Professional ScriptWriting for Animated Explainer Videos | Carminys Guzmán | Skillshare

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Professional ScriptWriting for Animated Explainer Videos

teacher avatar Carminys Guzmán, Motion grapher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

16 Lessons (38m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. The Script

    • 3. The Video Length

    • 4. The Briefing

    • 5. The Briefing: Company

    • 6. The Briefing: Audience

    • 7. The Briefing: Content

    • 8. The Voice and Tone

    • 9. Grabbing Attention

    • 10. The Structure

    • 11. Analyzing a Script

    • 12. Solution to the Task

    • 13. Review and Self-Critique

    • 14. Sending the Script Proposal

    • 15. Final Project

    • 16. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Professional ScriptWriting for Animation.

Writing a professional explainer video script can be challenging, especially if we don't have the appropriate tools and information to do it.

In this course, you will discover the basics of writing a well-structured script for animation.

Learn the essential to writing engaging and high converting explainer video scripts for any business.

Along the way, you will learn:

  • How to determine the script length
  • How to design a professional briefing form
  • The brand's voice. What is and why it matters?
  • How to grab the audience attention
  • The three steps structure 
  • How to analyze a script
  • And much more!

Who is this class for?

This course is ideal for creative artists, 2D animators, 3D animators, illustrators, and anyone who wants to learn about how to write scripts for animated explainer videos.

Stop feeling stuck and start writing fluently.

Join the course now!

Meet Your Teacher

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Carminys Guzmán

Motion grapher

Top Teacher

Hi, my name is Carminys, and I’m the cofounder of; We are an animation studio with over 8 years of experience, based in Spain. 

The main goal of our courses is to share our knowledge simply and without complications.

If you really want to make professional animated videos from scratch, you will need to master 3 skills: Scriptwriting, Illustration, and of course, Animation.

Stop getting overwhelmed; save time, and start with our Animation Fundamental Courses.

