How to commission a scriptwriter – what does it involve and what should I expect?
The script is the foundation of your corporate video and the main way your message will be conveyed. So making sure the video production company you use commissions a scriptwriter who will bring your message to life should be of highest priority.
Here at Take One Productions, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide about commissioning a scriptwriter and the scriptwriting process itself.
Why is the script so important?
Your script is the document which goes through every single detail of the story, whether it’s the spoken word, an action, a sound or a written indication of what the viewer will be seeing. Everyone involved in the production will need to read through and familiarise themselves with the script, so it’s essential that you, the client, the crew and the actors understand what is going on and are able to visualise what the programme should look like. The likelihood is, if you and the crew don’t understand what’s going on in the script, your audience won’t have a clue either.
So, what should you expect when you commission a professional scriptwriter?
Whilst there are very good ‘generalist’ scriptwriters available, if you have a complex message, or your target audience are experts in a particular field, your production company should be looking to commission a scriptwriter who specialises in your industry – whether that be science based, finance or perhaps pharmaceuticals. The selected scriptwriter should ideally already have experience of your industry and an insight into your particular field. This will help give you a head-start when tailoring the message of your corporate film to the target audience.
With the producer, you will meet with the scriptwriter to have a briefing. The briefing is a chance to introduce all parties, and a chance for the script writer to get to know you, your business and the video project. Be prepared to answer plenty of questions, even ones that may appear obvious to you, as the scriptwriter will want to gain a deep insight into your business. The scriptwriter should ask to see printed material and online resources and depending on the programme subject matter, may even ask to tour your offices or facility to gain a full understanding of your processes. Fingers crossed, the scriptwriter will already have done some research about your company prior to the meeting, so if they seem to be clueless about your company and your industry, alarm bells should start to ring.
By the end of the briefing meeting, the scriptwriter and producer should have a clear understanding of the message you’re wanting to relay, the audience you’re wanting to target, how and where they’ll be watching the video, where and what filming needs to take place – and there should have been discussion about proposed styles for the programme – for example, will it feature a presenter? Will actors be needed or will your staff appear? Will experts be interviewed? etc.
The scriptwriting process
the scriptwriter has been briefed and has all the information they need, they will soon send over a draft script for review. The scriptwriter should indicate whether the video will feature a presenter or actors, whether there’s a voice over, or perhaps whether the information is presented in a series of illustrated interviews. The idea is that the script includes all of the verbal and visual action going on in the various scenes in a clear and easy to understand format.
The script should also have a consistent tone and feature language which is appropriate for your audience…. for example, a script targeted at a 10 year old school child is going to be very different to a script targeted at a computer systems analyst, so it’s essential the script writer appropriates the right tone.
Of course perfection doesn’t come easy, and more often than not, the script will go back and forth between you and the scriptwriter. Whilst the script writer has all the tools of the trade, the script needs to reflect how you envision your corporate video. The multiple drafts may mean extra hours slaving over the script, but it will be worth it in the end. You will end up with a stellar script, which will lay the foundations for an exceptional corporate video, convey your message clearly, and wow your audience.