Do you have a specific music video that astonishes you so much that you keep rewatching it?
The world of music videos is an exciting one, but also one that likes planning.
Just like in movies, music videos have their main character: A music video script.
Let us walk you through the main steps on how to create this script yourself!
If you are new to filmmaking and want to learn all the “why’s” and “how’s”, get started with our guide on indie film production!
How to write a music video script
A music video script only sounds complicated. In fact, even a beginner filmmaker can nail it.
You only have to carefully follow the 5 steps described below.
The 5 steps of a music video treatment
1. Brainstorm video ideas while listening to the music
Before drawing out a plan of the video, sit down and listen to the song you’re going to build your concept around.
What is the music style? What vibes do you catch? What are the lyrics and the story behind the song?
These questions will help you hit the spot and match your visuals with the audio more precisely.
Then you can move on to actual brainstorming of video ideas. Listen to the song again and write down any associations and visions about how it could look like with a video going.
Pay attention to instrumentals - you can emphasize and accentuate a beat or an instrumental part with a specific video effect or scene change.
Think of the pace of the video and its style. Decide if you will focus more on the vocalist’s performance or tell a real-life or fictional story with your video.
2. Breakdown your music video script
Breaking down a script means developing your initial ideas and breaking them down on a spreadsheet or piece of paper so that you can keep track of them and rearrange them if needed.
We are ready to help you out on that - download the free music video script template and just fill it in!
You can do it with an A/V format, or audio/visual script. This means connecting three dots: the timing, the audio/lyrics, and the visual representation.
When you start to align them, you get a clearer picture of what your music video would look like.
After you’ve done this quick outline, elaborate on your visual ideas as precisely as possible.
Think of who, what, and where: who is the main character of the scene, what is happening or what is he/she doing, and what type of location you imagine it to be. You will get back to location scouting later in the planning process as well.
As you are picturing these detailed outlines, you might also consider planning your shooting budget. For music videos, it can range from $5000 to $500 000, so your costs and needed equipment will be defined by your financial capabilities.
3. Create a storyboard and a shot list
A storyboard is a visual representation of your video sequence. It breaks down the action into individual panels through a series of drawings with camera direction and other important details.
A shot list is a big template that tells the crew what is going on in each scene - the type of shot (establishing shot, close up, full, medium close up, etc), the type of camera movement (pan, tilt, dolly, zoom, etc), the camera angle, the type of transition between the scenes, and any other relevant specs.
The storyboards can be drawings - get ready to grab a pen and sketch some rough ideas of how you see specific shots.
Alternatively, you can use creative organizational tools like Milanote that will help you create storyboards and map out key visuals.
You will need to decide how many shots you want to have in your music video, and how are they connected to one another.
List all the equipment necessary for each shot so that you don’t have to worry on set about forgetting an essential gear or accessory.
4. Scout for shooting locations
While mapping out your ideas and transforming them into an actual music video script, don’t forget to spend time scouting locations. Think about the available options and align them with your preliminary budget.
Consider the video story - does it need to feature multiple locations, or would one or two do?
Many music videos are shot in a single location for the sake of saving your and your crew's time.
Moving between many different scenes can be time- and money-consuming, especially if every time you need a different set, costumes, light, and so on.
However, if that is still the case for you, make sure you visit each of them beforehand to see if they fit into your overall concept.
If your budget for the music video is limited, think of open areas and public spaces. Don’t be shy to try out with some more private locations.
While some will have a strict policy of no filming, others might be happy to get featured to receive some publicity.
5. Finalize the shooting schedule
When your music script is ready, you will have a clear picture of how extensive and complicated your shooting will be. Decide on the shooting schedule following that.
With some videos, you can make it within one day, while others might require more time to produce a quality piece.
Create a shooting schedule that outlines the sequence of scenes, their locations, and shooting times. This will make it easier for you and your crew, however big or small, to understand the process and timings.
Consider the time of the day and how lightning changes - you might want to adapt your schedule to that as well.
Learn more in-depth about music video production
So you’ve done your music video script. What’s next? Learn the essentials of the whole music video-making process, from pre- to post-production, in our ultimate guide!
Psst. Inside the guide, you’ll find a surprise - a link to the video tutorial on how to make music videos from one of Wedio community creators, Eypee Kaamiño!
How to write a music video script?
To write a music video script, you will need to map out audio and video with the timing of the song, create a storyboard, and scout locations.
What does a music video script look like?
The music video script looks like a three-column table where you can align the song’s timing, the lyrics, and the video parts.
What is the format of a music video?
The music video is usually an MP4 file.