Setting the Tone: Crafting Narrator Scripts that Resonate

By Hammad Syed in TTS

March 28, 2023 11 min read
Setting the Tone: Crafting Narrator Scripts that Resonate

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Most people believe that if you can write, you can create a narrator script; if you can talk, you can read a narrator script. After all, it is only about putting words on the paper and reading them out loud, right? Wrong!

The relationship between narrators and their scripts is so much more. A narrator crafts visual images for a listener by using pauses in appropriate places, accentuating keywords, and adopting a relevant tone. A high-quality narrator script offers artistic direction in a detailed manner. You must try giving the words of the script a convincing or plausible personality.

There is a straightforward way to explain all this – the best narrator scripts have a definite intent. And the best narrator scripts intend to tell the audience a story.

For further information, please go through the rest of the write-up now.

Types of Narrator Scripts

Narrator scripts are of two types – commercial and non-commercial.

  • Commercial scripts appear on television, on radio, and online. Nobody wants to hear about these scripts. They are designed for paid media and have stringent time constraints, usually lasting between ten and thirty seconds. A few scripts are lengthier. For instance, infomercials can go on for 120 seconds. But most commercial scripts are sweet and short, with condensed language that sells a specific message to half-listening people.
  • Non-commercial scripts are utilized for audiovisual presentations, e-learning, and medical voiceovers. People listening to non-commercial scripts are generally compelled by their interests, research, or professional requirements. Instead of selling a product or service, these scripts offer information or instruction that lasts a minute or even half an hour.

Top Ten Tips to Follow When Writing a Narrator Script

You wish to create a killer narrator script. That’s amazing! George Clooney said that one could make a poor movie from a good script but not a great movie from a bad script. Alfred Hitchcock, a legendary English film director, said to make good movies, you need three things – ‘the script, the script, and the script.’

People who appreciate storytelling will agree with the above sentiments. You are in the storytelling business if you create audio or audiovisual material – from radio commercials to YouTube flyers, explainer videos, and long-form documentaries. Your narrator script should reflect this.

Audiences expect a lot from the materials they listen to or watch – specifically online. Do you have a business that is struggling to manage the clutter? If yes, you must try engaging your target audience immediately.

Storytelling

Of course, writing a fantastic narrator script takes work. Most people cannot even afford a top-drawer copywriter. However, that’s no reason why average people cannot develop a good narrator script.

Do you feel you belong to the ‘average’ category? Consider the ten tips below when writing narrator scripts that genuinely resonate.

Write the Way You Would Speak

In almost all cases, you have to write for the ear. So, your writing style must be informal. Several copywriters rely on image training. They imagine somebody in front of them for whom they are writing. The somebody can be a regular customer.

The key is to incorporate everyday words and stay away from old-fashioned adverbs such as ‘thus,’ ‘moreover,’ and ‘therefore.’ Use contractions as they can make a script conversational.

Cut to the Chase Quickly

Attention spans are getting shorter with each passing day. When creating a narrator script, please cut to the chase as quickly as possible, or you will lose clients. They will scroll away or move to any other video. Concentrate only on topics that matter. Be straightforward and to the point about a service or product.

Take Inspiration from Others

Video platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo let you access a substantial amount of material you may learn from. Use search terms such as ‘best commercials,’ and you will get all the inspiration you need to write a narrator script.

Did you know Old Spice once ran a humorous and excellent television campaign for their famous men’s cologne that created a stir and reinforced the brand? It is not a secret that humor always rules.

Radio commercials of thirty seconds are still relevant. They can provide you with the insight you need. Write narrator scripts that can impact people the most. The format generally is – say the message, explain the message, and repeat the message. The opening should capture the audience’s attention and encourage them to know more.

Use Single Voice

No matter if you are writing the script in the first, second, or third person, please stick to only one. Jumping from one person to another will only confuse your listeners. Consistency makes narrator scripts immensely credible. Believability sticks, and at the top of one’s mind is the place where your service or product should be.

Short and Easy to Understand Sentences

This tip applies to scripts meant for the ear and more so in an explainer or e-learning environment. No, you should not write a stilted or too simplistic script. But your script should not force viewers or listeners to look for the replay button because they fail to understand something. Use short sentences because that’s the way we speak.

Be Aware of the Rhythm

A sentence or a paragraph with an innate rhythm is easy on the ears and memorable. Like music, speech also has a rhythm associated with tempo and the way the unstressed and stressed words are used. To test a narrator script for rhythm, read it and pay attention to the timing, flow, and feel. Swap words and look for alternatives that make your script appealing to people.

Learn the Significance of Silence

Silence in an audio and whitespace in a document is utterly essential. Your listener does not wish to be bombarded with endless words. There should be a little respite.

Use Transition Words

Transition words such as because, yet, but, meanwhile, and however prepare the listeners for a new segment, idea, or section. Transitions can also alter the tone or pace of a script. They clarify the message that’s contained inside a narrator script.

Practice Soundcheck

This is necessary. To see if your narrator script resonates, read it out loud. There is no other way of identifying awkward ideas or phrases that do not connect.

Many words sound good on their own. But they become challenging to comprehend when used together. Try to read – Betty Botter bought some butter, but she said the butter was bitter. Tongue twisters are common, but you must avoid them.

