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How to Script for a Documentary

Writing a Script for Video Production

how to script for a documentary

A documentary is all about leaving a lasting impression on viewers with a message that resonates with them. It’s the script that forms the crux of a documentary. Whether your focus is to educate and motivate your audience or to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, a well-written script will come in handy to promote your unique point of view. Video One Productions, a Chicago video production company, can come to your rescue when your goal is to script a documentary. Below are a couple tips on how to script for a documentary.

Writing a Script

Research is ideally the first step to creating a script around your documentary idea. Look for inspiration in similar ideas and start digging deeper for relevant material. Once you have your documentary idea, your focus should be to first determine your target audience and then create content that will appeal to, motivate, educate, and inspire the viewer.

  • Let your story theme guide the script creation process. To begin with, do not go overboard. Limit your production to just 2-3 points.
  • Find strong characters that the target audience can identify with to tell your story.
  • Use natural ambient sound effects to create a genuine impression on the audience and put the viewer’s imagination to work.
  • Use visual and interactive elements to create a real-life image and allow them to relate to the events they are viewing.
  • Get creative and end your script in a defining style that leaves an impression on the viewer.

Research and Development

The whole idea of making a documentary is to compel viewers to want to connect with your project. A compelling personal story has the advantage of emotionally connecting with viewers and enthralling, motivating, and educating them with the message.

  • Identify sources from which to collect information regarding your idea. Relevant books and experts in the specific area can help. Verify the information you have collected. Do not forget to carefully record each source of information because you want your story to look credible.
  • Evaluate and prioritize information. What is it that you want to highlight?
  • Index your ideas! This means that when a phrase, image, sound, etc., enters your mind, immediately jot down each separately on index cards. Expand on each inspiration and try to visualize how your story will unfold.

The Script

The sole idea of creating a script is to make the whole story look real. Your script should read naturally, reflect an environment, create a mood, convey factual information, and stress a point of view. Make sure the script is succinct and clear, with no factual inaccuracies that might attract legal implications or otherwise discredit you or what you are conveying.

While writing a script, it is important to use appropriate and easy-to-understand language, which is concise and comprehensible for the intended audience. Be thorough with your tone and voice-over.

You do not want your script to include slang or clichés that could leave your audience guessing. Use of correct English, with no redundancy or grammatical inaccuracies, will lay the foundation to writing a successful script. Last but not least, time your script properly to make sure the words and audio/visual elements interact.

The Video One Productions Advantage

Video One Productions, a premier Chicago video production company, has decades of experience in helping clients create scripts that define their core message and capture their audience emotionally. Contact us at (773) 252-3352 or if you would like assistance with your documentary script.

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