Who wants to write a boring explainer video script?

Anyone? Nope. Didn’t think so. And sure as hell, no one out there in the audience wants to be bored by such things.

Which leaves us with a problem: how to write an explainer script that does the opposite, a script that grabs people’s attention, engages them and keeps them watching – that’s what we all want.

Fear not, we have a simple solution. Which, in the words of Kylie and Jason, has been written, “Especially for you”. Yes, that’s a late Eighties ex-Neighbours pop star pun. Which is one notch above our Spice Girls pun. And if you use our approach, you’ll end up writing scripts that don’t bore people to death.

But our approach to animated explainer scripts isn’t a panacea or a silver bullet. When you’ve learned the rules, you’ll need to break them once in a while. There are no shortcuts or hacks either. Just blood, sweat, typos and rewrites.

We know our approach works

Because it’s born out of years of experience creating explainer videos and other video productions for clients in a range of different industries. Clients like Volvo, BUPA, The Salvation Army, Heathrow Airport, Airbus, London Transport and The Wellcome Trust.

Saying is one thing, doing is another

We haven’t just written an article to reveal our approach to writing explainer scripts. We’ve put our money where our mouth is and created an animated explainer video that shows you how the parts of the script work together. It’s below the secret sauce. Miss it at your peril.

The Secret Sauce…

Here are the four components of every explainer script we write:

  1. Problem/Pain or Opportunity
  2. Promise
  3. Proof
  4. Call to action

Let’s go through them one by one…

1. The Problem/Pain or Opportunity

This is where you set the scene and describe the audience’s problem and the pain they associate with it.

Alternatively, it could be an opportunity – or a problem framed as an opportunity – that you want to promote e.g. a quicker, less intrusive test for cancer that will lead to faster diagnosis and earlier treatment, or a new lottery where people can win a gazillion pounds if they buy a ticket.

2. The Promise

This is where you introduce your solution to the problem and put your money where your mouth is. What will your product or service do for the audience? It should solve their practical problem of course, but how will it make them feel?

Keep it short and sweet, because the more you throw at the audience, the less they’ll understand and remember.

“Oh please do bludgeon me to death with your facts, figures, waffle and complexity!” said no one ever.

3. The Proof

This is where you demonstrate your mettle and back up your promise by revealing the features and benefits of your product or service. But it’s crucial not to overwhelm the audience with a long list of options or dozens of choices because they’ll forget them and find it hard to focus on the most salient, memorable points. It’s well worth heeding to Miller’s Law and avoiding the Choice Paradox.

  • Also, if you have any independent social proof or formal evidence in support of your offer, now is the time to mention it.

4. The Call to Action

Give your audience a next step so they can act on what they have just experienced.

  • Click here to find out more.
  • Call this number.
  • Tell your friend.
  • Share it on Instagram.
  • Whatever.

You can also add a practical and or emotional one-liner that reminds the audience of the problem and pain they will solve or avoid – and the positive outcome they will enjoy – if they buy your product or service.

Ultimately, the call to action is all about what you leave the audience feeling and thinking and what happens next; because how things end is critical to how well your script will work and how well your video will be remembered.

Your script should have explained, revealed, encouraged, motivated, entertained, excited, intrigued or inspired them enough to ask a question or find out more.

Whatever you do….

Don’t leave them hanging. Unless your video is an explainer about how to leave people hanging!

Watch the proof of the explainer script pudding…

As the saying goes, show don’t tell.

So we wrote a script using those four components and turned that into an animated explainer for an imaginary product, the Wolf-O-Matic. There’s a full break down of the script below the video so you can see which words relate to which component.

The Wolf-O-Matic animated explainer script breakdown

[ Setting the scene – this is where we describe a beautiful scene which the audience loves, but which will be threatened with total destruction: a classic story-telling device that captures attention and triggers curiosity and anticipation… ]

We all love a full moon.

Once a month it lights up the night, helping us avoid obstacles like trees, lions and potholes.

Yes. A full moon is definitely a good thing.

Except of course when it’s a blood moon.

[ The Problem / Pain ]

Because that’s when the werewolves come out.

And they’re a bit, well er…

They just can’t help themselves.

And up till now, all we normal folk could do to protect ourselves was to call Van Helsing.

If we could afford him.

[ The Promise ]

But now, there’s a new, more affordable silver bullet in town.

Wolf-O-Matic.

[ The Proof – the first line demonstrates our point about not needing to list lots of features and benefits. We’ve only mentioned one feature – the tractor beam – and said, “let the magic happen”. The benefit is shown visually when the machine is in action. ]

Just wheel it outside when the blood moon rises, turn on the tractor beam, and let the magic happen!

With Wolf-O-Matic, there’s no better way to make the werewolves go away.

[ The Call to Action ]

So don’t delay, call your witch doctor today and place your order.

Wolf-O-Matic, because your life is on the line.

That’s it.

That’s our secret sauce.

  1. Problem / Pain or Opportunity
  2. Promise
  3. Proof
  4. Call to Action

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