We often get the question, how many words should my animation script be? The answer is, of course, it depends.
Generally, the narration for a 1:00 explainer video comes in between 125-145 words – or about 135 words per minute for a video script.
We know it’s tough to say everything you want to say in under 200 words! And we also know that a shorter video is more likely to hold our attention span. Curious about how long your animated explainer video should be? We’ve got you covered.
But don’t just think about time when you consider how many words to use in your video…
When to Use Big Words
You may think that using Big Fancy Words saves you time – why say “thrown out the window” (4 words) when you can say “defenestrated” (1 word)? But will your audience know what that word means? And even if they know what it means, is it the quickest way to get your point across?
We process auditory information differently than we process written information. Our brains have an easier time processing voiceover when it’s straight-forward and conversational, rather than dense.
There are times when you may need to use big words – Medical Device explainers that are heavy on technical terms come to mind – but we try to keep it accessible by using colloquial language.
But don’t get carried away being conversational! Actual conversations are not very efficient with their word usage. Have you ever listened to yourself talk? It takes like seventy words just to tell your friend what you ate for breakfast. We’ve made videos using found audio – like interviews and quotes – and these usually clock in much longer than if we had written a script summarizing the quotes.
So while you use a conversational tone to help your audience process your story, be sure to still put focused effort into keeping the script straightforward and clear.
Using language that anyone can understand, and avoiding Big Words (see: defenestration, above) is one way of making sure that your video is accessible to everyone. After all, most newspapers are written so that someone with a 9th-grade reading level can understand them.
Another way to be accessible is to add closed captions and subtitles to your video. This usually doesn’t increase the length of the video, but instantly makes it accessible to people who are hard of hearing or speak another language.
And if you think that some of your audience might be visually impaired, you may want to write with audio descriptions in mind. This can mean writing fewer words per frame, knowing that some audiences may be hearing additional words via audio description, or it could mean editing together two versions of your video, one with a few more pauses than the other.
Narration + Visuals Working Together
Sometimes, you don’t even need words to convey your message. You can just say “there are so many ways to give!” and show a check, a stack of cash, a will, an old car, a house… and people will get the idea. Videos are most interesting when the visuals and the narration work together, rather than working in opposition (showing one thing but saying something else) or in complete redundancy (having the visuals show literally exactly what the words are telling us). Play with visuals to maximize your word count.
You can also make a huge impact by using few words and letting the images tell your story. You can even forego a voiceover altogether and just have on-screen text tell your story.
Work With a Professional Scriptwriter
If that seems like a lot to keep in mind as you write your script, that’s because it is! Here at Next Day Animations we have a team of Scriptwriters who are professionally trained to do all of this for you.
Ready to (have a professional scriptwriter) tell your story? Give us a call!