Your brand new product is ready for the world and you’re looking to create the perfect explainer video it deserves.
Now, you probably already know that a successful explainer video starts with a great explainer video script. Whether you’re making your own video or hiring a video production agency to do so, having a clear understanding of the scriptwriting process is a must.
But as easy as it sounds, writing an explainer video script can be challenging.
As luck would have it, I’ve created this step-by-step guide to elaborate on how to write a killer explainer video script for your business, complete with:
- Actionable tips and examples
- An explainer video script template you can readily use
Multiple years of experience in explainer video production has given us the opportunity to develop and polish our script writing process. We’re going to be sharing the very same process we’ve used to successfully create over 250+ explainer videos.
So without further ado, let’s get this wagon on the road!
Explainer Video Script Template
In case you’re looking for a free explainer video script template to work with, here’s ours. Feel free to make use of it.
Of course, having the template alone doesn’t mean you’ve mastered how to write a script for a video. There’s still so much to effective script writing that you need to know.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to help you with in this article.
So stick around till the end to learn how to make the most out of your explainer video script template with our detailed breakdown of the entire process.
Table of content
What are the steps to write an explainer video script?
Every script for an explainer video follows the same basic format.
However, you’ll notice that each explainer video that emerges is unique and never follows the same exact path.
Why is that?
Because these explainer video scripts are personalized according to the situation considering factors like the business, industry, product or service, target audience etc.
This personalization of the script is what ensures that your explainer video resonates with your target audience.
On that note, our process of writing an explainer video script follows these fundamental steps.
- Step 1: Gathering information
- Step 2: Concept
- Step 3: Structure
- Step 4: Draft
To make it easy for you, I’ll use an explainer video script example throughout the article for you to better understand the specifics.
For this we’re going to be using the script we wrote for one of our clients Atoka as a sample. So be sure to look out for that name.
Step 1: Gathering Information
Long before you even put pen on paper, you need to thoroughly understand the project, right from the company, product, specifications for the video, etc.
At this stage, there must be direct communication between everyone related to the product. This includes product experts, technical experts, marketers and the team who’ll be working on your explainer video.
The bottom line is, the technical aspects of your offering must closely align with your video marketing strategies and objectives to get the best results out of your video.
It’s extremely important for everyone to be on the same page in order to set the right expectations for your video project.
To do this, you need to ask questions. Lots and lots of questions. And all the right questions. Here are some questions you can start with to get the ball rolling:
- What’s your goal for this project?
- What is the major issue you’re trying to solve for your audience?
- What are the existing solutions, and what sets you apart from the competition?
- What are the key benefits you’d like to highlight?
- What action would you like the viewer to take at the end of the video?
Here at the studio, we send a detailed creative brief for our clients to fill. In short, the creative brief is a video production client questionnaire. It encompasses all the above details and more, giving us a chance to thoroughly understand the project.
Here is the creative brief template we use at Studiotale. Feel free to use it if you wish.
Using the information that we get from the creative brief as a base, we then set up another online meeting or a personal conference to really get an in-depth knowledge of the project.
Only after this groundwork is laid does the actual scriptwriting process begin.
Step 2: Concept
This is the most important stage of the scriptwriting process. Without a solid concept at hand, you simply cannot go any further.
The concept defines the core essence of the product/service and its usefulness to the audience. This is then tweaked to best represent the solutions to consumers’ problems.
Here at the studio, we use the requirements from the creative brief as a guide, along with our own research to create a concept for the video.
Our research is extensive, so as to be able to understand and address consumer pain points. We then take the idea and brainstorm the best way to represent the solutions aesthetically.
This idea becomes the base for our video concept, which is later defined using befitting visuals and vocals.
This stage involves a lot of creativity and teamwork, owing to the millions of possibilities that an explainer video can become.
Great! Now that you know the importance of a video concept, let’s divide our discussion into two categories – presenting format and visual style.
This is nothing but the creative direction your video must take. There is no fixed formula here because it all comes down to the kind of story you want to tell.
When it comes to your explainer video, it’s best to keep your script as direct as possible. Your potential customers don’t want to be contemplating the hidden meanings or layers behind your video. No.
You need to educate them about how your product solves a problem quickly and effectively. That’s what your video must achieve. After all, it is an explainer video.
The easiest way to go about this is by making your product the focus of the video. Now, that doesn’t mean you plainly list out the benefits and features.
You need a product explainer video script to be interesting and engaging throughout. And the best way to do that is through video storytelling. Stories share an experience rather than just information. And when you share an experience with your audience, you’re bound to get equal participation.
Try and include character(s) in your video. It doesn’t matter if it’s one main character or multiple characters. The second there’s a character on screen, people connect a whole lot better.
