News Scripts – Writing to Visuals – Part 1

Television news scripts are written keeping the visuals in mind. It has to be crisp and easy to understand. An outstanding script can be churned out if the There are a few fundamentals if kept in mind can churn out an outstanding script.

The art of writing to visuals

Writing to visuals is an art. If you describe too much about what you are seeing, then the audience will not be happy. They may think, “we can see it ourselves, why do you want to explain”. On the other hand, if one doesn’t explain the visual context, they may end up being confused. So the reporter has to talk about and explain what the viewer is seeing, at the same time cannot overdo.

TV script is for the ear

In television, there is no scope of rewinding or reading the news again as one can do in a newspaper. This means the script has to be written for the ear; Easy to understand with short and simple sentences.

Tongue twisters are to be avoided and care should be taken to ensure the right meaning is conveyed while similar sounding words are used. The sentences should also sound interesting and lively.

Use Active Voice

Active voice works better for voice-overs. It uses a lesser number of words and is direct. Just read the example aloud and you will realise how the active voice makes the difference. Example: Active: The policeman caught the thief. Passive: The thief was caught by the policeman.

Present Tense is more appropriate

The broadcast news is supposed to bring in the latest and hence the urgency needs to be shown in words as well. The news you hear should sound like current and representing the moment.

Example: “The President says that the country’s economy is stable and has shown improvements in the last six months”. Instead of saying, “While speaking to the industry experts yesterday, the President said that the economy is stable”.

Part two to be published soon…

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