Scripting Frameworks

YouTube scriptwriters need to start doing this

March 22nd, 2024



min read

When working with clients, it’s my job to extract relevant information from them to help me write the best script possible.

Because, unless I know certain details, there’s no way I’ll be able to write anything good.

So here’s a wacky thought.

What if we treated ourselves as our own client?

What if, rather than simply starting to write our next script based on intuition alone…

…we forced ourselves to lay out all the critical information we would want an external writer to know?

The problem is…

Most of us think we’ll hit the nail on the head instinctively, simply because we're experts in our subject.

But I've consistently found that the more time you spend thinking about the "macro" of your video, the easier it becomes to nail the "micro".

So, here are the most important questions I always ask a client before writing their script.

Going forwards, I encourage you to ask yourself the same things:

1/ Describe the video idea in a sentence

  • This is a critical starting point.
  • If you can’t summarise the video in a few words, the concept isn’t clear enough in your own mind yet.

2/ Who is your audience avatar?

  • This underpins absolutely everything you do.
  • It’s essential for figuring out the “framing” (more on this soon).
  • It’ll affect every word of your script.

3/ Why haven’t you subscribed to Tintin Smith’s newsletter yet?

  • Wait, sorry, how did this get in here? Well, seeing as we’re now talking about it…
  • Tintin is Ali Abdaal’s Head of YouTube and writes an incredibly down-to-earth weekly newsletter for educational YouTubers. He's also just a supremely nice man 🥹
  • You basically get the inside track on all the experiments he’s running on a 5m subscriber channel - to see what works, what doesn’t, and what he’s learning along the way.
  • This isn’t sponsored btw - I just want to take every opportunity to highlight other useful resources for you on your YouTube journey, and I’ve really enjoyed Tintin’s stuff recently!

Check it out ⚡️ (It's free!)

4/ How do you want this video to be framed?

  • This forces you to make your idea more specific.
  • Doing so makes the idea more interesting, but it's also essential for making sure the video appeals to your audience.
  • I wrote about this in way more detail here.

5/ Have you ideated any titles/thumbnails yet?

  • You know the score...
  • Don’t develop your idea before checking you can package it correctly, etc etc.
  • (However, I do prefer to “frame” my idea before ideating titles + thumbnails.)

6/ By the end of the video, what do you want your audience to understand/feel?

  • Based on the direction you choose (”framing”), what sort of transformation will the audience have undergone by the end?
  • Is there a specific emotion you want to elicit? (This helps focus the type of language you use).

7/ How should the video be structured?

  • Always create the structure before you write.
  • e.g. 3-5 key points that NEED to be included.
  • Knowing how you plan to link from one payoff to the next makes writing those transitions way easier.
  • Check out the “payoffs” segment of this article I wrote for a bit more detail.

And, in case you’re a writer and you’d like to use this list with your clients, here’s a quick rundown of all the other questions I ask:

  • Tell us about your editing capabilities. For example, do you create animations for your content, or film additional B-Roll? Or, is there anything you want to avoid, like stock footage?
  • Ideally, how long would this video be? (Duration/word count/both).
  • Would you like us to include any specific CTAs?
  • Is there a sponsor? If so, please link their brief below and let us know if there's a specific way you'd like us to approach the integration. If not, we'll get creative!
  • Any specific sources we should use to guide our research?
  • Any other info we should know to help guide how we write this video?

6-figure product launch with a 10k audience

Alex Llull (The Steal Club) recently interviewed me about launching a 6-figure product with a small audience.

It might be an interesting listen if you use YouTube as a funnel for your business / paid products 👇

Watch Here 🎥

That's all for this week!

If you have any questions, you can always reply :)

Speak soon,
George 👋

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