Though a script or storyboard may seem excessive for a humble YouTube video, the truth is they’re both wonderful tools for making the overall filming process easier. Depending on what type of creator you are and what type of video you’re filming, you may prefer one or the other (or even both!). We’ll talk about storyboards and scripts in more detail and how each of them can be applied to your creative process. Afterwards, we'll give you some tips for filming YouTube videos quickly and efficiently.
What Is a Storyboard?
A storyboard consists of different scenes to include in your video, sketched out as actual drawings. If you plan to film a video that has multiple backgrounds or locations or a lot of B-roll, a storyboard can help you visualize your video at a glance to ensure everything looks cohesive. If you’re a creative or artistic person by nature, you may simply enjoy making a storyboard over a written script.
How to Create a Storyboard
- A blank page can be daunting, so start by drawing a few squares on a piece of paper or in software on a drawing tablet. You can add or remove squares as needed.
- Visualize how you want your video to look and concentrate on the first scene. If you want to include an intro or title screen, don’t forget to add that in.
- Roughly sketch out the setting of your first scene. Let’s say you’re doing a “No Budget Manga Buying Trip,” your first scene might be you in your house just talking to the camera, while the next scene shows you traveling to the bookstore.
- Continue roughly sketching out scenes as they change without spending too much time illustrating the details (yes, even stick figure drawings are okay!).
- If you want to include some nice B-roll as transitions between scenes or as a background for voiceover, don’t forget to add that in, too.
- Add, erase, or rearrange scenes as needed until you’re satisfied with the outcome.
Bonus tip: After you’ve finished your storyboard, make a note above each section designating in which order you’ll film. Sometimes, it makes logistical sense to film your scenes out of order.
What Is a Script?
A script consists of the dialogue you want to include in your video in written form. You can also write down scene/set descriptions and anything special you want to add in the editing process. A script can be as detailed as you want, from a rough outline to word-for-word lines and everything in between. Remember that if your script is too vague, you might ramble on and have to cut out a lot of footage later. If your script is written out word-for-word, you’ll need to make sure you don’t sound overly robotic.
How to Write a Script
1. Think back to your school days when you learned to write essays. Start with an outline including an introduction to your channel, an overview of the video, the “body” (aka the meat and potatoes of your video), and a conclusion.
2. For your introduction, be sure to say your name (or channel name/nickname), share a little bit about your channel, and include a CTA (call to action) for people to subscribe. You’ve probably noticed that some YouTubers say the same introduction at the start of every video to keep their branding consistent. It can be very helpful but you’ll need to decide if it feels right for your channel. An effective intro might sound something like this:
“Hey everyone, welcome to Super Pup, the channel that teaches you how to train your new puppy. My name is Michelle and I’ve been working as a certified dog trainer for the past 5 years. I upload videos every Wednesday, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss out on helpful training videos.”
3. Now that you’ve written the intro for yourself and your channel, you’ll want to include a brief overview of your actual video. See if you can find a way to entice viewers to stick around for the entire video in order to increase your watch time analytics. An overview for a video about an art supplies haul might sound like this:
“In today’s video, I’m going to be unboxing some art supplies from a few different stores. I got a mix of new art supplies as well as my usual favorites so if you’re curious to what I use in the artwork I upload to my Instagram, @artwithkayden, definitely keep watching. Also, after we unbox everything I’m going to test out the supplies and make an illustration. Who knows what we’ll end up with but it’s always a fun process so I can’t wait for you guys to see that as well.”
4. For the body of your video, first write down all of the topics you want to cover in the desired order. Make sure everything flows nicely before writing out specific lines. You can write your entire script word-for-word or make bullet points for specific talking points.
5. For your conclusion/farewell, thank the viewer for watching and include another CTA to like and subscribe. You can also plug your other social media. Be sure to give a little teaser for your next video to really drive home that the viewer should subscribe.
Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Your script is finished and you’re ready to begin filming.
How to Film a YouTube Video
After your script and/or storyboard is finished, you’re ready to start filming. Here’s a few things to double check before you begin:
- Camera battery is fully charged (and you have extras, just in case)
- Memory card has enough space
- Lighting is sufficient
- Background is clean and tidy
- Props/materials are ready to go (if applicable)
- Nothing stuck in your teeth (hey, you never know)
Grab your script and go over it a few times. Feel free to read it outloud or practice in front of the mirror. The most important thing about filming is that you be yourself. Don’t try to fit into a certain type of persona if that’s not your vibe. If you relax and be yourself, not only will videos be fun to film, your audience will be able to tell that you’re having a good time. If you try to act a certain way because you think it will appeal to more viewers, people may be able to sense the inauthenticity.
When you’re ready, hit record and start talking! Though it can be tempting to look at yourself on your camera’s screen, look at the lens to really connect with your viewers. If you need to take a peek at the screen, you can always edit that out later.
If you make a mistake while talking, instead of repeating the word, try repeating the entire sentence as it will make the editing process easier. Don’t be afraid to take pauses when you need to because, again, they can be edited out.
The last thing you want to do is wrap up filming and put everything away, only to discover during the editing process that you need to refilm certain parts. To avoid this, be as thorough as possible during filming and take frequent breaks to check the footage on your camera to ensure you look and sound the way you want.
Don’t feel intimidated and like you need to get everything perfect on the first try. You’ll probably make some videos that you aren’t happy with, but consider each video a learning experience and a stepping stone towards your ultimate goal. All YouTubers have to start somewhere, the important thing is to start.
Let's move on to one of the most important duties of a YouTuber: editing videos.