Hints & Tips: Scripting for learning content

Hints and tips are short posts to help you do better, faster.  

Writing an audio script for a piece of learning content is tough.  Quite aside from the instructional design, you’ve got to actually make it work when it’s listened to.  These tips are based on years of scripting and voice over work.

  1. Research and decide what resonates with you.  Take a look at other people’s work and seek out examples.  You need to know what your good looks like.
  2. Aim to be conversational in your writing.  People respond much better when they feel like they’re in a conversation.  It also enables you to be a ‘friendly guide’ rather than a ‘stern lecturer’ or ‘bored narrator’.
  3. Force yourself to use short sentences.
  4. Be aware of your timings.  150 words equates to about a minute of voice over.  You should aim for learning content pieces of 2 to 4 minutes each.
  5. Don’t use bullets.  Bullets are really hard to voice.  If you have a list, write it out in full and it will sound much more natural.
  6. Put direction in your script.  Putting direction in [italicised square brackets] will help your talent (or you) read the script better.
  7. Get someone to read your script back to you once you’ve finished the 1st draft.  Make sure you amend anything that appears clumsy or that the reader stumbles over.
  8. Do a read through with your talent (even if it’s you) before recording the script.  Don’t be afraid of last minute edits to get the best audio.
  9. Use a teleprompter app even if you’re not videoing.  The gentle flow of words up the screen will make your recording loads faster.

Have fun!