Reading a script also determines if a sentence is excessively long and should be broken up. The voice artist must have time to breathe, but the script’s flow should remain intact.

Pay Attention to the Length

It is common to find a client who wants to squeeze a 100-word script into a 30-second infomercial. People desire to shove as much information as possible into a limited period. However, doing so ruins the fundamental message and its understanding.

Write a script that an artist can read without hassle. The script should accommodate an appropriate tone, style, pause, and inflection. Write in a way that will get your message across seamlessly.

How to Punctuate a Narrator Script?

If you are using long sentences, please punctuate them. This elevates readability and allows your audience to absorb all the information seamlessly. You do not want your narrator script to be a string of words. Separate the thoughts and let them breathe with strategically located separators such as transition words or commas.

The meaning of a sentence often depends on the punctuation. Take the below sentences, for example.

Most of the time people purchase return tickets.

The meaning of the sentence changes due to the comma. Without the comma, the sentence indicates the capability of traveling through time. With commas, the sentence implies that people generally purchase return tickets.

Now take into account the following script –

Welcome to Bodybuilding Camp! Want to have the best body in one month? We can help. Select a method and use simple workout sessions to train your arms, legs, and core.

The above script has a plethora of ideas, and each one must stand out. The commas help achieve this. They improve the image of the ideas represented.

How to Read a Narrator Script in the Right Way?

If a narrator script does not resonate, you have unfortunately failed.

You must read the script out loud. Doing so allows you to identify the mistakes in language usage and punctuation.

A poor script needs many rewrites. Even a pro cannot read it, increasing production costs.

Narrator scripts are designed for the ear, so after you have finished writing, breathe and read what you have written at a natural pace. Believe in the message before delivering it.

Control the Script

When reading a narrator script, you should sound like you are making up the words on the spot. For commercial scripts, you must imagine your audience and sound like you are talking to them. Your audience will believe in the script if you believe in it.

For non-commercial scripts, you must think of yourself as an expert. Your audience will surely trust that you completely understand a subject.

You can control a narrator script if you know the answer to the following questions –

  • What persona did you acquire?
  • What product or service are you selling?
  • Who do you want to address?

Know and Emphasize the Keywords

Narrator scripts, especially the ones used for advertisements, do not have a natural language flow. To sound convincing, you must find out the primary selling points and stress them.

It would help if you sounded like you cared about the message or product. You can do so by using upward or neutral inflections.

Take the following script on an herbal shampoo, for example.

Are you wondering how to have smooth, silky hair? Introducing the best herbal shampoo. A gentle blend of vitamins and moisturizers that can make your hair shiny, voluminous, and bouncy.

When reading the above script, you must emphasize the italicized words. You can connect to a script’s meaning only when you focus on the important words. So do not stress on words such as wondering or introducing. Instead, stress the words that appeal to the audience, like herbal, shampoo, shiny, vitamins, etc.

When moving between thoughts, please take a breath. You can help a word stand out by pausing before it. 

What Should You Always Do When Reading a Narrator Script?

When reading a narrator script, make sure you do the following –

  • Breathe at every punctuation mark. Punctuation divides a script into thoughts and lets you make sense of it.
  • Relax your jaw so the tongue can move inside your mouth easily. This contributes to oral resonance.
  • Strengthen the tongue to articulate sounds better. Let your tongue touch your top and bottom lips, top and bottom teeth, the gum ridge at the bottom, and the floor of the mouth.
  • Yawn as much as possible. Doing so reduces constrictions within the throat.
  • Drink enough water to make your voice work.

Conclusion

There you go. Creating and reading narrator scripts is about conveying a story and the connotation of the story as efficiently as possible.

After you are done writing, please read the script in a conversational tone and pace. Stress the words that depict your message. A narrator script should not be a monologue but a wide range of ideas that are meaningful on their own.

Writing a narrator script can be tricky. But practice can help you become perfect. Make sure the script is in a conversational tone. Also, emphasize the keywords so the audience understands your message.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Importance of a Narrator Script?

A narrator script is as important as the video. The former sets the tone for the latter. The video and the script must work together seamlessly. A poor script can, unfortunately, throw an entire video down the drain.

What is the Difference between a Narrator and a Regular Script?

With a regular script, say for a play or a movie, the narrator will imagine the entire script in their head. They will say it only when the director offers a context. In the case of a narrator script, the reader enunciates every word on the paper.

Is a Narrator Script Designed for Video or Solely for Audio?

It would be best if you determined how the production will be broadcast. If you opt for a medium that will only be listened to and not watched, the voice and words must invoke relevant or crucial visual cues. Also, add music and effects after careful consideration. These will pave the way for visualizations that can improve or weaken the picture your audience is trying to build in their head. Narrator scripts are designed for promotional videos as well as audio dramas.

For narrator scripts, please provide proper directional notes on transitions and intonations. Also, be a little enthusiastic, or the listeners will feel bored

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Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed

Hammad Syed holds a Bachelor of Engineering - BE, Electrical, Electronics and Communications and is one of the leading voices in the AI voice revolution. He is the co-founder and CEO of PlayHT, now known as PlayAI.

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