Boost retention with 3 FAST script edits

December 1st, 2023



min read

One of the main “retention edits” I do for every script is to improve clarity.

Clarity is a major factor in whether or not someone will commit the next 15 minutes of their life to your video.

If your audience feels confused, they’ll leave.

That’s why it’s especially important during the hook (although it matters a good deal throughout the script too).

So, this week, using extracts from scripts I’ve worked/advised on…

I’m sharing three quick clarity checks for you to do on your next script before you hit record…


I spoke last week about the need to unlearn “essay-style” writing.

But this is not a debate about “dumbing down” your script.

Rather, it’s about avoiding overly convoluted language when it doesn’t serve any purpose.

Here’s an example from a script I reviewed, which sounds more like an “essay” than a YouTube script:

“We live in a world for the loud. This can be hard to accept at first – there’s a sort of moral irony in it.

Keep in mind, these are the first words of the video.

But the comment about “moral irony” just feels like… too much.

Nothing wrong with being a bit vague during the hook to open curiosity.

But this is so vague and jargon-y that I don’t feel curious. I just feel mildly confused.

Hence my comments at the time:

Surplus Detail

You don’t always need the amount of detail you might think.

And it’s easiest to notice when this is the case if you read your scripts out loud.

See this example from a script I reviewed:

“Or, more simply, as comedian Steve Martin once advised in an interview: ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you.'”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with saying “once advised in an interview”.

But when you actually say it, it sounds clunky.

Unless the fact that he said it in an interview is specifically relevant, it’s just far easier (and more naturalistic) to keep it simple and say: “said”.

So ask yourself:

Am I overcomplicating this?

After all, nobody wants an overcomplicated script, just like nobody wants an overcomplicated screen recorder… 😉

Smoothest segue ever, right? 😜

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Ok, let’s get back to the final clarity check…

Conceptual Confusion

The next video’s hook sounds great…

…but it accidentally implies a different type of video than we actually got.

The first sentence is:

Meeting the world’s richest comedian is easier said than done. He’s not all over podcasts and movie screens this comic has built a comedy Empire all without having to leave his home.”

To me, this sounds like a video where the creator tries to physically meet someone.

One of those classic “track them down” quests where we see the creator catching 6 planes, almost being arrested and spending the night in a bush…

Just to get a 10-second chat with their idol.

Now, the video I quoted above is actually really good…

But the plot I described doesn’t happen.

It’s actually a talking-head listicle about the richest comedians in the world.

“Meeting the world’s richest comedian” actually meant “figuring out who the world’s richest comedian is”.

It’s both subtle and unintentional…

But I’m certain early retention suffers from this lack of clarity…

Aim to be clear, not clever.

And, if you want more on how to simplify hook writing, you can check out this old thang I wrote a few weeks ago.

Stronger hooks within 24 hours, or your money back.

(Joke’s on you; you didn’t pay for this newsletter 😈)

⚡️ Action Point

Review your script and check it for:

  1. Jargon.
  2. Surplus Detail.
  3. Conceptual Confusion.

That’s all for this week Reader 🙂

Got any questions? Or anything you’d like me to talk about in future? 🧐

You can reply to these emails anytime 🙂

Speak soon,
George 👋

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