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Creating Your Videos, Part 1: Scripting

- January 16, 2010 - 5 Comments

Now that a new year is upon us, you may be thinking about that resolution you set to create more videos. And since the Channels blog is all about helping you keep those New Year’s resolutions, here are some of our patented video secrets.

In November, I led a workshop at Cisco Partner Velocity to help partners bring their marketing to life with video. Rather than make you watch my entire presentation from start to finish (though it’s available on the Velocity site here to registered Cisco partners who are so inclined), I’ve broken my talk down into five components that comprise the typical steps I take when creating a video.

There are obviously many ways to go about creating a video and I don’t always stick to my own formula, but these are the steps that work for me.

The five steps I’ve identified are…


  1. Scripting
  2. Building the set
  3. Filming
  4. Editing/production
  5. Marketing/promoting

This will be part one of a series of blog posts on creating videos, starting with step one: scripting.


If you’re creating a video, you are – in essence — the director. It’s your vision! So, as the director, you wouldn’t walk onto the set and tell your actors just to make something up; well, in most cases you wouldn’t. You have a specific goal or purpose for creating your video and want those participants to help you achieve it. That’s where the script comes in.

When creating your script, think first and foremost about your audience. Who is your video targeted toward and what sort of action do you hope the viewer will take? Bear in mind that people on the Web are busy and have their own agenda. Don’t waste your viewers’ time by talking about yourself and how great you are. Tell them what they want to hear and directly address their needs and pain points. And here’s the important part: You have under three minutes to capture their attention!

Then think about the cast of characters – the on-camera talent — and how they can speak to your audience. If your video will consist of an interview with your CEO about a new service, perhaps you’ll have an interviewer ask pointed questions about the service, what the customer will get out of it, and when the service will be available. Keep it simple and direct.

When writing a script, your on-camera talent doesn’t need to memorize it, but rather they should know the gist of what they should say or what to expect. Knowing what to expect is especially helpful for someone who isn’t used to being in a video and helps them feel more relaxed. In some cases, writing a couple of bullet points on a large poster and holding it up next to the camera as a low-tech teleprompter will help jog the subject’s memory as he or she walks through talking points.

Keep sentences crisp, short, and to the point. And be sure to think of “soundbites” or short, punchy sentences that you hear on news shows–that one sentence takeaway that really drives the point home.

Questions? Tips that work for you? Leave those in the comments. Stay tuned for the next steps and also for information about the next Velocity event.

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  1. This is just like creating low-budget film! Thanks for sharing the clues how to properly do it.

  2. Hi Ed,You're totally right about cutting out the fluff and getting right to the point. Script writing is the opposite as what we've been taught in our essay-writing classes. You don't need a long intro or sweeping prose, just cut to the chase -- short and sweet.Would love to see everyone's videos, so please paste in those links!

  3. Hi Dan,Thanks for your question. I'll be posting the next in the series soon, but in the meantime I can answer your question.I haven't used lighting umbrellas, but have experience using both photography light reflectors and LED lights. (The reflectors are silver- or gold-colored discs that help reduce shadows -- here's an example and the LEDs are more expensive, but great for adding in lighting in low-light situations. Here's one example). Otherwise, place your subject in front of a window, making sure the person filming has his or her back to the window. Any of these three options provide a few price points and all do a great job in helping on-camera talent look great.I recommend heading over to VideoMaker's site as they have a lot of great advice. I found this piece on choosing your lighting that walks though the basics and should help get you on your way."

  4. Alexandra,I'm jumping ahead a bit, as we have progressed quickly in our inhouse video offering. I saw some table top lighing umbrellas. Do you have some experience with these. I want our customers to look good when we film the with the flip. Any thought you have would be greatly appreciated.BestDan KatzGenesis Integrators

  5. Writing a great script for our home page video was one of the most challenging things we had to do. 2 or 3 efforts later we finally landed on the best but it wasn't easy. Consumers want to hear how it benefits them and quickly. Cut through the fluff and get to the beef of your message.