fbpx
Categories
TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

How to Write a YouTube Script

There are many YouTubers with what some would call the “gift of gab”, who are able to sit down (or stand up) in front of a camera and chatter away for a solid twenty minutes or longer with little more than a few scribbled notes for prompting. For those lucky few, YouTube can be a magical place. For many of us, much more work is required to make the YouTube dream a reality, and scripts soon become an important part of the process.

Unfortunately, knowing that you need a script for your YouTube videos and knowing how to write a YouTube script are two very different things. Fortunately, you have lovely articles like this one to help you along!

Know Your YouTuber

If you are writing a script for yourself—as many YouTubers do—this part should be relatively simple for you. We can all stand to learn a little more about ourselves, but hopefully you know yourself at least a little.

However, if you are writing a script for another YouTuber, it is important to know a little about them. Script writing can be a bit strange at times, since you are only creating part of the final product. A good script can die in the hands of a bad actor, just as a bad script can get by in the hands of a good actor. But the best scripts results are often achieved when the words on the page and the person reading them mesh.

If at all possible, you should write your script with the voice of the YouTuber who will be reading it in mind. We’re not talking about their literal voice (though that can sometimes help, too), but their voice in a broader, more metaphorical sense. Does what you’re writing suit their personality? Will it sound right coming out of their mouth?

Ultimately, a good YouTuber will be able to work with what they got, but why make it hard for them? And, if you are writing your own script, why make it hard for yourself?

How to Write a YouTube Script 1

Format Your Script Appropriately

Most YouTubers don’t embark on their YouTube career knowing how to write a proper script from the get go. Perhaps if you have a background in film studies, or you are an aspiring screenwriter, you will know the technical side of putting a script together.

However, that’s not what we mean.

Formatting your script appropriately is a contextual thing. If you are writing a script for a big YouTube channel, or perhaps you are making a short movie for YouTube, you should probably make that script look as professional and legitimate as possible. That being said, if you are writing for another YouTuber, they might have their own preferred format. And, if you are writing for yourself, you can pretty much do as you please as long as the result is usable by you!

Do Your Research

Working with a script provides a golden opportunity to be right first time. With live broadcasts—especially when the thing being broadcast includes interactions with uncontrollable external elements, like other people—there will always be an element of uncertainty. Things may get said that are not correct. Mistakes may get made.

Not so with produced videos.

If you are going to be taking the time to write out a script, take advantage of that process to ensure that everything you are saying is correct, both in a factual sense and in the sense that it works from a tone and cadence perspective.

Make Sure There is a Structure

When you boil it down, a script is just a story. In the same way that a work of fiction, or a blog post, or a news article has to have certain elements, so should your script.

There should be an introduction, where you establish the premise of the video while also grabbing the viewer’s attention. Remember, most viewers who decide to pass on your video will do it in the early stages. There should be a middle, which will contain the meat of the content. And, finally, there should be an end, or conclusion, where you satisfyingly finish the video and leave the viewers happy that they stuck around for the whole thing.

While the writing style is obviously very different, it can help to consider the elements of your script as though they were a blog post or short story. Is the viewer given reason to stay? Are they given what the video promised them? Is it entertaining?

Try It Out!

Do not, we repeat, do not just patter out a script on your keyboard, proofread it, and call it a day. As much as we all like to think that the voice in our heads is a reliable mirror of reality, the truth is that all manner of problems can be missed if you don’t—at the very least—read the script aloud before you mentally sign off on it.

The ideal scenario would be you reading your script to someone else, so you can get their opinion on it as well as your own, but if you can’t get another person involved, consider recording a dry read—it can be audio only—and listening back. This will often help you catch any weird quirks or difficult sentences that looked fine on the page.

Final Thoughts

YouTube scripts aren’t for everyone, and anyone that tells you otherwise should be given a healthy dose of suspicious side-eye.

That being said, they will help far more people than they harm, as most of us are just not that adept at free-flowing, natural sounding speech without something to help us along. Of course, speaking naturally while reading a script is also a skill that needs to be learned, but it is an easier skill than speaking off the cuff without any script at all.

If we could reiterate one piece of advice, however, it would be to read your script aloud before signing off on it. You would be amazed at what you can miss when you’re reading things in your head.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

Categories
SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Do YouTubers Use Teleprompters?

Asking “do YouTubers use teleprompters” is a bit like asking whether people wear hats. “Some of them do, some of them don’t”, will invariably be the answer.

Unlike television, where we can confidently say that most onscreen personalities are using a teleprompter (or a cue card or something similar), YouTube has no common standard.

It is entirely up to each individual YouTuber how they run their channel, and while there are certain things that work and things that don’t work in most cases, there is technically no right or wrong way to go about it.

Do YouTubers Use Teleprompters? – When surveying my own audience if they use a teleprompter, full script, notes only or prefer to just wing it – 60% of creators prefer to wing it with 9% of them using a teleprompter to keep them on topic. 

Do YouTubers Use Teleprompters? 7

Of course, this would be a rather short and pointless post if we left it there, so we’re going to take a more in-depth look at the role of teleprompters in YouTubing—what are they, how you can get a teleprompter set up, and which situations are best for using a teleprompter versus situations it is best not to.

Do YouTubers Use Teleprompters? 1

What is a Teleprompter?

In the strictest terms of what is used in broadcast television, a teleprompter (also known as an autocue) is a device for projecting a script onto a transparent surface in front of the camera. This is done in such a way that the person in front of the camera can see the words, but they are invisible to the camera itself, with the advantage here being that the presenter or host can read the words while looking directly at the camera.