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1. Intro: A well-done explainer video has the power to convey complex concepts with symbol and entertaining ideas. An essential part of achieving this is through a well-structured script. With writing a professional explainer video script can be challenging especially if we don't have the appropriate tools and information to do it. My name is Carminys Guzman. I am the co-founder of, an animation studio based in Spain. We have more than eight years of creating stories for all kinds of brands. In this course, I want to share my knowledge and experience with you. I have always been passionate about writing stories. When I was just a girl, I used to make comics about fantastic worlds. I loved going to the park to write my stories. Today, nature continues to help me a lot to get inspiration and relax. You will learn everything you need to produce professional explainer video scripts. Along the way, you will learn how to determine the script length, how to design a professional briefing poem, the brand's voice, what is, and why it matters, how to grab the audience's attention, that three-step structure, how to analyze a script, and much more. At the end of the course, you will be the one who apply what you've learned. You will also have, at your disposal, very interesting resources to download and use when working with future clients. No previous knowledge or experience is required to take this course. If you are a creative artist, storyteller, animator, or would like to become a script writer for explainer video projects, this course is for you. Stop feeling stuck and start writing fluently. Join the course now. 2. The Script: Welcome to your first class. I'm very happy to have you here. Before coming to the substance, let's see what explainer videos are. Many businesses struggle to explain what they do to their potential customers. Often, when potential customers visits a business website, they leave without a clear idea of the products or the services the company provides. Here's where explainer videos come in. Explainer videos are marketing tools used to explain how a company's product or service can help a customer solve one or more problems. To get a successful beat project, we need to balance the content and the form we will use to convey that content. In this course, we will focus on the content, the script. An explainer video script is a message we are going to tell through a voice-over. Just as a building sustain itself and achieves stability through its foundation, a successful explainer videos stands based on a well structured script. It requires dedication and ability to make it attractive, engaging, and memorable. I will show you how we can make it. See you in the next lesson.` 3. The Video Length: Hello everybody. In this lesson, we're going to talk about the length of the script. Knowing the length of the video will help us to set limits when writing the script. Usually, this point is defined with the customer before starting the project. Still, sometimes it can vary during the writing process. Now, how can we define the video length? Based on our experience, the ideal length is between 60 and 90 seconds. This is time enough to explain the key messages, keep the audience entertained, and encourage them to take action. But everything depends on different factors, such as the content complexity, the target audience, the distribution channel, and overall context. For example, let's suppose that you are looking for nutrition supplement products online. You find a video on a nutrition website. If the video takes too long to give you the information you need, you will be gone. You will be comparing different websites and your time is limited. But if you go specifically to a conference about supplement nutrition products, you already got previous interests and you will be predisposed to invest more time even if the video is 5-10 minutes long. So make sure you know all these key factors to determine the video length. In our studio, we have also calculated the number of words based on the length of the video. For English projects, we have calculated that for 60 seconds it will be 150 words, and making a rule of three, 90 seconds will be equal to 225 words. These number of words is ideal for the voice-over to go at a normal and natural rhythm, not too fast, not too slow. However, these values may vary depending on the language, and even on the voice-over professional. Guys, let's move on. In the next lesson, we will talk about the briefing, a very important document to know which direction to take when writing our script. 4. The Briefing: The briefing is an formative document that help us to know that project in a deeper way. In addition to giving us a direction to follow during the writing process, the briefing is also useful for the entire video production team. To make it simple, we always give our customers a briefing form with the most important questions. Customers should fill up all these questions as they have the information on the product or the service that we will explain. In projects and resources, you have a briefing template with all these questions, so you use it and modify it according to your own needs. You can use tools that make it easy for you to create forms, share them, and collect the answers, such as PDFelement, PDFescape, and Acrobat DC from Adobe, or you can prepare the form in Word format, whatever is easier for you. We can divide the form into three levels: company, audience, and content. In the next lesson, we will talk about what kind of information we can request at the company level. See you there. 