Script and structure

The script is a tool for you to plan your shootings. It should focus on the concrete:

What, where and how will you shoot? What will be seen on screen? What is the structure of your video?

If your video is documentary in style you might be planning on “shooting a lot and making decisions later”. However even in this case it is important to plan as much as possible. For example, if you plan on using interviews: write the questions and notice that its good to make many questions and edit the answers later on.

The structure of the video

Let’s look at the structure of the video divided in three ”acts”: the beginning, the middle and the ending.

The beginning

How to begin your short film? A good beginning will awake the viewer’s interest in your video. You want to get him/her hooked to watch it through. You want to put something that enticing in the beginning that your viewer will lean forward to get more. In fact, in the online world you need to evoke the viewer’s attention even before the video begins to get her click play.

In the short format it is a good idea to start with going straight into the point without any detours. Be clear! If your viewer doesn’t understand what you are saying their interest might drop instantly at this point. On the other hand an air of mystery might increase the interest of the viewer, if what she sees and hears in the beginning is impressive enough.

The beginning of the video will build the viewer’s expectations regarding the rest of the video. It should introduce the subject and the “main characters” of the story.

Snapshots example: The beginning of the Faux dance performance video presents sketches for the mechanical performance outfits with the costume designers’ voice explaining about her views on costume design. With this beginning we wanted to show that something new and special was done in this project and get the viewers interested to see more.

The middle

In the middle part of the video you build your story towards the climax. The point is to keep the viewer interested.

Snapshots example: The middle of the Faux dance performance video describes the process of making the costumes and working on the choreography for the dance performance.

The end

How you end your video will determine the upmost feeling that lingers in your viewers’ head. In what mood do you want to leave them? Do you want to give them answers to the questions you have raised? Or do you want to give them a new question to ponder on themselves? It is a good idea to build some kind of emotional climax in the end of the video if possible.

Snapshots example: The Faux dance performance video ends with material from the finalized dance performance and the costume designer explaining about her feelings when she sees her designs at use in the performance. This is the emotional climax of the video.

Structure examples

Here are some simplified examples to illustrate various structures in the short format:

The mystery – giving hints to your viewers little by little to get them hooked. Revealing towards the end of the video.
Process – Describing a process in chronological order.
A joke – A punch line in the end, the goal is to entertain the viewer.
Problem based – presenting the problem, looking for solutions, finding the answer or finding that there is no solution.

When planning your video, take in consideration the length of the movie.