One of the questions we’ve received from our producer clients is about when and when not to use scripts to create your episodes. This is a great question and we wanted to share our experiences on the podcast since it can be a rough learning curve without some guidance. If you are filming your episodes, this is especially relevant since eye lines and multiple takes can get tricky to navigate without proper preparation.
In this episode Tiff and Christine teach the pros of cons of using scripts in your episodes, and how that differs for audio and video.
“You kind of rewrite throughout the process.”TIFF TYLER
- (1:00) When scripting an episode is valuable
- (7:50) When scripting an episode is not valuable
- (10:45) Pros and cons around scripting episodes for video
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- Tiff Tyler
- Christine Baird
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Transcription of this episode:
(auto-generated, please forgive typos)
Welcome to Think Like a Producer podcast. I’m your co-host Christine Baird.
And I’m your co-host Tiff Tyler. Being in the podcast industry, being in the content creation industry. This is what we learned, and this is how you can get out of your own way and get started.
You name it. We’ve probably done it. This podcast is about bringing all the wisdom to you. Tune in weekly, to learn how to think like a producer.
Okay, let me pull up my script. Welcome to another episode of think like a producer, we’re covering a topic today. That’s actually really valuable. If you’re going to be selling your products, your services, your work through your podcast, but a lot of people will never get coaching on this until they need to do it. And then they’re like, what on earth am I doing? So we’re kind of going about scripting in your episodes and when that’s valuable and when it’s not and how it differs scripting audio episodes versus video episodes. And we’ll go a little beyond just episodes here. We’re going to kind of give you a bigger picture of the value of scripting out, any kind of audio or video media you may be making. So this is a question we’ve gotten in our group coaching program before from producers, we train it’s super valuable.
If you’ve ever been in a situation where either you or your client is like, uh, we need to make this episode and it needs to have a script. Like what do we do? So let me give you some ideas of when scripting an episode is really valuable. And then I’ll kind of give you some ideas of when it’s not, and when you might take it too far, it would not be helpful to script it. So first off, one of the most valuable uses of a scripted episode for the kind of podcast that is like educational or conversational or interview style is when you’re doing something very focused on teaching on a specific topic. And, you know, I need to include these key points in this episode for it to make sense and give a complete package. Now, depending on whether you’re the host of your show or you’re the producer, whether or not you’re the one actually speaking into the microphone, the big thing to remember here is you want to play to the strengths of your hosts.
And so this is going to look different for everyone. Like some people are really great at just like reading off of a script and some people are terrible. They sound awful. So don’t expect your host to just like be good at this right away. Tiff’s going to talk about this in a minute when it comes to video. But what I do want you to think about is if you’re doing a teaching or coaching style episode, oftentimes this is going to be a solo episode. It’s probably going to be very helpful to at a minimum list out some bullet points of the key topics you’re covering. If you have like some kind of framework you teach on that you’re covering on that episode, like listed out, just so that you can make sure you cover in the recording. It’s really easy to kind of turn the mic on or turn the camera on and just go and get kind of caught up.
And then by you finish and you’ve forgotten half of what wasn’t that important to say, because you were excited about what you were saying. So that’s when scripting and episodes really helpful. And I typically, most people aren’t really well-trained or very comfortable reading off a script. So you’re probably going to go with something more like bullet points, but there’s a few different ways to do this. And these kinds of episodes are especially valuable if you’re using them to sell your products or your work, or to invite people, to explore your coaching or whatever you may do. So the idea of scripting a solo episode would be like, Hey, we have this event coming up or, Hey, I’ve got a book coming out or something like I’ve got an offering and I’m going to script a series of episodes that will give people a really awesome preview of what is in there so that they are really interested in checking it out and possibly buying that’s when it would make a lot of sense to kind of reverse engineer your episode, right?
Like the goal is to get people to click through, to the information page about my insert, your product book event, whatever workshop. And so I’m going to make sure that this episode covers, for example, one of the most frequently asked questions I get in my paid membership group, or whenever I, you know, speak on stage, I always get this question. Well, how about you do an episode answering that question? It’s kind of like, you’re getting inside the mind of your audience and you’re like, I know you guys, like, I always get the same question from you. So let me answer it in this episode, let me script it out to cover all the key pieces that I know you’re going to be wondering about. And then at the end of the episode, when I invite you to check out my workshop event book, to learn more on this topic, it’s really easy for them to click through because they’re like, wow.
They just like read my mind and answered my most frequently asked question, uh, duh, I want to learn more from them. So that’s when a scripted episode makes a ton of sense. It’s really good for solo episodes where you’re teaching, you’re coaching, you’re getting people a preview of what it’s like to do work with you like in a paid format. And I’m not saying it has to be paid. Maybe you like to do free events or you have free workshops, but whatever it is, you want people to go explore in your sphere. After listening to the episode, think about scripting your episode to really speak to their most frequently asked questions. And the kind of, you could even say the key pain points that they’re constantly, um, dealing with because, you know, cause this is the population you work with. Now, the other use for scripting in an episode is when you’re doing your intro.
