How to Write an Explainer Video Script

Your script is the creative blueprint of your video. A good explainer video script is about more than just the spoken audio, it should describe the visuals too and give some information about the visual concept.

… and that is the reason why:

Animators love a good script. A video with a good script will literally look better.

Here at Piehole.TV we take scripting very seriously. Our founder Priscilla is from an ad agency background, winning many awards for her TV and radio ads. You can also find her online as “Priscilla G” in places like Videobrewery and Quora.

Priscilla G from Piehole.TV videobrewery quora


The Structure of a Good Explainer Video Script

Those who spout “best practice” will often recommend the below structure. It’s a very useful starting point but you don’t have to follow it to the letter. We think it’s good to allow some creative freedom. Below are some steps to follow, as a guide:

  1. The Problem: State the problem that exists in the market [for a 60-sec video, aim for 30 words or less here].
  2. The Solution: Introduce your product [10-15 words].
  3. How it Works: Explain your product. Use only “need-to-know” info [30-50 words].
  4. Call to Action: Reel ’em in. And slap on some credibility and social proof.[10-20 words]

It’s possible to be very creative within that basic structure. But like we say, it’s just one approach. For more ideas see our article with 13 explainer video script ideas.


Video Concept

A good script will often have a good concept. Your scriptwriter’s creative credentials are super important here. An experienced writer will have a memory bank of ideas to draw from. That’s partly because good writers do this weird thing where they watch TV and Youtube adverts for entertainment. During the scripting process, your writer will brainstorm ideas, sometimes in conjunction with an animator or designer.

To explain what we mean by a video’s concept, check out the below video. Here the concept was to use a series of simple statements to drive the visuals as they morph from one image into the next. That meant that the script needed to be written in a specific way, i.e. it needed to have short statements where each one flowed into the next one. If there was too much information to get across, such as a lot of product features, then this style would not have worked.


To come up with ideas it can help to look at other videos, e.g. see our list of explainer video examples.


Writing Visuals

A lot of copywriters may be experienced with other forms of writing but slip up with video due to the visuals. As mentioned above, having an idea for a concept can help. Here are a few tips.

  1. Keep the visuals simple. You don’t have Pixar’s budget! By making your animator’s life easy you give them more time to perfect your video. You should keep the number of animated characters/people to a minimum and try not to rely on complex visuals, e.g. it’s better to let stuff happen to your characters rather than having them do stuff.
  2. Don’t be a control freak. Designers are paid to be creative, so give them some space.
  3. Add visual variety. You can’t rely on the animator to make a dull script interesting, you need to set them up for success. We have seen good videos reduced to average videos because the CEO/whoever insists on cutting any bit of visual interest out of the script (usually to jam in more product features!)
  4. Voiceover should match the visuals. Don’t have the voiceover saying A, while the visuals are doing B. It just doesn’t work and you’ll end up making all sorts of expensive animation edits while you try to figure out why your video isn’t working.
  5. Match timings. Don’t script in a lot of visuals for a short spoken portion or vice versa. It might seem ok during scripting but it just ends up being awkward.

When writing your explainer video script, take a good hard look at each of your scenes with regard to especially the last two points above.


What’s the best length for an Explainer Video?

Keep it short, ok? People prefer watching shorter videos and they’re also cheaper for you to make. Animation is time-consuming and extra duration means extra budget. Would you rather be paying for creative time to make your video (1) longer or (2) more awesome? But different types of videos will have different durations, depending on the goal. A tutorial for example is usually longer than a promotional video. You can use our explainer video script timer to estimate the duration of your script.

That concludes our little post about the all-important explainer video script. Get in touch now to discuss yours… just click one of our little buttons.