This is obviously a very useful tool in situations where the on-camera personality has a script to stick to, or needs prompting on what they have to say, but it is not necessarily what is meant when used in the context of YouTube.

There are several options for a teleprompter like setup for YouTubers, including the simplest option of having the text on the screen of your laptop or computer, with the camera above it.

That being said, there are some very affordable options available these days that replicate the full functionality of a traditional teleprompter, often using a phone or tablet as the source of the text.

These can be bought for around £50, which is a considerably more attractive option than the thousands that it would have cost to buy the kind of teleprompter that has been used in broadcast television studios for decades.

Makeshift Teleprompters

Not everyone can afford even relatively inexpensive gear like a £50 teleprompter—especially when it is possible to make do with what you have. You can fashion a teleprompter-like setup out of the electronic gadgets you have in most cases.

There are plenty of free apps that will handle the scrolling text part of the equation, and the physical side of things just requires you to be able to see the screen that your text is being displayed on. If you have a stand or clip, you can put it near the camera, but even propping it up against a vertical surface will work if you have no other options.

The trick is to get the screen as close to your camera as you possibly can. The closer the text is to the camera, the more it will look as though you are looking directly at the camera when you speak. If you can’t get your text near the camera, consider moving yourself back. The further you are from the camera, the less obvious it is that you are not quite looking directly at it.

When to Use a Teleprompter

As accessible as teleprompters are—and as easy as it is to set one up—there is still a time and a place for them.

Not every type of YouTube video warrants a teleprompter, and there are plenty of types of video that would actually be worse for the use of one.

There are some situations where it isn’t that important, such as voice over videos where the speaker is not on screen. In these cases, editing can take care of any issues without the viewer being any wiser.

That being said, having a teleprompter—or at least a script—could at the very least improve your workflow, and give you less work to do on the editing side of things.

For YouTubers whose ability to talk in a free form kind of way is one of the more appealing aspects of the channel, forcing yourself to read a teleprompter can often make the content feel stilted and awkward compared to the usual fare. And, of course, any kind of interview or other dynamic content cannot be scripted, so an autocue is entirely useless.

Where teleprompters shine, however, is with monologue-like content. When the YouTuber has scripted a section (or an entire video) and will be essentially talking to the camera, a teleprompter can allow you to get your speech off clearly and in much fewer takes than trying to remember your lines, and will take less preparation than memorising those lines.

Do YouTubers Use Teleprompters? 2

Using a Teleprompter

Given that the basic premise of a teleprompter is reading some text from a screen, there is not much in the way of learning to do when first using it.

That being said, while teleprompters are simple to understand, they can take a little practice to get good at.

Of course, some people will be naturally good at this which may seem unfair to those that aren’t. Unfortunately, the universe is rarely fair, and we just have to do the best we can.

For those of us that have to work a little harder at this, the main thing is practising what you are going to be doing. In other words, reading silently won’t cut it. You need to be reading text out loud, and working on your delivery.

The goal is for your speech to seem natural, rather than the awkward stilted speech of someone who is reading something aloud and is not comfortable about it. Consider reading aloud the next time you pick up a book, for example, or when you next read an article.

Why Not Just Memorise?

An obvious question might be, “if I have to spend so much time practising reading out loud, why not just spend that time rehearsing the actual words I will be saying?”

Of course, that is an option. There is a relevant idiom that goes something like, “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” If you decide to put this time into rehearsing, rather than practising, you are effectively condemning yourself to rehearsing for every video you make.

If you can get good at reading from an autocue, you can just turn it on and go.

Sure, it will be slow-going in the beginning as you get to grips with the skill, but it will get easier, whereas rehearsing each video never changes; you will always have something new to rehearse.

That being said, there is no right or wrong way to YouTube. If you try using a teleprompter and find it’s not for you, don’t feel as though you are doing something wrong. If an alternative method works for you, that is the right method.

Do YouTubers Use Teleprompters? 3

Don’t be Stubborn About Edits

There can be a temptation to believe that teleprompters are pointless if you have to edit or retake parts of your video.

This can lead to YouTubers either scrapping the teleprompter when they make mistakes, or blindly refusing to acknowledge those mistakes.

It is important to remember that we are only human, and even professional television hosts sometimes mess up when reading from a teleprompter.

The important factor is not whether the teleprompter completely eliminates errors and the need for editing from your videos, but whether it reduces those errors and edits. You should always be striving to make your content better, both for your viewers to watch and for you to make.

If a teleprompter don’t make your content worse but does improve things by a noticeable amount, it is worth keeping around.

Eye Contact Matters

One thing that can be a problem for YouTubers—especially those who record in cramped spaces or use makeshift teleprompter setups—is appearing to look at the camera while you speak.

When a YouTuber is constantly looking at something other than the camera, it can get distracting for the viewer, so it is worth adjusting your setup as much as possible so that you appear to be looking directly at the camera when you are, in fact, reading your script from the teleprompter.

Weirdly, this is one of those situations where a little is often worse than a lot. Looking just to the side of the camera is often more distracting than looking in a completely different direction. If your circumstances make looking at the camera impossible, this may be a handy piece of information to have.

Of course, we are not advising you to stare madly into the camera like a glassy-eyed crazy person, not blinking, face straining from the effort of not looking away.

Above all, you want to appear natural when reading from your teleprompter.