So if you have a guest interview, for example, it’s actually very helpful to have a little bit of a script so that you get the facts, right? When you introduce someone, winging, it often leads to inaccurate statements about someone, and that’s a weird way to start an episode. So it definitely helps to script your intro. And I’m not saying it needs to be like line for line, but just having like three bullet points like so-and-so is in New York Times bestselling author, a coach for this kind of person. And they are, you know, the recipient of this award, like put it down on paper so that you can actually get it right. Um, another thing where it’s helpful to have a script is if you’re doing an ad and I’m not talking about sponsorships, obviously there’s scripts for paid sponsorships, but if you’re doing an ad for your own products, like let’s say you just did a solo episode teaching.
One of the most frequently asked questions you get, and then you are inviting people to come check out your upcoming event, go ahead and script out that, add that invitation because you want to make sure you’re going to remember like telling them exactly where to find more information, what they can expect. Some really interesting things to peak their interest, to get them to click through and learn more like you just want to cover this. And if you leave it up to chance and just winging it, most people are not great at that. Some people are, but they’re typically the exception. So that’s where scripting really helps. And then the third kind of element of podcasting where scripting can be really helpful is with your trailer. So that’s when you are doing either a brand new show or a new season of a show, and you can record, we’ve talked about this in past episodes, kind of on our launch strategy episodes.
You can record a trailer for your show and that’s like a really simple many episodes. You can call it. You can mark it as a trailer specifically, it’ll show up in someone’s podcast, opposite trailer. And that’s where you’re like, Hey, welcome to the show. This is what it’s about. Here’s who I am. Here’s what you can expect. And those kinds of key elements are helpful to have scripted so that you can be polished and presentable and give the people the information they need and that they’re expecting in that kind of special episode. So those are all situations where I think scripting is super helpful. Now let’s talk about when scripting is not helpful. Uh, it may be a big stretch for you to feel like I am going to start a podcast and just talk off the cuff. Especially if you’re not doing like a guest interview or you have a co-host or maybe you have like a round table style, but scripting, you can become a real crutch.
If you know that you have really good info to share, but you feel like I have to have it scripted out, or I’m going to sound stupid, likely you’re going to sound weird. Reading off a script. A big part of podcasting is letting people connect with you in an intimate way. And that means being yourself and being not vulnerable in a weird way, but vulnerable in the sense that you are letting people see who you are. And so what I want you to avoid is scripting too much your episodes to where you sound weird. Like you literally sound like you reading off script. You know what I’m talking about, and this can sometimes happen. I think even in guest interviews where either you or your producer has like, pre-prepared a list of questions to ask, and you’re so committed to getting through those that you don’t leave any room for like the organic nature of the conversation and unexpected moments and tangents that are actually more interesting than the questions that you had.
So I always want you, especially, if you’re doing an interview style show to leave room, to go off script, leave your list of questions behind and go to the most interesting place that conversation goes. And I’m not talking about tangents that are, uh, not helpful, like those can happen, but I typically recommend editing them out. I’m talking about, like you ask a question that you had on your list of questions. The guest gives you a very unexpected answer it’s way. Interesting. And so you keep asking them more questions about it. That’s where it’s totally fine to go off script because that’s usually where the gold is. So those are my pros and cons kind of when to use scripts when scripts are not helpful at all. And I want you to just take it all with a grain of salt, because it really is about playing to the host of the show’s strengths and realizing like everyone’s going to have a different way of doing that. So Tiff, tell us about some things that we should be aware of. If we’re scripting videos,
I will, but first, can you answer a question for me? What do you prefer scripting or announce scripting for yourself? Like when you’re working on podcasts, I’m just wondering like your personal,
Um, I typically prefer non-scripted just because of the niche of shows that I work in, but I have had clients who are really good at reading a script and they sound really good. And those are typically my clients who have experienced on television. So they actually have like done this before and they can sound amazing and it totally fits their brand because they’re very polished. Like they have media training. So in that situation, sometimes it sounds awesome. But for the majority of people, for me as a listener or a producer, I like unscripted
On the scripted off the cuff. Okay. Just thought it’d be cool to throw that in there. You might be asking yourself, you know, we’re in the production kind of phase of, of what we’ve been talking about for this particular season. So why are we talking about scripting? Right. Scripting mostly sounds like it might be in pre-production, but you kind of like rewrite, especially in this kind of particular situation throughout the process. This is kind of like a funny question, but sort of a thing that happens a lot in video production, everyone always asks, who’s the true, auteur, the true author or whatever of the, uh, the production, you know, is it the person who wrote it? Is it the actor who actually said the lines, is that the editor who has that like final rewrite, um, but everything is rewriting. So even though you might script some of these, uh, whether it’s audio or video in pre-production, you’re probably going to be rewriting the script when you’re actually filming and recording and then rewriting again in the edit.
