Teaching Video, Part 9 -- Writing Your Script




Audio Still Reigns Supreme


As I've said previously, your audio is actually more important than your video (unless your entire video was shot in a dark alley, or your footage is really boring, shaky and grainy, in which case it might be a lost cause). But let's hope your video is decent. To work quickly, you first want to write your anchor lead you've been rehearsing in your head throughout your reporting and filming process. At this juncture, how would an anchor introduce the story you can deliver well? What would be a well written tease on the Web, which would appeal to readers but also wouldn't disappoint them when they discover the details of your original reporting? That basically is your anchor lead. Don't beat around the bush. Sell your story for what it is, and let the viewer know what they will be seeing, and why they'll want to watch. If you meet those requirements, you'll have a great anchor lead.

Get That Audio Track


Next, listen to your interviews, standups and soundbites. Pick the best ones, transcribe them, make sure they don't repeat themselves, trim them, trim them some more, and those are your "quotes" which will form the basis of your video story, each of them about 15 seconds. Next, did you get any good nat sounds? Make sure to include those in your script and to write around them.

Write to Your Strong Visuals


Finally, were there really strong visuals you got, which you really want to include in your story? If it fits the pacing and information you are conveying, by all means, include the strong footage and have a sense of where you would want it in the piece. Write it down in parentheses since this won't be a part of the audio track, but you want to know where it goes in the piece. Finally, did you get opening and closing shots for your story? Opening and closing shots for specific scenes? Make sure to include those on your rough draft script in parentheses, since this won't be a part of the audio track either.

Voice Your Script Before You Start Editing Your Video


Now before you edit anything, write your script around the quotes, strong visuals and scenes, making sure to include the information you want, and only write to video you know you have. Don't overwrite. Keep it simple. Keep it broadcast. Move quickly from theme to theme, scene to scene, quote to quote, character to character, new development to other new development. Rewrite your script. Correct it for mistakes. Make sure it's 100% accurate and easy to read, with a beginning, middle and end. Make sure there is some breathing room for your strong nat sounds. If all those boxes are checked, go in the studio and voice. Once your voicing is done, edit it as a clean track and you are ready for a fast edit.

Sample Video Script


Below is a sample script by former student Landon Miller. As you can see lots of action. Also lots of nat sounds which go with the action. The story is dynamic, has a storyline and previews an upcoming event by giving a taste of it in its own environment. It also has an outro for anchors, which is great for a newscast. VO means Voice Over, the reporter's track. SOT means Sound on Tape, or soundbites. Every organization, every channel has their own lingo, acronyms, so don't worry about these too much. Some scripts have two columns, with one column describing the video you will use. But if you are a video journalist, doing all the work yourself, you don't usually need that second column. I would just put in parentheses the strong visuals and nat sounds you want to make sure you don't forget to include and write around.

(***ANCHOR***)

YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD OF IT... BUT LAND SAILING IS A SPORT THAT'S GAINING POPULARITY ACROSS THE WORLD.

IN FACT, THE SILVER STATE WILL HOST THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP LATER THIS SUMMER.

LANDON MILLER CAUGHT UP WITH A LOCAL GROUP OF 'PILOTS' WHO ARE PREPARING FOR THE EVENT.

HE ALSO SHOWS US WHAT THE SPORT IS ALL ABOUT.

(***TAKE VO***)

FROM LOOKING AT THIS, IT LOOKS LIKE WE COULD BE OUT SAILING OUT ON THE OCEAN BLUE...

BUT INSTEAD, WE'RE SAILING ON THE WHITE PLAYA NEAR STAGECOACH, NEVADA IN LYON COUNTY.

PILOT MIKE GRIMM SAYS THERE ARE NOT MANY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO TYPES OF SAILING... EXCEPT LAND YACHTS CAN GO A LOT FAST- UP TO 50 MILES AN HOUR.

MANY PILOTS SAY THAT IS THE THRILL OF THE SPORT.

***TAKE SOT***

Corey Owens, Pilot- Being so close to the ground, and how fast you're going,.

(***TAKE VO***)

6 INCHES... THAT'S THE ONLY SEPARATION BETWEEN YOU AND A PLAYA SPEEDING PAST RIGHT UNDER YOUR SEAT.

***TAKE SOT***

Corey Owens- But I love the thrill of it. I do.

(***TAKE VO***)

THIS GROUP IS MADE UP OF LOCAL PILOTS, MANY OF WHICH ARE HERE PRACTICING FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP.

***TAKE SOT***

Mike Grimm, Nevada Ambassador of the North American Land Sailing Association- Tuning boats up, some practicing racing, a bit of strategizing a bit of bench racing going on..

(***TAKE VO***)

THE CHAMPIONSHIP IS, AFTER ALL, A RACE... SO WE THOUGHT WE'D PARTICIPATE IN THE FUN.

THIS IS GLEN, OUR PILOT. HE'S BEEN DOING THIS FOR 9 YEARS.

***TAKE SOT***

LANDON- WE JUST MADE IT TO SECOND PLACE. FIRST PLACE IS WAY DOWN THERE? HE'S CHEATING.

(***TAKE VO***)

BUT ON THE SECOND LAP, THE WIND LEFT... AND SO DID OUR LEAD.

***TAKE SOT***

GLEN---THIRD LOCKED UP

(***TAKE VO***)

AND THEN FIFTH... THEN DEAD LAST.

***TAKE SOT***

WE'VE LOST THE RACE. RIGHT GLEN? i THINK SO... I HATE TO SAY IT, BUT YES.

(***TAKE VO***)

BUT EVEN THOUGH GLEN AND I DIDN'T WIN THIS RACE, HAVING THE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN NEVADA IS A WIN FOR EVERYBODY. BUT WHY HERE?

***TAKE SOT***

Mike Grimm, Nevada Ambassador of the North American Land Sailing Association- ONE WE HAVE LOTS OF WIND, AND TWO LOTS OF DRYLANDS.

OVER 165 PILOTS FROM 15 COUNTRIES AND 4 CONTINENTS WILL COME TOGETHER IN JULY.

***TAKE SOT***

Mike Grimm, Nevada Ambassador of the North American Land Sailing Association- One, the fact North American Land Sailing Association got the schedule for the U-S and two, here in Nevada? Pretty special

(***TAKE VO***)

COVERING THE STORY LANDON MILLER CHANNEL 2 NEWS.

(***ANCHOR***)

THE LAND SAILING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE AT THE SMITH CREEK DRY LAKE NEAR AUSTIN IN LANDER COUNTY JULY 12TH THROUGH THE 19TH.

Award Winning

While he was at UNR, Landon Miller won an award for his landsailing report. It has amazing "standups" which he shot in action with his Iphone. Also notice how short some of the quotes are. Check it out for yourself below.





If you enjoyed this tutorial, make sure to check out the other chapters in my video series.

Teaching Video, Part 1 -- Your Equipment and How to Use It

Teaching Video, Part 2 -- A Lexicon of Shots

Teaching Video, Part 3 -- Shot Composition and Sequencing

Teaching Video, Part 4 -- Nat Sounds and Action Shots

Teaching Video, Part 5 -- Interviews

Teaching Video, Part 6 -- Standups

Teaching Video, Part 7 -- Choosing Your Video Stories and Shooting Them Wisely

Teaching Video, Part 8 -- Ingesting Into Premiere

Teaching Video, Part 9 -- Writing Your Script

Teaching Video, Part 10 -- Editing

Teaching Video, Part 11 -- Raising Your Game

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