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How to Write A Video Script

A video is worth a million words these days, but the time we have to convey those words is only getting shorter. Cramming everything you want to convey into a single video is tricky when the typical Reel length is 7-15 seconds. That, my friend, is why we video script.

Think about it. When you have 7 precious seconds to share an idea, promote a product, or leave an impression, you don’t have time to waste precious milliseconds on likes and ums. Outlining is key to getting the most out of your short-form video efforts on Reels, TikTok, Pinterest, and YouTube Shorts. 

You need a hook, a beginning, a middle, and an end– no wiggle room for filler content here. Video scripts are great because they leave nothing to chance. When you plan your talking points in advance, you know exactly what to say to get the job done. 

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How to Use Video Scripts with Time Limits

To start, here are the current video length limitations on the most popular short-form video platforms:

  • Reels can be up to 90 seconds long. 
  • TikTok recently extended its time limit from 3 minutes to 10 minutes (originally, it was only 15 seconds).
  • Pinterest’s Idea Pins (short video clips in a story-like sequence) can be up to 60 seconds in length. 
  • YouTube Shorts can also be up to 60 seconds long.

While Instagram and TikTok have extended their video lengths, shorter videos are still performing best. The optimal length is about 21 to 34 seconds for TikTok and 7 to 15 seconds for Reels. 

When you film on TikTok and Instagram, you choose specific time limits for each of your clips. For example, you have 15 seconds to film your first clip. In those 15 seconds, you have to squeeze in a hook strong enough to keep viewers from scrolling, as well as the key call-to-action (CTA).  A CTA is what you want your audience to take away from this video and do next - sign up for your newsletter, buy a product or maybe even follow you on a social channel. 15 seconds might seem like plenty, but time flies once you hit the record button. 

How to Choose Video Length

If you think that’s hard, try filming your entire video in 15 seconds. After all, that’s the longer end of the typical Reel length. 15-second videos are ideal for adapting popular trends, using popular audio, or videos featuring a branded joke or meme. Your explainer videos and tutorials might need a few more seconds. You’ll figure this out once you start scripting. 

Know Your Audience

When writing your video scripts, you also need to keep your audience in mind. TikTok and Reels might seem like carbon copies, but they each have their own vibe. 

TikTok is where Gen Z’s irreverent, edgy humor calls home. These videos are naturally short. Reels, on the other hand, is a hotspot for small business owners and creators to post stylized, educational video content. Covering a concept in depth might require more time than a simple meme video, making these a little longer.

Why Use Video Scripts

Video content idea management has gotten a lot more complicated in recent years. Video is now the star of the social media show, which means churning out more videos in less time. It’s hard to be thorough and concise about one topic with ten others swirling around in your head. 

The solution? Give all your ideas a home by writing them down, either as a video script or a series of talking points. 

PLANOLY Pro Tip: You can also try our new Ideas Manager to save a TikTok audio or video URL that inspires you. Plus, add a note to refer back to when you’re ready to film.

Video scripts take your content to the next level by ensuring every second you film is completely intentional. No dead space, no filler words– just your message in its entirety. You won’t forget what you wanted to say or let any important points fall through the cracks because everything you need to cover is outlined right in front of you. Time you would have spent re-filming and editing clips together to mimic a natural progression can be spent brainstorming new ideas or interacting with your audience after posting. 

Use Video Scripts to Manage Your Team

If you have multiple people managing your social media accounts, video scripts help you delegate work without the fear that other team members might not understand what you want to say in the video. Anyone can pick up this guide and swiftly understand your video concept, its goal, and what they need to say to accomplish that goal. 

While video planning can be complicated, our new Video Planner for TikTok, Reels, YouTube & Idea Pins can reduce some of your time spent ideating, planning & scheduling.

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Reilly Purl

Reilly Purl leads the Product Marketing team at Planoly. She has a passion for helping people understand how products work & the best ways to use them.

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