Creating an Animation: Part 2 – The Script

In part 1, I described how I experimented with several drawing and animation tools until I settled on the ones that suited me. The next step was writing the script.

Having viewed a number of explanation videos produced by professional companies I began to develop a feel for their general structure and the things that worked. Most videos are around 90 seconds in length which is sufficiently long to communicate a core message but not too long that the audience becomes bored and switches off before they reach the end.
Although there is some variation in their narrative structure, a common technique is to split the video into three parts:

  1. State Problem (45%) Introduce a problem with which your audience will identify. Demonstrate how traditional attempts to solve this problem fall short.
  2. Introduce Solution (45%) Introduce an elegant solution that would solve the problem the audience now accepts they have. Demonstrate how your particular service or product is an unparallelled reification of this solution.
  3. Call to Action (10%) Politely instruct your audience to take action. The action may be as simple as visiting a website or signing up for a newsletter but it must be simple and tangible and it should take your viewer one step closer to forming a meaningful relationship with your product or service.

With this structure in mind, I set about writing a 1500 word brief which expanded on each of the points above as they applied to the service we were hoping to publicize. I initiated this primarily for my own benefit to help structure my thoughts but it also became a very useful tool for communicating with the other members of the project team and helped to invite their feedback.

The next task was to begin writing the script. Unfortunately, my natural tendency for verbosity – using ten syllables when one would suffice – became very apparent when I read through my initial draft. 90 seconds isn’t a long time so the choice of every single word is critical. After a great deal of editing and many readings I succeeded in removing all unnecessarily complex words and any that felt clumsy when spoken, leaving the finished script with just 14 sentences and less than 240 words to fill 100 seconds of video.

The script did undergo minor changes during recording. I dropped a couple of redundant words and swapped one or two that didn’t feel natural when spoken but generally the script remained intact after the initial drafting and editing process and I was pleased with the result.

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