Script Writer’s Toolkit: visuals in your advert script

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A picture tells a thousand words – so the visuals in an advert script need to do a lot of talking.

If you read my recent post (Advert Script Ideas come in all shapes and sizes), you might remember the two examples I used. What made all the difference? The visuals. The visuals in an advert script are so, so important. Yet all too often I see content where the visuals have barely been considered.

“Hey, Mr expensive animator – here’s the script – can you just, sort of, illustrate it?”

Such a wasted opportunity!

With short-form content, every single word needs to fight hard to justify its place – and if a picture really does tell a thousand of them, carefully crafted visuals can help you explain something in a few seconds that might otherwise have taken minutes.

And if you’re thinking ‘but i’m just the writer – the visuals aren’t my job’, think again. The visuals in an advert script are as big a part of telling a compelling story as the voiceover. If you don’t write it, it isn’t going to happen.

I write my scripts in two columns – VO on the left, visuals on the right. And that right-hand column is always three or four times as dense. (Want some template scripts so you know how to lay them out like a pro? Just get in touch and i’ll send you my sample pack!)

Visuals can help explain otherwise-confusing concepts

One great recent example of the visuals saying more than the VO ever could: a tech client of mine who had developed a brand new kind of network – organised in such a way that if one users machine is hacked or compromised, the others will be safe by design.

Trying to expain exactly how that work takes a while. But, if we show you the two scenes below (one representing a traditional network, the other our new kind) – you implicitly ‘get’ it.

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Further down the sales funnel you can then create more focused content that does go into the specifics we skirt over here – but as your first exposure to a new concept, we’ve done enough to pique your interest and reel you in.

See it for yourself, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSyRwLBQhcU

Visuals can draw focus to the pain-points you solve.

Great visuals can also force a potential customer to think about the pain-points that you’re offering to solve – and demonstrate them much  more convincingly than voiceover alone.

Muqawiloon is an online platform that lets individuals manage their own construction projects, by connecting them with the contractors and suppliers they need to complete the job.

Their first video was designed to persuade contractors and suppliers to sign up to the platform. To do this, we played on their biggest fear: unless they move with the times (and join us), they risk losing their market share to those who do.

And what better way to illustrate this than their construction site (aka their livelihood) literally disappearing out from under them.

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The animator here did an awesome job of bringing that scene to life – it’s fun, funny, and a joy to watch. But most importantly: it’s effective.

See for yourself here: https://youtu.be/7WL77jw3-is

About the Author

Adam Hunt is a Script Writer and Creative Consultant. Based in London, he works remotely for clients around the world.

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