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How to Create Short Video Scripts: Beginner’s Crash Course in 5 Minutes!

All Things Are Media, Everyone Is a Media Creator

Short videos have become the most significant medium for people to express themselves verbally. We’ve entered the era of short videos and are now reaping the benefits of it.

Vol.01 What is a Script

A script refers to the development outline of a story, used to determine the main content, direction of development, and shooting details of the entire work. Everyone involved in video shooting and editing, including photographers, actors, makeup and costume preparation, and editors, follows the script. Everything, including the timing, location, what appears in the frame, how the camera should be used, and what the scenes should look like, is created based on the script.

Vol.02 The Role of Scripts

Improve video shooting efficiency
A script serves as the outline and framework for short videos. With an outline and framework in place, it’s like providing a process guide for subsequent shooting, editing, prop preparation, etc.

Ensure video shooting quality
Although short videos are relatively brief, to achieve high traffic and conversion rates, every detail including background, characters, props, dialogues, shooting and editing techniques, scene transitions, etc., must be meticulously crafted.

Task Specific Tasks Script Framework Just arrived, the Huawei P30! Today, we’re going to test the performance of this phone for everyone. So, is it worth buying? Let’s find out.

The phone has a moderate weight, features a punch-hole screen, and has a slim and lightweight body.

Task 1 Unboxing the new phone. Task 2 Describing the phone’s appearance. Task 3 Benchmark comparison of the phone.

TASK Specific Tasks Script Framework
1Unboxing the new phone.Just arrived, the Huawei P30! Today, we’re going to test the performance of this phone for everyone. So, is it worth buying? Let’s find out.
2Describing the phone’s appearanceThe phone has a moderate weight, features a punch-hole screen, and has a slim and lightweight body.
3Benchmark comparison of the phone.Using benchmarking software to test the phone’s performance, comparing it with the iPhone 7.

Vol.03 Types of Scripts

Short video scripts are generally divided into three major categories: storyboard scripts, literary scripts, and shooting outlines.

Storyboard Scripts
Storyboard scripts have already transformed text into visuals that can be directly expressed through the lens. They typically include visual content, scenes, shooting techniques, timing, camera positions, sound effects, etc., to a certain extent, making them “visual” images. Storyboard scripts require meticulous attention to detail, with every frame under control, including the length of each shot and every detail within each frame.

Suitable for: Narrative, character showcase videos.

Literary Scripts
Unlike storyboard scripts, literary scripts are less detailed and are suitable for short videos that don’t require a plot, such as educational videos, review videos, etc. They basically outline all controllable factors for shooting. In literary scripts, only the tasks characters need to perform, their dialogue, the selected shots, and the length of the program are specified. Apart from some uncontrollable factors, all other scene arrangements are included, and they are relatively efficient in terms of time. This type of script is widely used across various media platforms.

Suitable for: Knowledge sharing, review videos.

Shooting Outlines
Shooting outlines are the shooting points established for filming a film or certain scenes. They only provide various prompts for shooting content, suitable for some content that is not easy to control and predict. When there are many uncertain factors during shooting, or when some scenes are difficult to pre-plan, directors and cinematographers need to flexibly handle them based on the shooting outline on-site.

Suitable for: News documentaries, event videos, competition videos, visit videos.

Vol.04 Preparation for Writing Short Video Scripts

Stick to Video Positioning
Typically, short video accounts have a clear positioning, such as food, fashion, workplace, life hacks sharing, street interviews, etc. Therefore, before planning each short video content, it’s important to base it on your account’s positioning (general direction). Both platforms and users prefer vertical content, which is undisputed.

Determine Video Themes
Themes define the content. Based on the account’s positioning, we need to set a specific theme for each short video shoot. For example, for a makeup sharing account, shooting a dry skin foundation makeup sharing is a specific video theme.

Arrange Video Shooting Time
If your short video requires multiple people or collaboration with others, you need to arrange the shooting time in advance. This ensures that a feasible shooting plan is made and does not affect the progress of pre-shooting and post-editing work.

Find Suitable Video Shooting Locations
Indoor or outdoor scenes? More specifically, a certain park or square? Because some shooting locations require advance reservation or communication to avoid affecting the shooting progress.

Refer to/Draw Inspiration from Excellent Videos
Especially when just starting to produce short videos, there may be differences between the desired shooting effect and the final outcome. At this time, it’s recommended to learn some video shooting techniques and skills in advance, or directly draw inspiration and learn from experts’ shooting.

Background BGM (Background Music)
BGM is an essential part of short video shooting, and selecting suitable music to match the scene is crucial. For example, for shooting internet celebrities, choose popular and upbeat music; for shooting Chinese style, choose slow-paced and beautiful vlog music; for shooting sports-style videos, choose music with clear rhythmic beats; for shooting parenting and family dramas, light and warm music can be chosen.

