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Words per minute?
Hi folks,

I'm writing my first script for a corporate promotional video. Can anyone advise this newbie on how many spoken words per minute I ought to aim for? Outside limit of course... I understand that there won't be talking non-stop throughout the entire video.
Lara

Freelance writer / communicator
Emerging videographer!

Smithers, B.C. Canada
Quote Reply
Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
What I do is read the script out loud and time myself. I find this is better than an overall "wpm" figure, since there are generally specific blocks of narration that go with specific visuals.




Regards,
Doug Graham
Panda Productions
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Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
Hi Lara
Don't worry about words per minute. That doesn't matter at all. Just write a lean script that sticks to the point and gets the message across.
Answer these seven questions about your script and keep them in mind:

1. The goal of the video
2. Intended Audience -- who's gonna see it?
3. Setting - where is it taking place, why?
4. printed materials - is there any literature accompanying the video like a workbook perhaps?
5. Distribution - how you gonna get it out to people?
6. What countries will see it?
7. Updates - will you need to update the work in the future.

There's a great product that you can buy here called Professional Video Producer by Hal Landen. there's a study guide and a resource book and LOADS of other stuff that will have you ready to shoot in no time. Sample contracts that are adaptable to your needs, sample budgets, equipment etc. You should browse for it on this site. Seriously, I'm not working for Hal! Hope this helps a little bit - I'm embarking on shooting my 2nd Corporate Video epic myself - wish me luck!!
Quote Reply
Re: [dansen] Words per minute? In reply to
Thanks for that, both of you...

Sounds like there are a lot of Hal Landen devotees on this site. I am now one, after having purchased and read his excellent book and videographers' course!
Lara

Freelance writer / communicator
Emerging videographer!

Smithers, B.C. Canada
Quote Reply
Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
Yep...we came for the books, and stayed for the company! Cool

Of course, the reason Hal maintains these forums is that he's hoping it'll work the other way around sometimes...people coming for the company, and buying the books. Smile

Either way you do it, it's a fun place to be!




Regards,
Doug Graham
Panda Productions
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Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
Lara,

I have a very good friend of mine who is in the radio broadcast industry. She does professional voiceovers. Recently I had her do a project for me and she charged me $80.00 per hour for writing a script.

I hope this helps you.


Linda
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Re: [Linda] Words per minute? In reply to
Hi there Linda,

Thanks so much for your response! I think I must not have been clear... I was trying to figure out roughly how many spoken works per minute one should plan on in a script, as a rough guideline for how much script to write, not how much to pay/charge. But I appreciate that information.

After reading my stuff aloud, allowing some pauses in appropriate areas (understanding that there won't be talking through the entire video!) I think I've determined that about 100-120 words a minute seems to be about right. It's like radio... sure gotta say it quick.
Lara

Freelance writer / communicator
Emerging videographer!

Smithers, B.C. Canada

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Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
Hi Lara,

Sorry....I should have read your post more closely. Thanks for the reply. Keep us posted as to your progress with this project. It would be interesting to see your results!!

Thanks.


Linda
Quote Reply
Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
I sure hope your first assignment isn't to do a x minute video.... These never come out the waythe client expects.

Focus first on what information to cover, then put together words and visuals, then edit hard for extraneous material, then read/time it.

My last project wanted to do a 4 minute video, it ended up at 7 and they would not cut a thing.
Current project they wanted a 20-25 minute video, compromised to 10-15, script times out at nine minutes.
Next project they want 20 minutes, I think 6-8 will be more than adequate.

It's all about the story.
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Re: [DVXGalt] Words per minute? In reply to
Hi there...

No, thank goodness, my first assignment isn't like that. My client is actually very flexible: he's given me a budget of $10,000 to $20,000 (I'm confident I can do this on the low end of his budget), and only specified that it be "about 10 minutes... or less". I agree with him that an effective video will be shorter, rather than longer.

My usual way of approaching just about any writing project is to dive in, absorb the basics, make note of where/how I can get additional details as needed, consider the key message to be conveyed, pick the supporting arguments information... and then, before I've wasted a lot of time crafting beautiful sentences, carefully consider the specs of the assignment, like a word count. Then I put together an outline, usually put together in an Excel spreadsheet, with key idea, supporting statements, transitions, opening paragraph, round-up/conclusion... I work mainly in print, and this is usually pretty critical for editors I work with/for. By clarifying the essential parameters up front, I think I save myself a lot of work in editing, and researching, by not trying to cram in too much stuff or seeking out details I won't actually use. I am *never* stuck trying to fill space... on the contrary, I have to rein in my tendency to over-research, and cram too much in!

At any time during this process, if I feel stuck, I just disregard all the above and spend some time in "free flow"... just letting words surge out!... to ignite whatever creative fire I need to propel the writing process. This seems to work! I don't think I've ever experienced serious writers' block.

This is what I've done with all the script I've been working on... so far so good! My first draft is in his hands now.
Lara

Freelance writer / communicator
Emerging videographer!

Smithers, B.C. Canada
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Re: [videobear] Words per minute? In reply to
Word count can serve as a great shortcut; instead of reading the
script out loud to see about how long it's gonna be, just take the
total number of words (narration portion only) and divide by
160. That'll give you an approximate length in minutes.

News readers go about 175 words a minute, BTW.

For a 60 second spot, figure a max of 150 words...
For a 30 second spot, figure 75
For a 10 second spot, maximum of 25 words.

Steve
Doc Yankee's Marketing Mojo
http://www.DocsMarketingMojo.com
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Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
While I absorb as much information as possible so I know the subject matter, I then try to work the opposite direction. I first consider the visuals and sound, and then what cannot be conveyed in that manner gets voice over treatment. It doesn't always work that way, but one thing is for sure it makes use of the medium.
_________________________________________________

Great Voice/Great Price
http://www.voiceover-talent.net
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Re: [Bill Mecca] Words per minute? In reply to
Steve Yankee and Bill Mecca,

These are excellent tips. Steve, somehow I didn't get notification of your reply. Otherwise I would've thanked you sooner!

I knew there'd be such a thing as a words-per-minute guideline. Of course, I realize that narration won't fill the entire video and is preferable that it doesn't... but it's a good outside figure to work with. It's a good tip for radio production too.

As a freelance journalist who is often paid by the word for print articles, I find that without an outside word count for a given article, from which to develop an outline, I'd waste a lot of time over researching and crafting pretty phrases that just have to be hacked later. It's not enough to just think lean/tight: these outside parameters save a LOT of time.

Bill, that is an equally golden tip about starting out thinking in images, then words. Makes so much sense in this image-dominated medium.

Thanks both of you...
Lara

Freelance writer / communicator
Emerging videographer!

Smithers, B.C. Canada
Quote Reply
Re: [Lara] Words per minute? In reply to
Lara,

You're more than welcome.

One point I continue to drive home. or at least try to drive home with clients, is that the video is not a "white paper" it's a video.

It's a great medium, but there are things it does well and somethings it doesn't (at least effectively and efficently $$). You have to use it for what it is. If you try to cram too much in, you get what Kurt Vonnegut would call a blivet. And that does no one any good.Wink
_________________________________________________

Great Voice/Great Price
http://www.voiceover-talent.net