5. The Briefing: Company: Hi there. In this part of the briefing, our goal is to collect information to better understand our customer. Who is your customer? What do they need? What do they offer? Let's look at some questions. What does the company do? What products or services do they offer? What product or service will we explain in this video? Is it a new product or service? Why does the company need an explainer video? This is a key question. The answer will help us figure out our customer problem and the expectations they have regarding our work. What goal does the company want to achieve with this video? Who are their main competitors? You will find companies with different product lines and sometimes, they want to explain all in the video, not focusing on a specific solution. This is counter-productive. Don't bite off more than you can chew. It is better to focus on one product or service and then launch more campaigns for the other divisions. Okay, guys. In the next lesson, we will talk about how we can get to know the audience. Don't miss it. 6. The Briefing: Audience: Hello, class. In this lesson, we will talk about the audience. Knowing our customer's audience helps us understand who they are and what they want. It can also help us define the tone, style, and vocabulary we are going to use when writing the script. One of the mistakes many companies make is thinking that a customer is interested in hearing about how great they are or how many awards they have won. But the truth is that the customer wants to know what you offer to them, if it solves or not their problems and needs. Think about this; the customer is the hero of the story, not the brand. The brand must position itself as a guide with the necessary skills to help the customers achieve their goals. Another common mistake is to speak to two different audiences in the same video. For example, a company launches a learning platform. It has two types of target audiences: teachers and students. They come to you and tell you they want to make a video talking about the benefits and features that the platform has for both groups. Is this possible? Yes, of course, but it's not recommended at all. The message will not be clear. It can be confusing and the project can be extended more than it should. It is better to do things right and make you beat your aims at each audience to generate content engagement and clarity. Again, don't bite off more than you can chew. Let's see some audience questions. What are the audience characteristics? What do they look like? Their age? Where they live? Where do they work? How do they dress? What interests do they have? What external problems or needs do they have? What internal problems or needs do they have? How do your services or products solve these problems? Where are you taking the customer in case of hiring your services or products? Just quick information here. Determining the customers' external, internal and philosophical problems will help us create a more accurate customer image in the story. The external problem is usually a physical conflict. Easy to identify. For example, let's say that Mary needs to cut her dog's hair. If you have a dog groomer business, you solve her external problem since you offer this service. On the contrary, internal problems go a little further. They are associated with frustrations, fears, or desires related to customers' external problems. They are not so easy to identify. Following the same example, let's say that Mary hates when an appointment time is not respected and she has to wait too long. If your company is out of control with appointments, Mary will not be a loyal customer to your business because even if you solve her external problem, you do not solve her internal problem. That is also a common mistake many companies make. They focus only in the external problem of the customer. However, people buy solutions to their internal problems. On the other hand, we have philosophical problems. They are much deeper than the previous two. Philosophical problems are associated with an ethical and moral perspective. It is that many people care to participate in stories that have a deeper meaning. Please also include this question, can the service or product help the audience eliminate a problem that should not exist from an ethical perspective? Suppose Mary cares a lot about the environment and your business promotes that you only use eco-friendly products. In that case, you will connect in an even deeper way with Mary. Now that we know the target audience, it's time to talk about contents. See you in the next lesson. 7. The Briefing: Content: Hi there. In this lesson, we will see which questions will help us to collect information to generate content. Content questions help us figure out a company's key messages and turn them into relevant and valuable content. Great content can take customers from seeing a simple message to feeling identified with the brand and start a journey. Let's look at some questions. What benefits does the product or service offer? How does it work? Why is your brand the best solution on the market? How are you different? What are the main ideas that you want to convey? What messages should the viewer keep after watching the video? What action do you want the viewer to take after watching video? In addition to this questions, you can ask the costumer for any material that can give you more information about the product or service, such as PowerPoints. Remember that in projects and resources, you have a briefing templates with all the questions we have seen in lesson 5, 6, and 7. In the next lesson, we will talk about voice and tone. See you there. 