Vol.05 Elements of Shot Composition

In scriptwriting, we need to meticulously design each shot, primarily including six elements: shot, scene, content, dialogue, duration, camera movement, and props.

Shot Scene
Long shot, full shot, medium shot, close-up, extreme close-up

Taking shots of people as an example:

A long shot captures the entire person and environment in the frame, commonly used to show the time, environment, scale, and atmosphere of events, such as scenes from wars.

A full shot is closer than a long shot, capturing the entire body of the person in the frame, used to show the full-body movements of characters or the relationship between characters.

A medium shot refers to shooting the part of a person from knees to head, allowing the audience to clearly see the character’s expression and advantageous for displaying the character’s body movements.

A close-up shot captures the part of a person from above the chest to the head, very useful for showing the facial expressions or other details of the character, even subtle movements.

An extreme close-up is a shot of details such as a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, fingers, toes, etc., suitable for highlighting specific details.

Present what you want to express through various scene methods. Specifically, it’s about breaking down the script and detailing the content in each shot.

Dialogue is prepared for shot expression and plays a finishing touch role. For a 60-second short video, it’s advisable not to exceed 180 characters; otherwise, it may sound particularly exhausting.

This duration refers to the length of an individual shot, clearly marked in advance for easy identification of highlights and to improve editing efficiency.

There are many types of props to choose from, and there are many ways to play with them. However, it’s essential to note that props serve to complement the main subject, not to overshadow it. Don’t let them steal the spotlight from the main focus.

Camera Movement
Camera movement refers to the way the lens moves. From close to far, horizontal push, rotation push, etc., are all acceptable. Here are some camera movement techniques commonly used in short video shooting:

Horizontal movement

Vertical movement

Zoom lens

Push-pull lens

Up-down lens

Handheld lens

Focus lens

Elements of a Beginner’s Script (Using Excel Spreadsheet)

Vol.06 Elements of Script Composition for Beginners (Using Excel Spreadsheet)

  1. Subject – Represents the central theme of the video content.
  2. Shooting location – Determine the shooting location based on the content.
  3. Shot number – Record each shot and arrange them in sequential order.
  4. Video frame – When conceptualizing, describe each desired shot in as much detail as possible, ideally visualizing it in your mind.
  5. Scenic view – Utilize wide shots, panoramas, medium shots, close-ups, and close-ups interchangeably.
  6. Angle – Varying shooting angles enriches the content of the frame; it’s not recommended to stick to a single angle.
  7. Duration – Manage the duration of each shot and control the total duration of the video.
  8. Video script – The script refers to the content of the voice-over, which needs to be recorded along with subtitles and on-screen annotations.
Shot No.Scene DescriptionScenic ViewTimeFilming TechniqueCamera PositionLyricsSound EffectsRemarks
1City night view (using Optics Valley as an example)Long shot9sFixed, panSide anglePreludeMoonlight casting a lonely silhouette
2A man sits on the bed, burying his head deep into his kneesLong shot8sFixed shotSide front“It’s late, yet I still can’t sleep for you”
3Clock on the bedside table shows 4 in the morningClose-up7sFixed shotFront“The mood before dawn is the deepest gray”
4A man holds a bewildered girl’s photo in his hand, looking deep and helplessClose-up8sSlowly zooms in from hand to photoOverhead“You’re torn between left and right, unsure how to face it”
5Man slowly lifts his head, turning his face to the scattered photos on the bedClose-up8sSlowly pushes from hand to photosAerial“All I can do is remain silent and understand”
6Man gives a medium shot and slowly pans to a wide shotMedium shot8sSlow panSide front“Love is an ocean that engulfs us”
7Man takes photos on the streetLong shot4sFixed shotLevel shot“In loneliness, I seek escape”
8Cut to Shot 58sSide rear
9Cut back to the man holding the camera, turning to find other subjectsFixed shot4sFixed shotSide rear“You appear beside me”
10Woman wearing headphones, holding an MP4 player, sits quietly in a chair, seemingly in tears, perhaps movedFlat angle4sFlat angleFront
11Woman cryingOverhead2sOverheadSide“Your tears”
12Man stands by as the woman criesMoves camera4sMoves cameraFront and rear“Let me find the courage to tell you”
13Woman wipes her tears and walks past the manFixed shot4sFixed shotSide front

Vol.07 Conclusion

Clarifying the theme is the first and most crucial step in scriptwriting. Building the framework, organizing the content in order of importance, filling in the template, detailing every shot, repeatedly reviewing and modifying, and finally confirming. To present the completeness of the plot and the characteristics of the brand within a short span of seconds or even minutes, we need to meticulously refine every detail, not wasting any shot.

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