Why? Because characters and the emotions they bring along are relatable on a human level.
Of course, that isn’t the only approach your video must take. If you’ve established yourself well enough and are looking for a more challenging task, you could always conceptualize the video.
This is when you rely more on imagery and metaphors to share an experience with your audience. It’s a lot more vibrant and interesting to watch, and is perfect if you’re challenging your creative stand.
Personally however, I believe this kind of video works best as a secondary explainer video because as I said, direct is always better. On the other hand, if you think you can pull it off the first time, don’t let me stop you. Just go for it!
To best explain this, I’m going to use an example. Take these two videos by Slack. They both have the same underlying idea – Slack is more efficient, productive and ‘no more email’. The difference lies in the approach they’ve taken.
The first one titled “So Yeah, We Tried Slack…” follows a direct approach. It’s a live-action video that explains Slack in a fun and humorous way. It involves real people giving their thoughts on the product and even though the video is playful, the main message is communicated across superbly.
The second one titled “Communication Without Chaos” takes a slightly more conceptual and indirect approach to storytelling. It entirely relies on imagery not related to the product along with eye-catching animation and motion graphics to tell the same story. It’s also aided by a voiceover that adds the right essence and information to it.
Slack needn’t have made Communication Without Chaos because their previous video did its job. Yet, just to challenge themselves and see how much more creatively they can deliver the same message, they created it. Besides, it makes for a great portfolio!
This is the…well…the visual direction of your video.Here is where you determine if your video is going to be a live-action explainer video or an animated explainer video.
Regardless of the type, make sure you decide the tone and emotion you want your video to set first. This will determine the course your video must take in order to connect with your audience.
If you’re going for a live-action video, here are a couple of things to keep in mind.
- How many characters do you want in the video, and what role does each of them have to play in the video.
- What dialogue will your leading character(s) make use of. Is it formal or informal? (Remember to keep your product and target audience in mind when thinking of the dialogue language.)
- Setting is just as important because it functions as a backdrop for your video. Decide where the video is taking place. Is it in your office cafeteria? Or is it in a lovely meadow somewhere in Europe?
All the elements must come together to reflect the theme, mood, style, and emotion of your explainer video.
If you’ve decided on animation, here’s what to look out for during the animation process.
- Are you going for 2D or 3D animation?
- How are the illustrations, background, and transitions going to pan out?
- What kind of language must the voice-over follow? Is it going to be serious with big words? Or is it going to be a relaxed and friendly chat?
- What kind of pace and tone do you want the voice actor to achieve?
- Are you looking to add background music or sound effects as a part of your video? If so, what kind will you include?
Once again, make sure they all match the video’s theme, mood, style, and emotion.
For instance, our Atoka project is a 2D animated explainer video. Atoka’s website content is vast and we had to break down technical information in a way that their audience could easily comprehend. Animation offered us the best route to blend different characters, scenes and visuals to tell Atoka’s story in the most engaging way possible.
You’ll also notice that the video has a very minimalistic feel. This was specifically requested so we made sure the animations were simple yet eye-catching.
We also wanted the video to feel human to better resonate with the viewer. This is why we used multiple characters and ensured that the language used is very casual and transparent. The voiceover was chosen in accordance to the language and feel we had to set.
A lot of thinking must go into this, and it honestly can take a while to get that done. To make this decision making process easier for everyone involved, we do three things.
- We first create what is called a mood board. What is a mood board? A mood board is a physical or digital collage of ideas that includes everything needed to define the direction of your project. Visuals, text, tone, emotion, color, texture – everything.
- Then, we do some pretty intense competitive research to help us understand why their videos work so well. The working elements of those videos are then analyzed and combined with our own expertise to further enrich our video.
- In order to understand our client’s vision, we also show them reference videos of different styles. This lets us know of their preferences and overall idea of how they want their final video to be. In turn, this gives us an idea of what the clients expect.
Here at our studio, this stage is our number one priority. We don’t move forward without sitting with our clients and settling on a fixed concept.
To get a more detailed idea of How We Create a Concept For Explainer Videos, check out this blog.
When we have the base laid out, we advance to the next stage.
Step 3: Structure
At this stage, we decide the overall structure of the video to make sure the video has clarity.
To make the best out of your script, here is a list of things you must take note of.
There are two categories to which your story can belong:
This is when you start the script by addressing well-known problems faced by your target audience. This is then followed by the launch of your product as the solution, highlighting its main features and benefits. This is a highly preferred approach.
Our Atoka video project follows this very story approach. We’ll take a detailed look into this in a bit.
Stand-alone Story Approach:
This is used when launching an innovative product that is entirely new and unknown to people. You can directly start the video script with the product, followed by the features and benefits.
