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How To Write A Voice Over In Screenplay

Adam Scott

There are only a few differences between a spoken script and a voice over.

The biggest difference is that voice over for a screenplay is not a continuous script. A screenwriter must decide in advance which line to place and in what order to have the lines spoken in the screenplay.

For a spoken script, a screenplay writer must listen to each line of dialogue in the scene and visualize each line as the camera pans. A screenwriter must also make sure that the spoken script stays consistent with the visual movement of the scene.

How to create a voice over script in screenplay formatFree to use license. Please attribute source back to "useproof.com".

There is no need to first write an outline of your screenplay and edit. The important thing is that you pick your spoken word and add it to your screenplay.

This is the essential step.

Now that I am writing scripts for voice over, I am able to use this script to get the voice over flow that I want.

My writing guide to screenplay voice overwoman in black tank top wearing black headphones

My writing guide is only 5 pages long. It includes the outline for the spoken voice over and the specific script sentences that I used to write the spoken dialogue.

I often use this template in my scripts.

The general shape for a spoken script is like this:

  • Opening sentence
  • First line
  • Second line
  • Third line
  • Closing sentence

As you can see it’s a one line-long sentence, and then a “continue with narration” statement, and then a voice over sentence.

The introduction line should be different for each spoken line. If you have too many of them, it becomes hard to read the spoken voice over script.

It’s essential to include the word “comedy” in the introduction line.

Once a spoken line begins with “comedy,” it should be repeated within the sentence.

If you don’t have the word “comedy” in the introduction line, the narrator will say something like “My friends know me as ‘The Man who calls’” which sounds like a punch line.

The wording in the introductions should provide a clue as to the comedy of the script. The actor can’t depend on you to provide that information; they need to know what you’re referencing.

This is one of my favorite lines in the whole script. This isn’t just funny, it’s the best first line you could use:

My cat Nicky disappeared yesterday, and I think she’s been kidnapped. I took this photo of her yesterday, when I looked in her mouth, there was a huge gash in her cheek. This is the only photo I have of her.

By the way, this line is provided by the narrator because he’s telling the audience what’s going on in the script. He’s not adding any other information. He’s just letting you know what the actor is saying.

Why should I write voice over in screenplay?Male podcasting and explaining.

Let’s say you have a great story idea for a movie. A popular one, by the way.

It’s a super commercial one, with much potential for box office success.

This is how a writer thinks. They write a screenplay around their story idea and an interesting cast.

The script is a great read, and quite well received. So much so that producers are interested in it.

However, if they were to pitch their movie to the movie studios, they’d be rejected time and time again. Why?

The reason: the movie simply does not have the necessary marketing buzz to reach the masses. It doesn’t have enough success behind it.

It’s simply not commercial enough, and the studios would rather invest their money on something that is commercially successful.

Unfortunately, most screenwriters are not good at selling their stories. They’re not good at the marketing.

Not by a long shot.

The ideal scenario for the producer is to have their “great” story idea greenlit, but to then run it by a well-known script consultant, who will assess it and find ways to improve its script.

A script consultant might even help the writer find a director and make the movie a reality.

The movie studios are buying what they know. If your screenplay is more exciting, that’s what they’re going to pay for.

However, if your script is not very interesting, the studios will either reject it outright, or offer the writer a big chunk of cash, and then say they’ll try to make it more commercial with a director.

Either way, the result is the same: your script will fail. It’ll be so boring that the studios don’t even want to see it.

Luckily, you can do the work yourself.

You already know that a screenplay needs much more structure and direction than a story. In fact, the structure of a screenplay is completely different from the structure of a novel.

A screenplay is a simple continuous story. You might have a few stories that run together, but they’re still continuous.

A novel is more like a novel written in long story form.

So here’s the good news: Writing voice over in screenplay format is not a big stretch.

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