Voice over script writing guide

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in VoiceOver on April 26, 2023
Voice over script writing is a challenge, even for experienced writers. Explore this guide to discover how to get it right.

    Voice over script writing guide

    There are many ways to get high-quality voice overs. Professional voice actors understand the job’s specific requirements and can alter their performances to suit the script. And with AI voice over services, such as Speechify Voice Over Studio, it’s easy to get cost-effective reads.

    However, the best voice acting in the world won’t save you if you don’t have a great script. In this guide, you’ll learn the four elements of creating great voice over scripts that your voice talent will love and your target audience will enjoy.

    Creating a concept

    All voice acting scripts start with a creative concept. Think of this as the “big idea,” which informs not only the script’s direction but also the direction of your voice over work.

    This concept starts with determining what the script is in need of. For example, a commercial voice over, such as one for a B2B video, will often contain technical language. The voice talent used for these scripts must be able to deliver their lines with authority to make them believable.

    The same applies to narration scripts for e-learning. However, scripts for video games are often looser, affording your voice over artists more room for experimentation.

    Coming up with the core creative concept requires you to do the following:

    • Determine your target audience for the script.

    • Create a unifying theme that runs throughout the script and resonates with your audience.

    • Figure out what emotional response you want to generate in the audience, influencing the call to action you create (assuming there is one).

    • Set a word count – this will influence your entire production budget. Longer word counts require more voice and production work.

    Nailing the writing style

    Building on the previous point, your writing style is determined by the audience to which your script should appeal.

    For example, a podcast script is loose and conversational, giving you more freedom to use slang and less technical writing. A script for an explainer video may need a more commercial voice. In contrast, a movie trailer script will mix bombast and changing inflections with advertising for the film.

    It depends on your audience and your personal (or professional) writing voice.

    Whatever style you choose, there’s one element that every script needs to have – clarity.

    A lack of clarity creates complications, as voice artists must constantly check in with you to ask how you want them to read. In the worst cases, you may have to pay for script revisions, which puts a squeeze on your budget for commercial scripts.

    It’s a good idea to research proper scriptwriting before you put pen to paper.

    Check out some voice over practice scripts, which indicate what your voice talent expects from the writing. Consider creating a voice over demo, which allows you to listen to portions of the script aloud to determine if it needs any changes.

    Knowing who you’re talking to and what you want to say

    To whom are you speaking?

    It seems like a simple question, but it’s one that many novice scriptwriters overlook.

    For instance, let’s say you’re writing a script for a YouTube video that gets posted on a channel that already has subscribers. In that case, your script has to match the tone and voice that’s familiar to those subscribers.

    By contrast, writing scripts for video games is more about fitting the script to the characters rather than the audience. In that case, you’re free to experiment with new voices because you’re setting the expectations instead of adhering to pre-existing ones.

    A good tip here is to create a fictional person for the person who’ll listen to your script. Ask yourself what that person looks like and what they expect. From there, you can start writing a script that fits the persona’s needs from there.

    Formatting your script properly

    Looking at a script library can help you with formatting your script, as that reveals that a script isn’t just the words the voice actor says. It also needs to contain instructions.

    For example, let’s say your script reads:

    “ABC Delivery – Getting your package to your door on time and within budget.”

    That line needs to have instructions accompanying it, such as:

    • Read ABC as an abbreviation.

    • Emphasize the words “on time” and “within budget.”

    That interplay between the line and the instruction occurs throughout the script, ensuring your voice talent knows exactly what type of read to provide.

    From there, you may also use timestamps to indicate when a line needs to be delivered. For example, you may have a script for a one-minute video where you want to deliver specific lines at certain points. In that case, your script may look something like the below:

    00:00 – 00:15 – <First Line>

    <Instructions for the first line>

    00:15 – 00:25 – <Second Line>

    <Instructions for the second line>

    And so on until you’ve completed the script. As a general rule of thumb, the more detail you can offer in your timestamps and instructions, the easier it is to achieve the recording you need.

    Use Speechify Voice Over Studio to give your script the sound it deserves

    Working with voice actors after creating a script can be a challenging and costly process. The good news is that there’s a way to get a professional voice over for your script that also gives you the flexibility to try different voices and inflections: Speechify Voice Over Studio.

    With Speechify Voice Over Studio, Speechify uses its text to speech technology to provide audio recordings of any text you enter into the platform. You can choose between hundreds of voices, dozens of languages, and different speeds and pitches to get the perfect voice over.

    It’s simple to use, too. Copy and paste your text into the platform, hit a button, and you can download your voice over in minutes. To find out more, check out Speechify Voice Over Studio for free today.


    What is the difference between a voice over script and other scripts?

    With voice over scripts, enunciating every word is part of the job description. You can imagine the words in your head for other types of scripts, but the voice actor’s work may take it in a different direction.

    What is a good example of voice over narration?

    You’ll find many examples of great voice over narration in films, with Morgan Freeman’s voice overs in The Shawshank Redemption being great examples.

    Who is the best voice over narrator?

    IMDBs list of the best voice over narrators includes Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, and Peter Cullen. However, many in the voice over industry can provide excellent narration.

    What are the advantages of voice over?

    A good voice over adds personality to a video and helps to get the viewer emotionally invested.

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    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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