Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Writing for YouTube

If you've subscribed to my YouTube channel, you are aware that I've been pretty busy making content for that site.  More so than I have been when it comes to writing print reviews (though I AM redesigning my website in the background, so that takes up a lot of time).  Most of the time I don't write my YouTube rants.  I simple turn on the microphone, say my peace, edit out parts of the argument that don't fit or get too much off topic, and then add some pictures and videos to the audio before posting it for the world to see.  On occasion though I will need to sit down and write a script for a video.  This is when I want to tackle a subject that requires many points to be made and has lots of little details I can't mess up on or else the comment trolls will jump all over you.  These videos I need to write down so I have a frame of reference when I record.  If I'm on camera I need to put them on the computer screen and move my head in a way that doesn't give off the impression I'm reading a script.

Here's the thing though... I'm not a screenplay writer.  For all the skills I have in writing, editing, and forming a proper sentence, screenplays have always given me trouble because they are too vague and brief.  You don't spend a lot of time detailing scenarios because that's what the director will be doing.  Dialog can't go on too long because there are other characters on screen.  I have written screenplays for unproduced shorts, but they were by far the most difficult things I had to write.  Yet I now find myself in a situation where writing scripts are necessary sometimes.  So how do I write them?  How do I recommend you write them?  Honestly, this is the one subject that you are on your own with.  There is no proper way to write a script for a YouTube video.  No one is going to see what you write (unless there is a cast).  The formatting doesn't matter because no one will be able to pick it out when the final video is produced and uploaded.

The way I write my scripts are very much like I would write any other blog post.  This makes sense because I write reviews and columns, and my videos consist mostly of rants and editorials.  With very few exceptions, I am simply writing a blog post that I will be reading out load.  On some pages I will make a note of certain images I need to have on screen at the time or certain sound effects I want to edit in for a humorous effect.  I don't edit them to the extent I do with my print material because I know no one will ever read them.  The thing is, I really don't like writing scripts because they are so much like blog posts that I am usually tempted to just clean them up and upload them as is.  I can sometimes forget the reason these are being written for YouTube is because a visual element is required to really drive the point home.

As much as I love the written word, we live in a generation of people who get their information visually and on little mobile devices.  I don't like to encourage that (which is why The Movie has not been mobile friendly up to this point), but I do have to follow the audience to a certain extent because that's where the money is.  I still update these crusty old blogs and websites because I do believe words have meaning.  Plus, when I have to write a script, I feel bad because I know the thing is just going to get tossed in the garbage once the video has been filmed.  Maybe this is an unjustified phobia, but it almost feels like I'm throwing away hard work when I do that (I wonder if that makes me a writing hoarder...).  Ultimately for me the process of writing a review and a YouTube script isn't much different, but depending on the type of video content you produce, your mileage may vary.


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