Yes, You Need A Video Script. Here’s Why.18 min read

by Feb 20, 2024Video

Over the shoulder view of camera man on a video shoot

To the inexperienced, the idea of scripting a video production may seem incredibly complicated. Some may find the process overwhelming, while others may feel that scripting is overkill. In reality, scripting is a useful and necessary part of video production which helps the endeavor go predictably and smoothly.

Why Script?

Scripting is a multi-step process necessary for most video productions. It allows our production team to hone in on central themes and to make sure all necessary elements and resources are accounted for in each step of the process. The first step we take in the scripting process is listening to your needs to discern what you hope to achieve with your video project. We discuss your budget, tone of the video, and suggest different ways we can approach the subject matter. Once we determine an initial ballpark budget and decide on the general approach, our creative team begins working on a treatment.

The Treatment

A treatment is like a creative brief and outlines the general premise of your video in a short story format. We’ll convey the major beats of the story in a way that is easy to understand without getting too deep into specifics. For some productions, we only write one treatment, which may go through a few edits until our two teams arrive at a consensus. For larger productions, we may create multiple treatments so you can choose one that fits your vision. Treatments may be accompanied by a mood board—a curated collection of existing images presented as a poster—meant to convey the creative direction and tone of the video as suggested by our creative team. Once the treatment is approved, our creative team can begin working on the script.

The Script

Perhaps the most important part of planning a video production, the script is the glue that holds together everything from pre-production planning to the final edit. Far from just words to be spoken, the script describes every major aspect of every scene, including time of day, location, lighting, camera moves and lens selections, wardrobe, and talent instructions. For interviews and documentary-style videos the script may be more of an outline, providing speaking prompts and general expectations for image capture. For narrative work, every word, action, and setting should be accounted for.

We begin most scripts with an outline, which takes the ideas from the treatment and fleshes them out to create a structure for the script. The vast majority of scripts follow a three-part structure, where we introduce the characters, introduce a problem, and then find the solution to that problem. We’ll then add minor plot points and basic details about characters and locations. When you approve our outline, it’s time to move on to the rough draft.

The rough draft is where the creative process of scripting really begins to shine. We’ll write dialogue for characters, add fine details to scenes, and reference ideas for audio and visual effects. Basic technical notes for camera, lighting, and blocking may also be introduced. This stage of script development may undergo multiple revisions, including adding or removing dialogue, scenes, or even full subplots. As we revise each draft, a more polished and refined script will emerge, until a final draft is written and approved.


Some of our productions involve a process known as storyboarding, which is a way of visually representing what we aim to capture on camera through illustrations. A storyboard looks similar to a comic strip, with each shot represented as a panel in the strip. Storyboarding is an excellent way for us to communicate to our clients exactly what we wish to achieve during a video shoot or animated project, and also assists the director and crew in deciding how each shot should be blocked and framed and if any motion will occur during the shot. Storyboarding tends to be reserved for larger, more technical productions where knowing how each shot should look can help with keeping the shoot on schedule or placing special effects, but it can be useful on smaller projects as well.

Some larger productions also require a shooting script. This is generally created by our director or assistant director and is a way of breaking the script up into shoot dates and locations while also accounting for how long each shot will take to capture. The story elements are often rearranged and may appear out of order so that all scenes in a particular location may be shot on the same day. For instance, perhaps the script uses a campfire scene as a bookend for a larger story taking place elsewhere. The shooting script would allow for all campfire scenes to be shot on the same day, regardless of where they appear in the final edit. The shooting script also includes in-depth notes about blocking, audio capture, props, and necessary crew for each scene.

In post production, the script serves as our template for assembling the final video. During production, we meticulously track every scene, take, and camera so that it may be reconstructed in the correct order during the editing process. Our editor is responsible for combining the shots and timing the cuts so that they play back in a manner that is revelatory to the viewer. The emotional heft of a scene is often found in the edit as music, sound effects, and color grading are applied, all of which may be referenced in the script.

Create Compelling Videos with DVS

It is understandable that this process may seem daunting. A lot of thought, creativity, and logistical planning are required to execute a successful video production, and this is precisely why the scripting process is so important. Our careful scripting leaves very little to chance and allows for a smooth production where each participant knows what is expected of them and when it is expected. It is important to note that not every production will require every step detailed above. Some will require a lean scripting process, while others will need a more robust approach. In either case, DVS has the experience to lead the way while valuing and incorporating your input. We’re also pretty darn good at the rest of the production workflow. From concept to completion, you can trust DVS for all of your video production needs! Let us know when you’re ready to get started!