I recently worked with the very lovely Orman Clark to create the new Dunked explainer video. My job was to script the voiceover and it turned out just lovely.
Creating a great explainer video can be a tough exercise. There’s some great ones out there (Bigcartel for one) but there’s also some overly-wordy, feature-heavy attempts. Want to produce a succinct, characterful explainer script? Here’s a few tips.
Define your ethos words.
An explainer video isn’t just about selling the ease of use or relevance of a service. It’s just as much about creating a deeper philosophy and character. Select some keywords that represent the brand and its vision - creativity, inspiration, community, passion etc. Use these words to sculpt the tone and feel as well as the narrative points.
Keep it short and simple.
A good explainer video ensures that imagery and explanation compliment each other in an engaging, useful way. Don’t be afraid of pauses and be sure to pace yourself at around 120 words per minute max. Get your main message in there early, around the 30 sec mark.
Think story and benefits, not features and strict structure.
Of course you need to present the problem, offer a solution and establish a CTA but it doesn’t need to be so stale and uniform. What’s the story behind your product or company? What tone and style best tells it? What can people relate to and make their own? The How is important in an explainer video but you don’t need to run over a list of steps or reasons. Get more conceptual and create a culture around what you’re presenting. By establishing the Why, the How will become more human and defined.
Be sure to read your script out loud. It needs to sound natural to be easy to follow and effective. When I create explainer scripts I draft up two formats - a flow draft (just the script in prose form) and a timed draft (script structured to the second/minute of the film). This means I can make sure I’m hitting both the functional and emotional points of the video.
Tone is king.
This keeps consistency and clarity at the top of the list. Take time to develop a tone for the video. Don’t take research you have to hand as gospel, embark on your own digging and really get to grips with how an audience identifies with the bigger brand. Tone can be the most memorable and effective tool you have in creating an explainer video so don’t just adopt what others have.
Connection is about clarity, directness and character. A good explainer video should embody all three.