This is part 1 of 5 in our series on The Animation Process.
To start, you’ll need a script. Let’s talk about the most effective way to write a script for an animation in PowerPoint:
Start with a brainstorm
Maybe you’re starting with no direction at all. Maybe you have very strict guidelines on length, tone, and content. Whatever your ‘mandatories’ are, start by writing them down on a piece of paper. Beneath them, think of ideas for your animation and write them down. While brainstorming should be a free process, you should focus on figuring out the following:
- Target audience – Whoever you’re writing for must understand what you’re saying.
- Voice – This is the character of your animation. Try to imagine your animation as a person e.g. imagining an industrial safety animation as a no-nonsense industrial worker.
- Tone – This is the feeling you want your animation to evoke.
- Objectives – Maybe you want to tell people about your amazing website. Maybe you want to tell a story. Whatever you want to accomplish, make sure you establish it in the beginning.
As you come up with better ideas, build on them. On top of that, try linking ideas that would work well together.
The trick is to not spend too long on this stage. Otherwise you can easily over-plan and fall into the trap of “Analysis paralysis.” To avoid this, set a timer. Once your time’s up and you’ve jotted down some interesting ideas, it’s time to take the next step:
Plot the structure
Your structure will change depending on what you’re animating. If you’re animating a story, consider a scene structure like PASTO. If you’re animating an ad, consider a copywriting structure like AIDA.
Once you’ve settled on a structure, fill it with the ideas from your brainstorm. As soon as you’ve worked out a rough structure, take the next step:
Start a table
This table should have two columns. One for Voice over and captions, the other for animation.
Write your mandatories at the top, as they should guide every word of your script. You should also write the intended pace and tone of your voice over at the top. This will guide you as you write. It will also guide your VO artist as they record. Remember to also keep your structure from the last step close at hand.
Now, start writing one line at a time in both columns. With each new line, start a new row. This will make it easier for you and your animator to tweak the script.
It’s important to remember that you don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it written. Don’t waste time worrying over a single word or animation idea. Just power through and fix it when you revise and edit.
Tips For Perfecting Your Script
- Write your voice over phonetically, especially for abbreviations and large numbers.
- Read aloud as you write.
- Make sure your voice over would work well as closed captioning. That means avoiding long sentences, lists, and so on.
- Remember that there are roughly 150 words for every minute of spoken content.
- Keep your tone consistent.
- Use simple language that your VO artist and audience can understand.
Most importantly, any names, dates, statistics, and so on are best written on-screen rather than spoken. This is because PowerPoint can be edited easily by almost anyone at any time. Your voice over…not so much.
Refining your script
You’ve finished your first draft. Congratulations! You’re just a few drafts away from finishing.
First, print off your draft and grab a red pen. Now read it aloud and mark parts that need improvement. Finally, get someone else to give it the same treatment. Repeat this until you’re happy with the final product, then you can move on to the next step: Concepting.
Otherwise, save time by speaking to one of our professional animators today.[thrive_lead_lock id=’8913′]Hidden Content[/thrive_lead_lock]