8. The Voice and Tone: Hello everybody, welcome to this class. Every brand needs to define a voice and tone guy to achieve consistency in all its communications. Web pages, social networks, presentations, no matter who is writing. As script writers, having the company's voice and tone guy would help us follow the same communication line that the company has its marketing strategy. We can define the brand's voice as its personality, and the tone is how it is expressed according to who it is address and in what situation. Let's see an example. The voice: Every day, John goes to a coffee bar for breakfast. They always serve him with kindness and joy. If suddenly one day they treat him unpleasantly, what will happen? I will say John will be shocked. Like what just happened. Employee behavior is inconsistent [inaudible] and the coffee bar can lose John as a costumer forever. The tone, on the other hand, fits the situation. Continuing with the same example, John comes to the coffee bar one day and Tom, one of the employees, serve him, very happy as always. However, when drinking that coffee, John realizes that they have made a mistake with his order and he was getting late to his office. Tom's tone will suit the situation. His cheerful tone will change to a more neutral tone and he can answer something like," I'm very sorry, John. I'll change your order right away. We will invite you a coffee tomorrow." The Shopify platform has these two aspects very well-defined. At the Voice's aspect, they say they want to be real but not too tough or overly familiar. Be proactive, but not needy or pushy. Be dynamic, but not too scattered or impulsive. Guide, but don't handhold or prescribe. As you can see, all these aspects define the brand personality. Regarding the tone, they say that their tone adapts to the context and the situation. They have a guide with examples according to the context. I don't want to go too deep on these as this is a whole world. You can take a look to their guide, following the link you are seeing on the screen. However, it is common to find costumers who do not have a defined voice and tone. In that case, we can identify with the costumer, the tone they want us to follow in the script, considering the audience, and the needs, the purpose of the video, and the nature of the message. For example, you're writing a script to explain a new game app aimed at an audience between 12 and 20 years old to attract subscribers. Do you think that if we use a formal and corporate tone it will work? Will our audience be reflected? The answer is obviously no. This video is aimed at young people. We have to sound like them. They have to feel identified to be able to capture their attention. That is just what we will see in the next lesson, grabbing people's attention. Don't miss it. 9. Grabbing Attention: Hello, class. Grabbing people's attention is a big challenge. As a script writer, we need to create engaging and attractive content that grabs the audience attention from the beginning to the end of the video. But we have a powerful enemy, noise. The noise acts as a barrier between our message and the audience, so we need to defeat the noise caused by all the information we receive every day and the noise we can generate if the message is not clear and coherent. But don't worry, we can beat it. I want you to keep in mind what I'm going to tell you next. The primary function of the brain is to keep us alive. The brain is always processing, categorizing, and organizing the information we receive, prioritizing what help us survive. Everything else is discarded. Also, our brain likes to working automatic both to avoid burning a lot of galleries. This means that if we receive a very complicated message, our brains disconnects and discards. For these two reasons, we must focus our message on how the product or service will help the costumer to survive and prosper in a clear and easy-to-process way. When we talk about survival, we do not refer only to physiological needs such as eating or sleeping. It can be relational, emotional, or even spiritual. For example, as a script writer, you can help your customers make their message effective, to stand out from the competition, and have a more productive business. That is survival and prosperity. Dating apps help people establish relationships to generate an emotional connection, which is also survival instincts. A yoga center can help its costumers connect with their bodies and mind to establishing more spiritual connection and feel better about themselves. That is survival too, keep this on your mind. Now, we can move on to the next lesson. I will show you the structure we use for explainer videos. See you there. 10. The Structure: Now that we have all the information to start working on the project, it's time to talk about structure. Following a structure will serve as a roadmap to create an analyzed content. For expanded animated videos, the structure we use the most is the tree step structure. It is based on the following scheme: problem, solution and benefits, and the closure. Let's see how it works. The problem. Do you remember what we talked about survival? By talking about the audience's problems right at the start of the video, we are quickly capturing their attention and increasing their level of interest. If the audience feels represented in the story, they want to hear more about how you can help them survive and prosper. Let's look at some ideas for opening a script. Make one or more statements that show the audience wishes, and then ask one or more key questions related to the problem. I will give you an example. Travelling alone can be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. Do you like the idea, but you are afraid to take the step? Do you think it is dangerous? Another way is to speak directly about the problem. For example, the Internet has made life easier in many ways. However, the Internet also involves risks, to which we are all exposed, including our children. Extortion, identity theft, bullying, sexual harassment, are real and cause multiple psychological and physical disorders. Or we can start by introducing the character you have created in the image and likeness of the audience, to generate empathy, and then introduce the problem. For example, this is Miriam. She is an adventurous freelancer who wants to fulfill her dream, leave