You’ve put a great deal of creativity, time and effort into producing, filming and editing your video. Now it’s time to create a strong voice over script to go along with it.
The script is just as important as the video itself. Too casual, and you won’t capture the listeners attention. TOO formal, and you’ll lose your audience to a midday nap.
So what’s the secret to creating a truly great voice over script? Where do you even begin?
The Tone of Your Voice Over Script
Maybe you aced all of your English papers in school, but writing a voice over script is wildly different from writing a five-paragraph essay or a research paper with MLA citations. (Remember those?(me either))
Writing a voice-over script is way more fun, promise!
Now how do you best determine the tone of your voice over script?
Your script should be written the way that we speak, not the way that we write. If you ever suffered through reading your paper aloud in school, you’ll understand the importance of creating a voice over script that’s more conversational. After all, voice over work is an auditory medium. Your audience will be hearing your words instead of reading them, which means they need to be attention grabbing and, most times, have a natural, conversational flow.
How Formal Should It Be?
Sure, your voice-over script should be conversational, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always casual. Your script will look very different based on what kind of video you’re producing.
A voice over for an elearning module might be very different than a pizza commercial, in the same way that a corporate presentation for a mortgage lender should have a different feel from a commercial for the latest Toyota Sedan.
Who Is Your Audience?
If you’ve done any research about your organization’s buyer persona, that can help determine your approach. Markets are targeted in myriad of ways and the more you can learn about your buyer and what matters most to them, the better.
What Is the Goal of Your Voice-Over?
What do you want your audience to do once they hear your script?
The following four tones of voice dimensions, as pinpointed by the Nielsen Norman Group, can offer some insight…:
● Funny vs. serious
● Formal vs. casual
● Respectful vs. irreverent
● Respectful vs. matter-of-fact
Each of these dimensions is more of a sliding scale than an either/or scenario. How can tone impact your message? Here’s an example of how to convey the same message with four very different styles:
● We apologize, but we are experiencing a problem.
● We’re sorry, but we’re experiencing a problem on our end.
● Oops! We’re sorry, but we’re experiencing a problem on our end.
● What did you do? You broke it! (Just kidding. We’re experiencing a problem on our end.)
It’s all about how you package it.
Regardless of how formal your voice over script is, it should definitely still be interesting. You don’t want to bore your listeners to death or sound too stiff and too wooden.
One way to check and see if you’re working in the right direction?
Read your script aloud. Are you listening in rapt attention?
If so, then your headed in the right direction! If not, might be time to recalibrate.
The Length of Your Script
The length of your script is dependent on the length of the video. How long does it need to be? A 30-second television spot will require a precision approach to squeeze all the goods in.
The fact is, English speakers typically read aloud at around 150 words per minute. If your video is five minutes long, that means that your script should be roughly 750 words. But that doesn’t mean that all videos are otherwise created equal.
The length of your voice over should impact the style of your script.
A shorter piece needs to pack a different kind of punch than a longer one. When you’re creating a shorter voice over, you’ll want to vary the content and pack in as many valuable nuggets of information, colorful verbs, and exciting phrases and ideas as possible in the allotted time.
Also, brief voice over projects should keep your listener on the edge of their seat and share critical information about your product in an engaging and captivating manner.
The main point is with shorter scripts, you need to choose your words wisely and use them economically.
With longer narration, you’ll explore topics in further detail. The narrative will constrict and release at longer intervals. The one thing to remember when writing is that every script or story is just that, a story. It needs a solid beginning, middle and end. A natural opening and cadence that crosses the finish line smoothly so your listener stays engaged throughout.
Remember, no matter the length of your script, the key is to maintain your listeners curiosity and attention. Attention spans are shorter than they used to be thanks to smartphones and social media. Our attention span used to be around 12 seconds in 2000 compared to around eight seconds today—which is one second shorter than the attention span of a goldfish, which clocks in around nine seconds. Yikes!
Include Helpful Hints for Your Talent
The more information you can include for your voice over actor, the better. I.e. SPECS.
The best way to do this?
Particularly for long narration, use strong punctuation to get your point across. You can denote certain concepts, highlights, and twists and turns in the narrative using a strategically placed comma or dash. Don’t be afraid to be creative, but make sure your thoughts are organized clearly and your punctuation accentuates your script instead of detracting from it.
For tricky names and locales or hard-to-pronounce words, don’t be afraid to include a phonetic pronunciation, and help voice over actors know which words or phrases to emphasize by capitalizing them.
Next, Hiring Voice Over Talent to Bring Your Script to Life
Got your script locked in? It’s time to nail down the right voice over actor to interpret your words and lift them off the page. Give those suckers wings, a jet pack, your choice!
With a decade of experience as a male voice over actor, Alex Herring has the skills to read carefully between the lines and deliver a professional, precise reading that enhances your thoughtfully curated story for any genre.
If you’re looking for someone who will respect your script, come to the table ready to collaborate, work with impeccable standards, and be malleable and directable, Alex is your guy.
● Quick and Easy Turnaround Times
● Professional Home Studio
● Proven Broadcast Quality Actor