Writing for moving images - Creative Writing

English Language > Creative Writing > Writing for moving images

Task 2: writing the words for a voice-over

The style of your writing will depend on your audience, but whatever words you use (casual and youth-friendly, or more formal and adult-focused) you need to think about these key ideas:


Include the following information in your voice over:

  • Date: all scripts have a broadcast date, so give your script one.
  • Client/audience: the programme and target audience.
  • Title: summarising the content of your voice-over.
  • Images: the pictures you'll be using.
  • Music: any music used to establish atmosphere or tone.
  • Sound effects (SFX): any sound used (eg weather or traffic noises).
  • Time: how long the piece lasts (allow three words per second, so 180 words per minute).

You could then lay out your script like this:


00:00A picture of a perfect day in the countryside.Nature, a place of dreams.
00:04A picture of a tornado.And nightmares.
00:08A picture of the setting sun.

But which will triumph is ultimately up to us.

That's because the way we live today affects the world of tomorrow - the world our children will inherit...

Organising your script like this will help you to demonstrate how the different elements work together. It will also help you keep your focus on the form.

A voice-over has different elements that need to work together:

Words: The script should flow well and be easy to read. The sentences should be short and simple. Read it through and see if you keep running out of breath. Wherever you do, try making the sentence shorter.

Images: Scripts need to show how words and images work together. You need to be clear where your images fit in the script. For example, you could write one paragraph per image. Don’t describe the images, let them speak for themselves. Leave gaps in your voice-over so viewers can take in the images you have chosen.

Purpose: When you have completed a first draft of your voice-over, imagine how it will look on the screen as you read it. Does it:

  1. Inform - give the key bits of information my audience needs to know.
  2. Persuade - get people to change their minds or give money?

Remember, informing and persuading can both be done through both words and images, for example:


  • Key facts and statistics
  • Clear, logical information
  • Diagrams, charts and graphs
  • Illustrations of key details given in the text
  • Groups or three and repetition for emphasis
  • Use of personal pronoun (we, you, they)
  • Emotive words
  • Emotive pictures
  • Atmospheric images
  • Pictures of people, linking ideas to real situations

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