How to Write an Animation Script in 7 Simple Steps
19 June, 2019

How to Write an Animation Script in 7 Simple Steps

Confident that you know how to write an animation script? When done properly, animation is an effective, visually pleasing way to express your organization’s ideas. But without a good script, your animation video is bound to fall flat. 

No matter how good you are at animation, if you cannot write a script that is interesting and makes sense, you will not succeed. Think of it this way: you might design an utterly remarkable book cover, book covers alone will not compensate for poor storytelling. A lot of organizations fail to appreciate how important an animation script is. 

The Importance of a Good Animation Script

An animation script is a common method for putting together explainer videos. In fact, there is even scientific evidence to back this up. According to Allan Paivio’s Dual-Coding Theory, the brain processes audio and visuals separately. Thus, when these two components are presented at the same time - for instance, animation and a voice over - the audience is able to process the information more quickly and in an easier fashion. 

Writing a winning animation script makes all the difference because it brings the audio and visuals together. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations do not know how to write an animation script that helps them achieve their goals. 

Writing an Animation Script is Challenging

It is already difficult enough to explain a complex or detailed idea. So when you also consider the need to extract the essential meaning, tell a story that captivates the audience, and finishes strong - all in a concise manner - it can practically seem impossible. This certainly explains why the majority of animation videos are so lousy. 

The reason such organizations do not know how to write an animation script is because they lack knowledge about the crucial steps. Fortunately, our article can break down all of the important steps for creating an animation script. So whether you are starting from scratch or need to improve upon the script you are working on, check out these tips. 

Keys to Writing an Animation Script 

There are two things to keep in mind when writing an animation script: the narrative itself and your approach to telling it. Without a story, the animation serves no purpose, so getting it right is essential. Here is what you do.

  1. Ask yourself, ‘What Story am I trying to tell?’

Some of the major reasons why animated explainer videos fail have to do with a lack of focus, a convoluted message, or they wait until the very end to get to the point. It can get so distracting that such organizations would be better off not creating animated explainer videos in the first place. Do not find yourself making the same mistakes. Create a story that is clear and to the point. 

Animation-based explainer videos typically achieve one of two goals: to solve problems or explain a process. Either one must be done carefully. By remembering to adhere to these narrative formats, your animation script will look its best. 

  • Problem-Solution: You need to be able to convey to consumers that they have problems or inconveniences in their lives that your organization can help solve. Explain the problem, making sure that the audience can relate to it, and through the narrative arc, you will seamlessly introduce the solution. Keep in mind that once you have established the problem, it is time to move on to the solution. You want the audience to focus on how they can overcome it rather than going on and on about how annoying the problem itself is.
  • Process Overview: If the purpose of your animated video is to explain what your organization provides or how to use the product, this is a good strategy. Create an outline of your story and move from point to point in a clean and efficient manner.

Do not worry if your animated video does not fit into either category. The bottom line is still the same: hook the audience and give them an incentive to see the video through the end. Keep these points in mind as well:

  • Your message should demonstrate confidence. The audience needs to feel that you can be trusted.
  • Anticipate what the viewer might ask. Every important potential question should be addressed and answered in the video.
  1. Extract the most important aspects

How can you break things down in a way that the audience will best understand the information? It is simple - explain it to them as if they were a child. Do not overwhelm them with technical details. Use language that is simple and show plenty of enthusiasm - just like you would with a kindergartener. The fact that your audience might be highly educated is not relevant; the point is that you want to deliver the information in a way that is succinct. 

Of course, this does not mean you have to be condescending or patronizing. Ultimately, the audience should find the explainer video animation script to be engaging, interesting and easy to comprehend. Also be aware that you do not want the video to run too long. Keeping it relatively short demonstrates to the audience that you respect their time. 

  1. Keep the narrative relevant to the audience

Your organization might have something impressive to offer, but it does not mean you need to boast about the underlying processes that allow you to succeed. The audience is more interested in knowing how your product or service will help them solve their problem or achieve their objectives. By focusing on what is most relevant to the viewer, you stand a better chance of getting and keeping their attention. 

  1. Make it emotional

An effective way to get your message across is by appealing to the audience’s emotions, especially from the start. Perhaps your aim is to amuse them or tug at their heartstrings. Either way, if your audience responds in an emotional way, it means they find the story to be engaging. 

You do not even have to be a literary genius to write an animated script that achieves your goals. All that you need to possess is the ability to tell a worthwhile story. As you go about your writing, think carefully about what anecdotes you might want to incorporate into the story. Also consider the language, tone, and even statistics that help create a persuasive message. Of course, ensure that the emotion you want to elicit is appropriate for the subject.

  1. Keep it short and sweet

When it comes to writing an animation video script, keeping it concise is crucial. Videos of this nature lose impact the longer than are. As a rule, keep it under 3 minutes. Here is how to achieve this:

Focus on word count. 130-150 words per minute is enough to maintain a good pace.

Pace yourself. You would obviously want to read the animation script out loud in order to make sure that you are within the time limit, but do so at a deliberate pace. As the author of the script who knows the content, you will be inclined to read it more quickly than somebody who is not as familiar with it.

  1. Adjust for voice over

Even if you are able to craft a perfect article or novel, you might not realize that an animation script is something else entirely. In this respect, you make sure to keep the words simple. The professionals who will serve as the voice over are good at their jobs, but just a few clumsy words or rhyme can disrupt the flow of the story.

  1. Focus on the showing, not the Tell

This suggestion ought to be self-evident, whether you are in kindergarten or a polished writer. Why try to explain something when your animation can show it? In fact, research has found that our brains are able to process videos a whopping 60,000 faster than text! Not all of your script has to be dialogue, after all. Vivid visuals really do the trick.

Final Notes on Writing an Animation Script

If you have read this article carefully, you are now in a better position to write a fantastic animation script. But before we end this, let us take a look at some final thoughts. 

  • Choose the animation carefully. Using animation for your explainer video can be a highly effective medium, but it does not mean you have to make it irritating or “cartoony.” In other words, you do not need an animated mouse to explain things to the audience. Stick to human characters unless somehow an octopus presenter makes sense within the context.
  • Do not forget to edit. You might love everything you have written, but for the purposes of being concise, it is necessary to put some of the sentences on the chopping block. You should also make sure that the tone is appropriate and that the narrative flows smoothly.
  • Show the audience that you know your stuff. The audience is clicking on your video for a reason. They want to know more about a product or service. Show them that you are knowledgeable point by point and that they should choose to do business with your organization.
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