I was trying to explain to a client a while ago about why the script was written the way it was and they couldn’t grasp the fact that they just couldn’t fit 140 words into a 30 seconds… So I wrote a blog post about this subject and put it up on my day job’s Blog For Clients site – if you haven’t seen that then here it is below in its original form:
Before you make any changes to that script I sent through – lets look at how to read it so that it makes sense.
First of all – Check the duration of the script – so you know that what I have written is specifically for 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 60 seconds, or 10 seconds – this is fixed, no matter what we do – we can’t go past this duration.
Next – check the production notes section of the script. Does it say a ‘hard sell style read’ or ‘friendly conversational style’ or other such notes, such as setting or feel?
If it says ‘hard sell’ then that is what style read we are after from the voice artist – hard sell reads are usually anything over 82 words – and are done in the style of a ‘shouty commercial’ whereas a ‘friendly conversational’ style read is slower, and usually under 80 words – normally about 75.
And before we get to the script – remember that if we are mentioning prices, phone numbers, website addresses and physical bricks and mortar addresses, then they will all be spelt out – such as 9581 2666 = “nine five eight one, two triple six” or $23,990 = “Twenty-three; nine; ninety” OR “www.mybusinessname.com.au” is “My Business Name dot com dot a-u” or finally 2/13 Any Blank Street = “Unit 2, thirteen, Any Blank Street, Suburb”. All of which costs us words in our word count.
Now: On the LEFT hand side of the script are notes for the production of the script – such as voice (MALE or FEMALE or CHILD, etc) plus music stops and starts, reverb and other SFX (sound effects) notes – you can ignore these as you are reading the script.
Got all of that? Right!
Now it’s time to read the script…
I recommend you ask someone to read the script to you – out loud – so you get a feeling of what it might sound like when produced… this gives you a better guide than reading in your head, and also allows you to run a stopwatch if you want so you can see how things are timing out. If you don’t have someone to do this – ask me – I will grab my desktop microphone and read it and send you an audio file so you can get a rough idea – remember that I am a desk jockey – not a professional voice artist – but I will give it my best shot.
Okay… have them read the script – just listen to the message – is the core details correct?
ie: details, prices, names, addresses, website, etc… make sure that all of this is correct first before you make any other changes.
Next, have them read it to you again, this time you are listening to the message – is that one ‘thing’ that you want – getting across? Is there too much detail? Too little? Does it connect with you and make you say ‘I want to know more?’ OR are you confused by the message?
Now is the time to scribble notes and make changes – try not to go over the word count that I have already given you in the script – if you do it could require a complete re-write (we have had clients add 50+ words to an 87 word script – it just can’t be done in 30 seconds – so keep to the word count, even if that means cutting words).
Next send the changes back to me and we will make those and send the script back again.
We keep on doing this until you are happy with what you will get.
If we are all good to go – then you just need to sign off on the script – and we can then send it off to be voiced – usually this happens within 10-30 minutes of you sending your approval through – so if there are any changes after that – let us know as quick as you can, otherwise you may be charged another production fee to cover the re-recording and studio time of the voice artist over east.
Then when we get the voice back, our producer puts it together with music and sound effects and we send you a copy before it goes to air.
So that’s it – that’s how to read a script…. If you have any questions – please post them below and I will answer them as soon as I can.