Video Best Practices: Write a Script or Storyboard

What's Your Story?

I presented these slides at LavaCon 2015. My hope is that people will comment with their experiences and feedback. I’d love to hear of any resources to add, especially if it comes from small businesses.

Tell a story in your video. Also, write a script or storyboard.
Tell a story in your video. Also, write a script or storyboard.

High Points

  • Tell a story. (Science backs up all the reasons.)
  • Write a script or storyboard.
  • Cheap now to get it approved, plan for localization, etc. Expensive once you actually start filming.
  • Example: Facebook Help, Tom’s Planner


You have a purpose, now you need a plan. Prevent yourself from meandering all over the countryside, or creating a four minute video when all you really need is 45 seconds.

Write a script or storyboard. Seriously. Commit to it on paper. Send it to your SMEs and any approvers. This is when making changes is inexpensive. It doesn’t even have to be fancy.

It doesn't have to be fancy. Here's a sample script (rough draft) I wrote for pinning items on your toolbar.
A rough draft sample script I wrote for pinning shortcuts.
It doesn’t have to be fancy. Here’s a sample storyboard I made using Storyboard That.
A sample storyboard I made using Storyboard That.

Remember to tell a story. “When we are given facts and information, the language processing parts of our brain kick in, trying to comprehend what we are learning. But when we are told a story, other areas of the brain come alive as though we are actually experiencing the events of the story. If you hear about delicious foods or think about performing actions, your sensory or motor cortex lights up.” (credit: has links to research as well as five great resources at the end to inspire you and some video examples)

This is a good time to think about language localization and disability access. Voiceovers? Text boxes?

Example: Just in Case Studies by Facebook All of them feature a narrative arc to something as boring as untagging yourself from a photo or changing your password.

Example: Tom’s Planner uses a scenario

Photo credits:

  • Script by Allie Proff
  • Storyboard by Allie Proff on Also try

For further reading:

  • TED talk: All great presentations have a common architecture
  • Resonate, by Nancy Duarte
  • Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction by Jack Hart
  • You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction–from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between by Lee Gutkind