HOW WOULD I SAY THAT? – Holly Foster Media


Writing scripts is one of the most, if not THE most important parts of my job. Our scripts, although they are not long, are the foundation of every video we produce.

Short or long, the same concept applies: if the message isn’t clear it won’t be received. You have to take the time up front to write it well because the video won’t be good if the script is poor.

“It’s possible for me to make a bad movie out of a good script, but I can’t make a good movie from a bad script.” – George Clooney

I thought I had done a good job my first time out. I practiced due diligence by following the ABC guidelines of accuracy, brevity, and clarity — but when we went into the studio to record, it just didn’t sound quite right.

Voiceover is tricky — appropriate inflections must be chosen, Ds and Ts have to be enunciated clearly, and you have to establish an appropriate pace. Together, these elements create the atmosphere that enables the listener to understand the message easily. But even an experienced voiceover artist can’t fix a bad script. There’s more to it than just the ABCs.

When we started recording, I wasn’t sure I understood what was being said — even though I had written it! Each sentence seemed to require too much thought. To get it right we had to stop, adjust the script, and then begin again.

Each time we stopped I found myself saying “How would I actually say this if I was having a conversation with someone?” Once I came up with a better (and usually shorter) version, I crossed out the original text and scribbled in the conversational version.

Long sentences were broken into smaller pieces. Parentheticals were eliminated. And the script got a lot shorter.

A lot happened that day. By the time we gave up, the script had more changes than original text. It made sense to schedule a re-record for the following week to allow time for a rewrite.

I’ve written a lot of scripts since then. I still do rewrites in the studio, but there are usually a just a few. It’s the nature of the beast.

When you begin your process (and it is a process), remember to ask that pivotal question “How would I say that?” – and when you answer yourself, say it out loud.

until nxt time …

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