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Outline or Script?

You’re getting ready to record a video & you need to decide if you should write a full on script or outline it. I'm going to break it down for ya!


I’m going to assume you have a topic or multiple topics you want to talk about. I’m also going to assume you know your material or subject matter well. Now you need to figure out how to structure the way you’re presenting information on camera.

The best format to use - I’m going to generalize here for the majority of videos where you’re teaching or discussing a topic - is to start with a hook, introduce yourself and the topic, say your main points, then finish with an outro/ending and a call to action.

Approach the prep work to video like you would an essay. Outline your main points. Use tips, steps, benefits, pros/cons to organize it because it creates a rhythm for viewers to follow. Build examples or sub points from the main points.

I also find it helpful to walk while you’re outlining your points. I heard this quote that’s been haunting me, “sitting is the new smoking”. I found when I get up and move, walk on the beach there’s an energy to my outlining because when the “body moves the brain grooves” haha.

You find what’s best for you! Step 1 for doing the prep work for any video is to outline. So now if you’re hoping in front of the camera how do you decide to use an outline?

Using an outline in your video

Now I think the deciding factor on if you use an outline or a script in your video comes down to your style!

Are you comfortable with the information enough to be able to flow? Is it more of a conversation you’re having with the person who’s watching?

The experts I’ve seen who outline are people who constantly talk about the subject. They know their stuff so well that it’s conversational.

Times I’ve seen outlines work well is when you’re showing the viewer something on camera. For example, a firearm company or a hair stylist. The person on camera intros the topic & themselves, says I’m going to show you how to do this thing and then they physically show it on camera whether that’s shooting a firearm or shampooing hair. Then you wrap up the video by saying “now you try it” or “practice it on your own this way” and then close with a call to action of “buy this product” or “join our class where we teach you this in depth”.

If you’re using an outline I think - but again it’s your preference - it’s fine to have a paper in front of you with your main points. This will keep you on track and help with transitions.

When you’re using your hands to demonstrate something on camera it’d be more difficult to use a teleprompter and read while also showing.

Outlines also work well when it’s two people on camera discussing a topic. They might have 3 main bullet points to talk about and once they're finished with one point, they can glance down at their outline and move onto the next one.

Using a Script in your video

I’ve seen full on scripts vital when it’s facts, data, something you don’t want to mess up or short video like an ad.

Now, you need to know your message & inflections, still talk with your hands.

Scripts are beneficial when you want to be specific and don’t want to memorize.

It takes practice to get good at using a teleprompter.

Times I’ve seen scripts work well are for an online course with 18+ videos. Having to remember all the key points to all those videos would be a lot. Now my client still knew her message really well and she reviewed it the day before shooting but having the scripts gave her exactly what to say.

Bottom line - it comes down to your style and what you’re teaching.

Think about the information you’re sharing and how comfortable are you on camera?

If you have any questions leave a comment below & I’ll be sure to get back to you!

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