a scriptwriter writing

VoiceTalks AV Series: What does a scriptwriter do?

The answer to the question “What does a scriptwriter do?” seems straightforward, right? Sure – a scriptwriter writes scripts, but do you really need a dedicated scriptwriter to prepare content for something like a marketing or eLearning audiovisual project? Can’t you save time and money if you skip hiring a pro – and just develop the entire script yourself? After all, it’s just a matter of cooking up the story by popping everything into the pot and stirring. All the ingredients are there, aren’t they?

Well, yes. And no.

Ultimately, it depends on your needs. Why? Because it depends on how good you want your product to be.

scriptwriter writing
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

A superb audiovisual project requires a solid foundation to stand on if your goal is to make it memorable.

Many a great director will tell you, without a good script, there is nothing.

Consequently, from a short online commercial or a long-form documentary video, AV projects require pointed, well-structured scripts to get the right message across to the target audience.

This is where a professional, versatile, and talented scriptwriter comes into play.

What goes into the scriptwriter role?

First of all, there’s more to the role of a scriptwriter than only writing stories for audiovisual projects. To formulate a solid and convincing script, scriptwriters must cover every angle of the project. Let’s dive deeper into what goes into the role of a scriptwriter.

Develop and research original ideas

A producer or director might not always know what message they want to share with their target audience. They usually only have a rough idea of what they want the final product to look like. When they share these ideas with a scriptwriter, they develop and research original ideas to support that vision.

If you’re the producer or director, a scriptwriter will take into consideration all your notes for the audiovisual project. They’ll brainstorm and come up with an original take on your vision, or suggest changes or alternatives that could potentially work even better for you.

Create a complete framework for the script

Coming up with characters, setting the theme and tone of the dialogue, and choosing the voice actor’s accent are crucial job roles of a scriptwriter. Keeping your vision in mind, they generate and formulate a framework for the script to put things into motion. To be able to do so, a scriptwriter has to put in significant hours of research.

Weave in visual elements
image of movie set
Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash

For a purely audio project, a scriptwriter must set the tone of the dialogue. S/he must indicate to the voice actor how to read a particular line. However, this work increases tremendously if it’s an audiovisual project. Along with audio elements, a scriptwriter must incorporate the visual elements.

Questions like these come to mind:

  • Which props would work best for the scene?
  • What colors need to be dominant in the theme?
  • Should there be animation?
  • What should the actors wear in a particular scene?
  • How should they look?
  • What should the facial expressions of non-active actors in the scene be?

All of these visual elements must be carefully and seamlessly woven into the script by the scriptwriter to produce a well-oiled production machine.

Work with the story editor, producer, and director for adjustments

The scriptwriter must:

  • Ensure everything is in line with the vision of the producer and director.
  • Get the right message across effectively.
  • Edit, adjustment, and sometimes rewrite the script while working with the story editor, producer, and director.
  • Be creative, collaborative, and not precious about their writing!

The different types of scriptwriters

There’s no one single type of scriptwriter suited for all audiovisual projects. Depending on what your project is, you’ll need to hire the services of a particular kind of scriptwriter. This ensures your script is prepared by a writer with the relevant experience.

Showrunner or Head Scripter

Some big projects require multiple scriptwriters. In such cases, a Head Scripter or Showrunner must not only supervise the work of other writers, but also exercise creative control.


If you need to adapt a short film, feature film, or a long-form video for traditional broadcast, you will need to use the services of a screenwriter. These scriptwriters are experts in developing characters and molding their dialogue to suit the big-screen medium.

Video game creative writer

Video games require a whole different take on the story, because everything is often faster and dialogue is leaner. As a result, it’s wise to employ a talented writer with relevant experience in this niche.

Copywriter or Product Writer

In the case of product demos, commercials, and podcasts, a copywriter is a best-suited scriptwriter. The key here is catchy, rhythmical, and irresistible. It’s all about call-to-action and conversion.

Script doctor

Sometimes, what sounds impressive during the table reading doesn’t work when you get down to recording it. For such scenarios, talented script doctors are worth their weight in gold! If your original scriptwriter can’t be present, have a script doctor standing by so the essence of your message remains intact.

In conclusion…

actor reading a script
Image: Shutterstock

Remember, the strength and potential of your audiovisual project lie in the efficiency, relevancy, and creativity of your script. A simple product demo requires a scriptwriter as much as a feature film does.

To be able to engage your audience well and ensure quality conversions, getting a versatile scriptwriter on board is the best investment you’ll ever make!

And finally, we wish you the greatest success!

(This article is one of a six-part series; the other articles cover: What does a producer, a director, a casting agent, a sound engineer, and an editor do? Don’t forget to have a look at them as well!)


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