What Should You Always Consider When You Work With a New Script?
Being a scriptwriter is never a unilateral job. The projects we take on at Contento Wassum cover a range of subjects, and our clients have different requests and needs. At the same time, we carry our title as experts, suggesting that we always know exactly how to produce a good script per definition. The question is how this definition looks; is it even formulated? If so, what is the main focus of it?
At Contento Wassum, no scriptwriter is actually alike. We all work with educational concepts and fact-based content, but we all have different backgrounds. For instance, we have a language consultant, a rhetorician, a PR expert, and a film expert in the bunch. Thanks to this we have access to a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills regarding script production. We also have different opinions on the “true” definition of a good script. Still, there are some common denominators within our respective perspectives. (Had that not been the case, we would never truly agree on when a script is finished…)
To examine this ‘good script’ thing properly – and once and for all try to reach a consensus – we have started discussing the matter. What does the language consultant, the rhetorician, the PR and the film expert think is important to consider? Based on our overall ideas, opinions and experiences, we might eventually find a unison answer to what defines a high-quality script. Since we want as comprehensive a discussion as possible, we break it down to smaller issues and talk about them one by one. This way, we also get the chance to learn more about our work and an opportunity for inspiration.
The first issue we discussed was: what do you always consider when you work with a new script – no matter the subject, client and target group?
Everyone got to respond briefly to the question. The result covered the entire script production process. Here is a summary of what we came up with:
- – Purpose: why is this training important?
- — Behaviour: think about what behavioural changes you want from the target group.
- — Objectives: formulate the primary objective of the training, and find intermediate objectives linked to it.
- – Expectations: strive to reach and exceed the clients’ and the participants’ expectations of the training.
- – Flow: it should be easy to navigate and understand the structure of the script.
- – Context: explain the context and purpose early to the participants.
- – Headlining: the headlines must respond to the content.
- – Deadline: plan your work according to the set time frame.
Most of us realised that we, first of all, formulate a clear purpose. To do so, we start by pinpointing the objective of the training. It is usually about a behavioural change of the target group: What do we want the participants to think and do? What is preventing them from thinking and doing this today? How can we use training to overcome these obstacles? Once we have a clear primary objective, we continue to find intermediate objectives linked to that. From these objectives, we see a clear purpose with the script that we are about to produce. The next challenge lies in how to make sure that the purpose permeates the entire script.
Once the purpose and objective are established, the job of developing a concept of the training begins. At this part, some of us are motivated by the idea of exceeding the clients’ and participants’ expectations. Determined to do so, we dare to try out new solutions and think outside the box. Some projects have strict guidelines and rules that we must take into account. These can actually work as a driving force for developing a training beyond the ordinary.
After establishing a concept, it is time to start putting together a structure, and the flow becomes extra important. Even an unaccustomed reader should be able to easily follow and understand the script. One way of doing this is to use a clear layout that is explained on the first page of the script. It is also wise to establish purpose and context already at the beginning of the script for the reader to keep in mind. We must also make sure that the content of the sequences is in line with the headlines, to contribute to the clarity. This is all in favour of the reader.
The last thing listed above is about the deadlines we always have to relate to. Time frames can seem to limit, but it makes it easier for everyone involved to have milestones to work towards. It helps us stay sharp and make full use of our creativity. We have mentioned the importance of clear objectives of the training, but it is just as vital to set up clear objectives of the work with it. This lets us divide the process into distinct steps along a clear path, and it is also quite satisfying to tick off each completed stage. We all love the feeling of getting things done.
All in all, there is a lot to say about the ‘good script’ subject. This article is just a gateway to deeper examinations. Would you like to contribute? What issue do you think we should discuss next?
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