For instance, this iconic explainer video by Dollar Shave Club follows this story approach. They directly jump into what they are and how they’re better than the others in the niche.
The ideal length for an animated video is 60 to 90 seconds. This is the perfect amount of time to deliver your message considering our pathetically short attention spans.
That said, if you’re going for a 60 second video, that’s an average of 150 words per minute. A 90 second video has an average of 225 words.
If you cross that time margin, there’s a good chance that people will lose focus before finishing the video. And you wouldn’t want that, would you?
The key here is content. If you really can’t help keeping it within that time frame, think about how you can make the content as interesting and engaging as possible.
While no script is the same, there is a classic structure they all follow.
The best way to determine a seamless narrative structure is by answering the essentials:
- What is the problem you’re addressing?
- Who are you?
- How exactly does your product solve the problem?
- Why is your product the perfect solution?
Let’s get into the details.
This is the ‘What’ factor of your video. You include this in the first 15 to 20 seconds.
The reason you start with this is because of relatability. You need to show people that you understand their pain points and empathize with their situation. This triggers the relatability factor and increases brand trust.
For instance, our Atoka script’s problem statement goes “Reliable data makes all the difference between finding and losing customers. But often, that means having to comb through pages and pages of results on generic search engines.”
Here, the problem is clear and relatable – data sorting is a very tedious process. Deriving meaningful insights from this data is time-consuming, and can affect your customers.
The ‘Who’ factor. This follows the problem statement and is where you introduce your product with its name and tagline.
Your viewer’s attention remains on the screen because now you’ve offered them a solution to their problems.
Ours goes “Atoka is a bold new search engine geared towards giving you all kinds of business information…”
The ‘How’ factor. Follow up the product launch with the features in relation to the problem statement.
This section needs to be clear and understandable because you’re explaining how your product is better than those already in the market.
We have given brief explanations that effectively explain the selling features of Atoka.
- “Semantic technology helps us understand…business metrics.”
- “This can be searched according to name and registry number…”
- “Data can be saved for faster access later…”
The ‘Why’ factor. Here you highlight the benefits.
What makes you different from others? What is your X-factor? You must make a good impression on your audience here. This is where you convince them that your product is the key to their problems.
The main benefit of Atoka goes something like, “With this data…you can instantly engage…convert them to loyal consumers…new levels of productivity and efficiency.”
This part of the script shows what sets Atoka apart from existing solutions by highlighting the products biggest benefits:
- Sourcing data from an open-source government agency ensures authentic, accurate and reliable source data.
- Multiple indexing processes produce multiple case-specific data insights taking various information needs into account.
- Multiple data sharing and saving options enhance user convenience.
Finally, close your video with a strong and actionable CTA (never forget it). Your CTA must be a very clear instruction on what exactly you want the viewer to do after the video.
Your CTA can be anything from “Get your free trial here” or “Visit our website to know more”.
Our script goes “Try Atoka today, for free!”
When all the elements eventually come together, the script will look something like this.
When all that is done, we finally enter the real action.
Step 4: Draft
By this stage, we have everything our scriptwriters need to make the first draft of the narrative.
Here is where we put together all the pieces of our research to come with the first, clear idea of the final video.
We encourage our scriptwriters to come up with the first draft as soon as possible. This lets us focus on proof-reading and polishing the script to perfection.
To make the most out of your first draft, here are a couple of tips that you can follow for your explainer video script.
- Envision the video while writing the draft. When you have a visual idea of how the video must turn out, it becomes so much easier to write the script. They become the pillars you build your script around.
- A lot of blogs will tell you to keep the tone of your language casual and conversational. While this is a great tip, it really depends on your target audience. Use the same kind of language they use on a daily basis.
- We recommend using Google Docs when writing the script because it’s easier to get feedback and suggestions from all the various stakeholders, like clients and your team, in real-time.
- Always make sure you get feedback from your clients and team. When you have the collective feedback of the whole team, you can correct and improve the script to the point where everyone’s happy!
When all this is done and complete, your video script is ready. And what do you end up with? A brilliant explainer video!
When creating an explainer video, never make the mistake of taking the script for granted. Take the necessary time to do it right and you’ll be rewarded, I assure you.
And honestly, you’re going to enjoy doing this. It’s a super fun process.
We hope this article has equipped you with the knowledge to write an explainer video script, and a good one too. No doubt, you’re going to make yourself and us very proud.
If you liked what you read, or if you feel we’ve missed out on anything, do not hesitate to let us know in the comments.
If you need a little outside help for your explainer video, feel more than welcome to reach out to us. There’s nothing like helping someone bring their ideas to life.