The Art of Writing Great Voiceover Scripts
Updated: Apr 14
Guest Post by Bridgette Hernandez
We often overlook the significance of voiceover in whichever medium we consume. Video games, animated movies, online ads, as well as audiobooks all rely on voiceover to relay their content to us. Recently, the voiceover industry has started to seep into the corporate sector due to COVID-19 regulations and social distancing, preventing traditional studio work.
According to Adobe, 91% of brands already actively invest in voiceover creation for their customer servicing and content marketing on the global market. Additionally, 71% of them stated that voices genuinely improve the user’s experience of their online platforms, ads, or services in general.
However, in order to take full advantage of VO, writing a great voiceover script is pivotal. With AI platforms such as LOVO available for voiceover and text-to-speech, writing a proper script becomes even more important. Whether you simply want to edit and plug in an existing script into LOVO or are starting from scratch, let’s discuss voiceover scriptwriting.
Tips to Writing Great Voiceover Scripts
1. Outline your Script
The best way to get ahead with your scriptwriting and give it a good direction is to start with an outline. A voiceover script outline can take many shapes, depending on your sensibilities. You can create hand drawn storyboards, outline your script like an essay, or describe each scene and conversation without the actual lines present.
It’s also a good idea to time-limit your VO script to get a good sense of how long the final product will be. This is an important first step in voiceover scriptwriting since it will focus your work and give it a purpose. Without an outline, you can spend a lot of time editing, revising, and outright abandoning certain ideas due to them being invalid with your vision.
2. Rely on Short, Informative Sentences
Every sentence you write for your voiceover script should have a meaning behind it. Avoid writing sentences which serve as fluff and don’t offer tangible information to the listener. It’s worth mentioning that there is a clear distinction between narrative and conversational VO scripts in relation to sentence length.
Narrative VO scripts typically serve to enrich multimedia content meant for advertisement or YouTube tutorials with animated visuals. However, conversational voiceover scripts are mostly found in indie films, animated movies, and other forms of media where two or more individuals speak. A shorter sentence structure with more pauses will make your script easier to reproduce, especially through an AI platform, as well as easier to listen.
3. Provide Clear Direction
It’s not enough to simply write dialogue or a narrative voiceover script and hand it to a voiceover artist or AI algorithm. Similar to traditional film scripts, your voiceover script should include as much direction and contextual information as possible.
Start with simple annunciations of emotions, tone of voice, and state of being for every voice line. Is the character sad, happy, horrified, excited, or melancholic? What is their state of mind – are they tired, agitated, worried, or nervous? These elements are pivotal for quality voiceover line delivery, and they will make your script stand out that much more. You can go a step further and start every conversational scenario with a brief summary of the current location, weather, and time of day. These elements can also affect the voice actor and enrich the final product, giving it a sense of life and genuine artistic integrity beyond writing.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Silence
While it may seem counterintuitive at first, silence is an important part of artistic voice acting. A dramatic pause can improve your scriptwriting significantly and add certain flair to the final product. You can name characters and leave them “speechless” to emphasize their shock or thinking about what occurred previously.
Likewise, a dramatic pause can be used as a collective reaction of all present characters to a joke, a tragic event, or other unordinary events. A pause will also help the listener sigh a breath of relief and “rest” for a few seconds before the voiceover continues. Don’t be afraid of taking a proverbial break, and the script will be much stronger for it.
5. Give your Listeners a Call to Action
Lastly, you want your audience to react to the voiceover script in some capacity, depending on its content. Integrating a call to action into scriptwriting is simple when you write voiceover for an online ad or YouTube video. What about a film or an audiobook? This is where artistic expression comes into play. Different movies, books, and video games carry messages which can resonate with the active participant. These are referred to as themes.
You can make the theme of your story revolve around “courage” and “friendship”, giving the listener an opportunity to identify with these calls to action. Never write voiceover scripts which don’t carry a long-term message or call the listener to a certain action. They are a wasted opportunity to convey a personal message to the listener and will often be forgotten as soon as they finish.
Benefits of Using AI with Voice-Over Scripts
Now that we have a clearer idea of how you can write a great script let’s switch gears and discuss AI’s role in voiceover. Artificial intelligence algorithms have come a long way since their inception. We have witnessed technologies such as chatbots and eCommerce personalization make life easier for people across the globe. The same can be said of the voiceover industry and AI’s place in it.
Richard Ernst, Content Creator and Editor at Trust My Paper, said that: “Creators should use every tool at their disposal to make the process from inception to publishing as smooth as possible. Given the plethora of options in regards to AI’s implementation in voiceover, it is a logical next step for filmmakers and marketers alike.”
If we were to break down the concrete advantages of implementing an AI voiceover platform such as LOVO in your creative process, they would include:
● Faster and more affordable voiceover content creation
● Numerous voice post-processing and editing capabilities
● Cloning possibilities with existing voiceover recordings
● Multilingual dubbing possibilities
Whether you work on a film or a series of content pieces for online marketing, make sure that your voiceover scripts are your own. Write from your heart and make them original to stand out as much as possible.
When it comes to practical implementation, leveraging AI technologies against real-world voice actors is a no-brainer, especially with COVID-19 making studio work nigh impossible. Whichever path you choose to take, writing a great voiceover script is a good first step in making sure that your ideas find their audience.
Image source: https://unsplash.com/photos/5fNmWej4tAA
Bridgette Hernandez is a Master in Anthropology who is interested in writing and is planning to publish her own book in the near future. Now she is a content editor at TrustMyPaper. Brid also works with professional writing companies such as BestEssayEducation. The texts she writes are always informative, based on qualitative research but nevertheless pleasant to read.