So scripting is all the way through your production. Just to give you some reference for that. Now what Christine is talking about on the video side of things, I would say the most interesting part about scripting is really like eyeline and how educated your host or the person on camera is about the particular topic. What I mean to say is not every host is someone who’s an entrepreneur or someone who’s the head of a business. And they might be doing an ad, an actual like ad on video for a sponsor or something else. That’s not necessarily directly related to what they know. So I line when I’m talking about eyeline, I mean, if people are using teleprompter and reading, uh, or if they’re kind of just going off cuff, um, it’s something that’s really important because it’s sort of like takes away the, what do I want to say as I move my eye line, it takes away the imagination a little bit at the, at the person’s eyes are just kind of like floating in different places.
It takes your mind off of what’s actually happening. What they’re looking at. You, there’s a soft smile. There’s like, you know, you can really feel like they’re engaging with you. And they’re looking directly down the barrel of the lens. Usually that just looks a little bit better than a teleprompter might be right above the lens. And I’m looking up, or they’re looking down even sometimes on zoom calls when people are, uh, doing podcasts and you can kind of see the eyeline go crazy. So when it comes to scripting, it’s going to be really important to know on a video side, if your host is used to reading, if they prefer bullet points and kind of go off the riff, but really making sure that their eye line is like really engaged with the audience is really important. And then, like I said, how well educated they are on the product or the service that they’re selling, if it’s their business and they know what they’re talking about, most likely like Christine prefers off the script might actually do a little bit better for them to just get, uh, some of the points out.
But if it’s an ad, if it’s a sponsorship, if there’s a particular line that you have to say, if there’s a particular promo code that you have to say, sometimes, you know, you just gotta be patient with whether or not your host or the person recording has enough experience to be able to kind of be that one in done person or needs a couple of takes. And this on the producer side, audio or video, this is really where you get to step up and let them know whether or not you need them to re-say something or reshoot something or to, um, you know, do something over again. You have to think about the edit and the people that need to make sure that, uh, all the script is being followed. But I know when I first started out as a producer, it was hard for me to say, oh, that wasn’t so good.
We have to do that again. Or your island was a little off or your body language seemed a little bit stiff, but we want it to be really loose and fun. Um, so as a producer, as you’re scripting and you’re rewriting, and you’re kind of following this particular video all the way down the pipeline until it’s completely finished, it really is your job to stand for quality and to make sure that it’s done in the way possible. So, like I said, for video, we have a couple of things that we’re looking at, what they’re saying. Um, Christine actually mentioned before we started recording that the difference between audio and video sometimes is when she’s re uh, editing the audio, she can kind of cut between different lines of someone might stumble or say, um, or have a couple of pauses we’re on video, those jump cuts, you know, just don’t look great.
So sometimes instead of starting off in the middle of a sentence, the person I have to start all the way from the beginning of the script, just so that the edit will flow and look good. So there’s different things to consider on the audio versus the video side of things. But overall, it’s having a really solid script and just being prepared to rewrite all the way through the production process. And I’m kind of like Christine, I like the off the riff. I like the fun, conversational part of things, but as I’m growing in my, you know, um, my experience in producing more, it’s like, can I write a script that actually the dialogue sounds conversational and as the person’s reading it, it doesn’t sound like it’s scripted. You know, that’s sort of the whole point of it in the first place is that it does sound like it’s coming right off the top of the person’s brain, or it sounds like people can relate to it when they’re reading it.
So whichever way you prefer the off the cuff or the scripting always just try to do better and better and get better at your craft. That’s what think like producer is about, it’s like calling you to a higher rank, but also just constantly standing for quality. Um, and if you have more questions about scripting, more questions about production, anything we’ve talked about in previous episodes, anything we talk about in episodes coming up, Christine also have a group coaching program that you can learn more about. If you are watching, you can click the link. Um, actually like on the card on the video, if you are listening, you can click down in the show notes and you can learn more about this particular program, but it really gives us a, you know, we’re generalizing here so that we get hit everybody. But when you join our group coaching program, you get individual training. You’re able to really follow a certain course that works really well for your particular company and where you’re trying to go with your podcasting in your media. So please click below for more information. We’d love to talk to you more about this and like always thank you for listening. Please subscribe, leave a review. If this episode really stood out to you, we’d love to hear why and how we can help you even more, have a beautiful, beautiful rest of your week. And we will see you on the next episode of think like a producer.
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