As a voice over artist I’ve read hundreds of scripts for explainer videos.
I can identify a well written voice over script in the first couple of lines.
With most clients looking for that magical ‘conversational’ style, these are my six tips to writing great explainer video voice over scripts.
There is only a certain number of words you can fit into a 60-second script before it’s impossible to read in a conversational way.
Depending on the speed and style this could be anything between 140 – 170 words.
For me 150 words translates to a fairly quick but conversational 60-seconds of audio.
Using this rule of thumb around 75 words gets you a snappy 30 second radio ad.
But when you’re writing a script and reading it back in your head I guarantee you won’t do this at the same speed as reading it out loud.
A simple exercise which will instantly confirm if your voice over script is running to time.
A further tip – do this in front of a mirror and look at yourself at the end of each sentence which again helps give a more realistic time.
‘You have’ becomes ‘You’ve’. ‘They have’ becomes ‘They’ve’. ‘We have’ becomes ‘We’ve’.
Why? There’s a difference between the way we write and speak.
When we speak we naturally shorten phrases, immediately creating a more conversational sound.
A good voice over will play with these types of words within a script to help with timing and tone.
Not all words need to contract but having some will certainly help with being ‘conversational.’
The record number of words I’ve seen in one sentence is currently 87 – that’s expecting a voice over talent to record about 30 seconds of audio with one breath! Try it!
Break up your content and you’ll find you have a much sharper script.
This allows the voice over artist to deliver your words with more impact and in that conversational style.
I find having shorter sentences also helps motion graphics editors create awesome explainer films as they quickly move from one scene to another.
An obvious one but one of the most common mistakes I find when receiving scripts is that no one has actually checked it makes any sense!?
The online voice over business can rely on a fast turnaround service and delays happen when I have to check sentence structures or how to say certain brand or industry lingo.
Before sending a script, have a quick read and make sure you are happy with the final copy.
A voice over artist wants to receive a ‘locked script’ – one which is signed off and ready to go.
If changes come later it may end up costing more to record. However I’m an exception in the business and I’m very relaxed about changes.
When you hear the first recording it’s likely to sound different to what you had in mind – I get that, so if you want to change the odd line that’s no problem.
I offer a British voice over same day service.
If you’re producing an explainer film it’s unlikely the first second of content and the last second will be voice over.
There will probably be a few seconds as the viewer is introduced to the content with production music, establishing shots or motion graphics building.
Through your explainer film you may also have space between paragraphs to insert clips of interviews or to show data which needs time for the viewer to digest.
Add all this time onto the length of your script to get an idea of the total length.
While you will live and breathe your brand take a moment to ask whether the voice over artist you’re booking will be familiar with the company name and any industry language?
Share reference links to other online voice overs or explainer films which feature any words or names you sometimes hear pronounced incorrectly.
As a British male voice over feel free to offer some help with any foreign pronunciations.
Most of the time I’ll record two or three versions and then you can select which is the best for your explainer film or video.
Follow these tips to help write your next explainer video script and then book me, a British voice over with a same day service!