and work remotely on different Caribbean islands. However, sometimes the Internet connection doesn't work and ends up ruining all her plans. Miriam feels very frustrated. As you can see, in any of these examples, the brand is mentioned yet. It is about to focus on the problem of our hero, the customer. The way to open a script can depend on the bidder lens, the type of product or service, or even your customer wishes. Now, we are going to move on on the next step. The solution, benefits or the how. Once the problem is defined, it is the perfect time to introduce the brand and explain how the products or services will help solve the audience's problems. Remember, the costumer is the hero, and the brand is the guide, so focus on the benefits the audience will get. Show them what's your offer, and depending on the service or product, you can also explain how it works. But don't try to explain everything. Instead, identify the key messages that should be included in the video, and which ones can be omitted. We want the audience to understand the message, feel interested, and take a specific action. Also the brand must convince the audience that it has the necessary skills to help. We have to tell the audience why it is the best solution on the market. Remember, that many other companies are trying to solve the same problems out there. There are different effective ways to demonstrate these competencies. For example, by displaying the logos of the brands customers, or using a statistical number of satisfied costumers. So far we have identified the problems our costumers are facing. We have generated empathy, and we have told them why we are the best option and how we can help them. We only need to tell them what is at stake, and what actions we want them to take to start the journey with the brand. Here is when the closure comes in. By defining what is at stake, we tell the costumer what impact their decision to do or not, a business with the brand will cause. To do this we can ask ourselves, what does the brand help them avoid? For example, Carmen is looking for a dental clinic to get a dental implant. She has read the opinions of many people complaining about low quality dental implants, and their terrible consequences. She's afraid. If you have a dental clinic that offers dental implant services and you offer a quality guarantee, then you can say something like, don't waste time and money with low quality dental implants. Get a perfect smile at first, and with the best guarantees. We are telling Carmen what tragedy she can avoid, wasting time and money, and where we will take her, she will have the best guarantee that it will turn out well. Then it is time to close with a call to action. In Carmen's case, it may be to book an appointment, for example. In many other cases, it will be to buy a product or a service, subscribe to a newsletter or share the video on social networks. Just make sure the viewer is informed of what we expect them to do after watching the video. As you can see, it is a easy scheme to follow and can be applied in many cases. Okay, guys, in the next lesson, we will take action and put what we have learned into practice. 11. Analyzing a Script: Hello class. As I told you before in the previous lesson, we will start putting what we have learned into practice. I'm going to give you a real case of a customer called Rubbiz. Rubbiz is a collaborative and non-profits app created to fight against pollution. It is aimed at young people between 18 and 25 years old, with a pro-environmental behavior. Let's watch the video. There's so much rubbish left on our planet, that we don't even know the numbers anymore. What we do know is that it kills animals, leaks toxic waste, and frustrates many of us. So why is it still out there? Our governments may help as there's just too much. Why not start cleaning this mess ourselves? We created Rubbiz, an app that empowers you to clean up the planet by tagging Rubbiz. If you want to clean neighborhood, or to clean up your favorite jogging route, then start taking pictures of rubbish. How does this all work? The Rubbiz Foundation asked for a micro-payments for each picture of rubbish with a small funds, you help us to grow further. Next, the volunteers will clean up the mess using your lovely picture. While you become the hero of the cleanest neighborhood, we spread the word using your funds. Doesn't that sound like a great deal? There's more, with your money raised, Rubbiz will also work with the cities governments on cleaning programs for jobless. What are you waiting for? Get out and share some awful pictures with us. After watching the video, I want you to tell me if you can identify the three parts of this structure; the problem, the solution and the closure. Also, I would like to know if you can identify and analyze a script's external and internal problems. Do you think a philosophical problem is solved? In the next lesson, we will discuss this project together. I'm so excited to see your work. 12. Solution to the Task: Hi there. In this lesson, we will analyze together the Rubbiz project. Let us start by identifying the problem. There's so much rubbish left on our planet that we don't even know the numbers anymore. What we do know is that it kills animals, leaks toxic waste, and frustrates many of us. So why is it still out there? Our governments need help as there's just too much. From the second 6 to the second 24, we can identify the problem. Rubbish causes pollution, kills animals, leaks toxic waste, and the governments cannot solve it alone. So how do they solve these problems? So why not start cleaning this mess ourselves? We created Rubbiz, an app that empowers you to clean up the planet by typing rubbish. If you want a clean neighborhood or to clean up your favorite jogging route, then start taking pictures of rubbish. So how does this all work? The Rubbiz Foundation asks