types:
Tips & Tricks Videos
Commercial (with Actors)
There are, of course, some drawbacks to scripting your videos as well:
You’re delivery to camera might fall flat and feel too prepared
Your video might come across as fake or inauthentic (if your performance is stiff or too rehearsed)
You might look like you’re reading (if using a teleprompter)
You might have trouble remembering the script (if memorizing)
The words might not flow like normal speaking patterns do
WHEN NOT TO SCRIPT
Just like there are some great times to script your video, there are also good reasons and times not to script. But just to be clear, when we say unscripted or not scripted, we don’t mean simply winging it without a plan as to what will be said. We don’t ever recommend that option.
Here at Talus Films, we actually have a very helpful process for unscripted videos called a Pre-Interview. When we know we won’t be scripting a piece, the project’s director will take time during pre-production to interview our subjects. These are sessions typically held via video conferencing software and are recorded. They normally last about 30 minutes to an hour and we use the time to ask a slew of questions of our interview subjects tailored to the project we’re developing. This time allows them to answer our questions honestly, authentically, and naturally - the way they would if they were talking to a friend over coffee. After the session, we take the recording and edit it for clarity and to hone in on the central message that bubbles to the surface.
We then use the edited Pre-Interview video to build a list of production day questions we’ll ask. The questions are now designed to prompt the natural and authentic answers we honed in on from the Pre-Interview. We also provide a list of bullet points (and have them handy on set) so our on-camera talent can prepare ahead of time as well.
We’ve found that this prepared, unscripted method has many pros:
Honest and authentic storyline development for the video
Natural speaking pattern when presenting to camera
On-camera talent feeling more like themselves and natural
Less worry about “messing up” or forgetting a line
It also tends to work well for people to aren’t used to or don’t like being on camera
Unscripted videos tend to work best for:
But as you’d expect, there are some drawbacks of unscripted video as well:
Prior preparation isn’t robust enough to stick to the message and captured footage ends up missing the mark
On-camera talent feeling uncomfortable without being 100% prepared/scripted on set
Footage will have more awkward pauses, umms, and ahhs to work with and around during editing
At the end of the day, the choice to script or not script a video will come down to what type of video is being produced and how comfortable the on-camera talent is with a script or not. Storytelling videos tend to work better and feel more human without a script whereas informational videos tend to work better with a script to ensure messaging and all important talking points are captured accurately.
If you’d like to read more about our Pre-Interview or production process in action, check out these other blog posts:
And if you’re ready to start your next video marketing production - scripted or not - CONTACT US today to get started.