Skip to main content Skip to footer

Script vs. Outline: Which is Better for My Video Project?

The initial draft of a digital video project can come in all shapes and sizes. Some projects start out with an extremely detailed script, others begin with a rough outline. Certain digital video production projects simply start with just a general idea. These are very different approaches that boil down to one question: which is right for your project?

As you expect, the answer largely depends on what you need and the specifics of your situation. All three routes can be valid, so it’s best to go into detail about how each approach will impact the process for your multimedia studio and your business.

How a Rough Script Impacts a Video Project

A rough outline can be incredibly daunting. There are so many paths a project could take that you can suffer a sort of writer's block. A rough outline can sometimes have a basic path is easy to see, but any standout flourishes are put on hold until you can lay out the structure. This situation can make it difficult to figure out which flourishes will or won't work in a rough outline, and an editor may not have a fixed view of the goals ahead.

Basically, it comes down to the destination. If the end goal and style of a project is well understood by everyone involved in the project, it's much easier to find the extra bits that will improve the video. This includes increasingly intriguing ways to cut it together, more interesting music, or motion graphics. It's all about having that strong vision.

Don't quite understand? Here's an example that doesn't involve video. Let's say you ask me to build you a house. If you just say “build me a house,” we don't have much information at my disposal. We don't know if you want a one-story or a two-story house; an attached or detached garage; shingles or slate; picture windows or bay windows; wood floors or carpet... you get the point. Every room, paint color, floor, and item in the house needs to be decided without knowing your preferences or even how many people will live in this house. The person working on your project just has to guess and hope it works out.

Obviously, this is not a good option for building a new house, as the odds you'll get something you’re ecstatic about are quite low. If I'm a good house builder, you'll get something nice—it might even be something very trendy—but it likely won't be perfect for you.

With even a bit more information about the house and the goals of building it, you increase the odds that you'll be ecstatic with the end results. Let's say you tell me there will be two adults and three children living in the house, you plan on living in it for decades, you really like the color blue, and you like space, but not too much space. You also point out a house you found online that you like. Suddenly, the people working on your project know you need a couple bathrooms, two or three children's rooms, a master bedroom, a decent-size living room, and other key features. We could use the online house to determine that wood floors would be best and that you'd love a formal dining room. With some basic information - an outline, so to speak - we have a good sense of your style and can take pieces and parts and give them that extra wow factor or flourish to make you fall in love.

How Detailed Scripts Impact a Video Project

The other option, of course, is that you provide blueprints and swatches for everything; this is more in line with a tight script and storyboard. It may seem limiting, but in a lot of ways it's freeing for professionals. We know exactly what you want and can get a sense ahead of time of what we can accomplish. If there are opportunities to make something better, flashier, fit in to the piece better, or make a goal clearer, your team can communicate that ahead of time and work with you to improve the piece. As such, the people on your project can spend my time working on making it the best rather than just making sure it gets finished.

A great example of a rough outline is the video TRG did for Duck Brand Pack & Track App. Duck Brand had a goal in mind: educate the user on how to use the app in a fun and engaging way. They had a voice-over planned out, some key things they wanted to show, and some graphics from previous ads. From there, we were able to create new graphics to help tell the story, and build some unique animations and creative ways to demonstrate the use of the application. We were very happy with the finished video - more importantly, so was the client.

Work with a Multimedia Studio that Can Adapt to Your Video Project

No matter which path you choose, we will strive to make you happy with the finished video. We will have conversations with you and work with you to make sure you're getting what you need and what you want. One of the best ways to do this is when clients are able to come into the edit suite and work with us in person. No matter how we choose to communicate, successful communication will ensure that we are going to make something really cool together.

Need creative digital video services? Contact TRG today about how we can help your business, no matter where you are.

We use cookies and similar technologies on our Website to ensure you the best browsing experience. Read about how we use cookies and how you can control them in our Privacy Statement. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Go to Privacy