for a micropayment for each picture of rubbish. With the small funds, you help us to grow further. Next, the volunteers would clean up the mess using your lovely picture. So while you become the hero of the cleanest neighborhood, we spread the word using your funds. Doesn't that sound like a great deal? There's more. With your money raised, Rubbiz will also work with the cities' governments on cleaning programs for jobless. From the second 25, we get the solution. Rubbiz app empowers people to clean the planets by taking pictures of rubbish and typing it. From second 44, we get an explanation of how it works. They asked their Rubbiz community for a micropayment to clean the tagged rubbish. With the money collected, the Rubbiz Foundation hires volunteers to clean the mess, as simple as that. Also, the community held unemployed people to get the opportunity to work through the jobless government problem. Finally, we can appreciate a clean call-to-action at the end from minute 114. So what are you waiting for? Get out and share some awful pictures with us. They say, "So what are you waiting for?" Get out and share some awful pictures with us. Now, let's see if we can identify the external, internal, and philosophical problems of the audience. What will be the external problem in this story? Remember, external problems are the most surface problems usually related to our physical conflict. We can say rubbish causes pollution and affects us all. Rubbish is the bad guy. What will be the internal problem in the story? Remember, internal problems are related with the people frustrations, fears, or desires. Clearly, people are frustrated that no one is doing enough to stop pollution. So how does rubbish help its customers survive and prosper? Thanks to their Rubbiz app, people have the power to heal the planet. They become heroes. Also, the app allows people to be part of a community and be recognized for the excellent work. But there is even more. What about the philosophical problems? We could say human beings should preserve nature, respect, and help all leading beings on the planet. Also, they are helping unemployed people to have the opportunity to work with dignity. These claims magnify the story, make the reason for using this app even deeper. 13. Review and Self-Critique: Hi, class. Now it's time to talk about reviews. Reviews will help us clarify our message, detect improvements, and enhance our script. When you have finished writing your first draft of the script, take a breath and disconnect. Creativity comes from a free mind. When you are ready to retake the project, it is a good idea to review the briefing to reconnect with the project. Rewriting and tweaking this script is part of the process so don't be afraid to make those adjustments to make your script look great. Always keep one thing in mind; anything that doesn't add value to our script, no matter how nice it sounds, needs to go. During the revision process, you need to be sure to trim your text down to the essential. Keep your sentences short. To use up to 25 words in a sentence are recommended. Be coherent. Use exclamations carefully. Keep in mind that when doing the voice over, having many phrases with exclamations can make a voice over sound forced or childish. Avoid repetition, and try to write positively. Be self-critical of your work. Ask yourself questions like, "Am I getting to the point?" "Are the sentences too long?" "Am I using a proper vocabulary?" Another exercise that will help you enhance your script is to record and listen to yourself. It is a great way to tell if your voice over sounds natural. You may be surprised about how many mistakes you can find. In the next lesson, we will see how to send a proposal to our customers. See you there. 14. Sending the Script Proposal: Once we have the script ready, it is time to send it to the customer. A very simple way to send your proposal is via e-mail in Word format. However, you can also work in Google Docs and work on the document in the Cloud. Or, you can use proofing softwares such as Ziflow, which allows customers to review and approve creative content online. In addition to the attached script, we also include two important points: the number of words that should not be exceeded to maintain the contracted duration if the customer wants to make changes on the script and a summary of why the script has been designed in that way. As script writers, we need to advise and educate the customer on what works and why, but the customer decides. Many of our videos do not follow a good structure because either the costumer passes the script to us, or modify it and don't want to change it. However, this is normal. Don't feel frustrated or take it personally. Suppose that a customer made changes that don't add value, and on the contrary, creates noise in the communication, in that case, you just need to defend your proposal with arguments, and remind them what is at stake. 15. Final Project: Hi there. The time to start writing has come. I have prepared a briefing of a fictitious real estate company that has hired your script writing services. We have used a course's briefing template and filled up all the equations as a real customer should. With this information, you need to create a script proposal based on what you have seen in the course. When you are ready, please upload your proposal to the projects and resources gallery to review with and give you our feedback. You will do great. I'm so looking forward to seeing your proposal. Have fun. 16. Final Thoughts: Congratulations. You have completed the course. I hope you find it beneficial to your professional practice. If you're also interested in animation, I invite you to go through my profile to find our animation courses. If you liked the course, please leave me a review to continue contributing to this community. I hope seeing you in future courses. Thank you.