Write your video script for the ear, not the eye

The secret to a great video is great audio. And the secret to great audio is a script that is written in the way that people speak.

Thinking of making a video about your science? Great! You may find it surprising, but the audio in your video is more important than the actual video itself. And the key part of that audio is almost certainly the voice or voices that you hear speaking through your video. Most likely, the person speaking through your video will be you, the scientist.

You’ll likely be writing a script for your video. Here’s the one key thing to remember when writing that script: written language is very different than spoken language. With spoken language, the vocabulary is much simpler as is sentence structure. Very frequently, people don’t even speak in complete sentences. Because you are writing your script for the ear, and not the eye, you want to emulate how people speak. Simple, simple language! Note though, you can still tell a complex, rich story with simple language. We all do it everyday when we talk to each other.

Here is a good example from a science story on NPR. We wrote a transcript of the audio which we overlaid on top of the audio. Notice how simple the language is, particularly when people are speaking in interviews.

Interested in learning more about creating great scripts for your videos? SciFund Challenge has a lot more to say about it in our Video for Scientists class. Here’s the relevant section of the class material.