#1 – Paragraphs and Columns
The script should be clearly divided into paragraphs and/or columns. A rule of thumb is:
- One column for text (voice-over text only)
- One column for file names
- One column for time codes, and
- One column for directions/comments to the voice talent. See our example below.
If you don’t need either timing or file naming, and the directions are quite simple, a document with paragraphs and non-complex sentences will be sufficient.
#2 – Line Breaks and punctuation
Line breaks and punctuation will help the voice talent with natural pauses and knowing when to take a breath.
If sentences are too long, the voice talent may be forced to take a breath and make a pause where you really don’t want one.
#3 – Text Formatting
- Font: We won’t tell you which font to use, but this kind of font makes it very hard for the voice talent to read your script. So choose a font that is straightforward – and use the same font all the way through the script.
- Size: Not too small, not too big. 3-16 pt. in MS Word terminology. The text should be easy to read both on a computer screen and on prints.
- Colors: Basically, keep it simple, avoid colors – black or blue text on white is preferred. Too many colors will only create doubt about what is the actual voice-over text.
- CAPS LOCK: DON’T! It’s hard to read a text all in capital letters, and it kind of gives the impression that you were shouting when writing the script, And that can actually affect the voice-over style, when the voice talent records.
- Bold or Italic text can be used to indicate where the stress in a sentence should be spoken. It’s always a good idea to include a key/instructions at the head of the page explaining exactly what is required when words have been modified in this way.
- When you send us the final approved script, make sure that you send us a document without internal comments and tracked changes
#4 – Pronunciation Guide
You need to check your text for any words that may be hard for the voice talent to pronounce – and remember that a brand name or the name of a city may be easy for you to say because you know the names, but to an outsider, they may not be so obvious. You need to look at your text with “unfamiliar” eyes and make a list of all the words that need to be explained. You can make either a written phonetic guide or upload an audio file to our Memory Bank, to start creating your pronunciation database.
Check your text for:
- Brand/product/personal/place names
- / # & other signs and symbols