The other day I have been filming a video that is also a part of my university assignment. I made a 7-page script and followed most of it to the word. In the end, I was so annoyed at myself, mostly because I sounded too scripted when I wish I wasn’t. In most cases, even though I have a script, I also like to improvise, but since this video was more serious, I didn’t. I’ve heard a lot of people saying they don’t do scripts because it makes them sound too ‘fake’, so they just have notes. But then some people prefer having a script because if they don’t have one they’d feel like they blab a lot about nothing. And all of this got me thinking, when is it necessary to have a script in terms of YouTube? Or is it necessary at all?
I think YouTube scripts could be broken down into three main types: ‘professional’ script, loose script, and notes (those are my non-canon definitions). It comes down to your channel and the kind of content you wanna make. Is it a short film? A sketch? Or a chatty vlog? The type of video you make will result in the type of script you’d need to have.
If you are a starting YouTuber with the aims of making sketches or short films that require a team of people, and if you are willing to spend time, money and effort to make your videos have high production quality, you’d need a proper script. If you have more than just yourself working on a video, having a clear script would help everyone be on the same page (literally) and know which scene is being filmed and what is going on in front of the camera. In this case, scripts are necessary. But surely, some of us don’t have the knowledge of scriptwriting and the ways in which the scripts should be edited. So making your script as detailed and as understandable as possible might be challenging at first. In this case, it comes down to practice. You’d need to write a few scripts before you get a hang of it. And don’t be afraid to ask help from your team and your friends. Have them look at your script and tell you which parts are unclear and which need to be reworded so everyone understands the actions they need to take. You can also watch tutorials that explain the basics of scriptwriting on YouTube, and over time you will find is easier to write and structure your own scripts.
If you are into vlogs that mix skits and sketches together with chats, and you are doing everything by yourself, then you might consider having a loose script. This could be an outline of your video with all the cutaways and the sketches being indicated in it. You can write down a few jokes that you think will do well in a video and mix it together with notes on the topics that you want to cover. Having this outline will give you the freedom to improvise whenever you want, but also keep on track with your topic and maintain the pace when you are shooting.
If your aim is to be as ‘real’ as possible and connect with the audience by being their friend rather than their entertainer, writing down a few notes will be enough. The only reason to have the notes is to help yourself stay on the topic of your video and not side-track completely. Also having a few notes will make it easier for you to start recording, as you will already have a few ideas in front of you.
Of course, it is totally up to you whether you want to have a script or not. When it comes to shooting the videos using the script, some people are natural at that, and some feel like they’re ‘faking it’. So if you are just starting out and are not sure whether or not you should script your video, try experimenting having different kinds of scripts while filming and see which one works best for you.
Do you script your videos or do you chat to your camera like it is your friend? Do you have any tips for those who are just starting writing scripts? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @LondonSmallYT!