How to Plan an Animated Video

A man sitting in a director's chair holding a megaphone and pointing

Is this the year you get that killer marketing video for your business?

I’ve broken the process down into five simple steps to plan, script and design an animated video that will have you booking a yacht for Cannes 2023, such will be your excitement.

Nail the messages and their order, then the rest is just fun.

1. Messages

First and foremost, get your key messages set in stone. Your best marketing points, important facts about the product, your brand tagline, your website.

Once you have these messages, decide on the order in which you want to present them. I like to write each vital point on a bit of paper, then shuffle them around into the loose order for my script. With that skeleton, writing your animated video is much easier.

2. Scripting

Once you have a solid plan in place, it’s time to write your copy. This can be a script for your voiceover or a list of talking points if you plan on recording yourself. Keep it concise and avoid using industry jargon – remember, you want to connect with your audience, not confuse them.

My toppest tip-top tip for video scripting is to record yourself saying the copy out loud. This will give you a better idea of how it will sound in the final video and allow you to make any necessary adjustments. It’s also brilliant guidance for a voiceover artist, if you go down that route, because they’ll know where you want stresses and pauses.

Just like any good story or joke, you need peaks and troughs to keep things interesting. Play your recording to other people to see if it’s hitting.

3. Storyboards

Next up are our storyboards. A storyboard is a series of drawings or images that outline the visual elements of your video, including shots, transitions, and dialogue.

They sound fancy and difficult but they can literally be the line of copy plus notes on visuals if you’re not working with a designer at this point. We’re not really designing right now anyway; we’re organising the story and the flow of messages.

At this stage, you may find your script evolving because you’re observing it more as the end user. That’s one of the reasons storyboarding is so useful: it’s literally your story.

4. Visual style

Once you have your copy and visuals planned out, it’s time to focus on the design and visual aspects of your animated video. Your designer will have a great start with your basic storyboards, so they’ll just need a bit of a brief on vibe and style.

A great way to get this across is to find other ads you like as examples, but also give as much detail in writing.

Example animated video design brief:

We want the video to make the product seem very easy, so good pace and upbeat music. We think characters would help illustrate the steps, but they shouldn’t be too childish as this product is for adults (see example videos).

We’d like to use our actual app screens embedded in the animation, so they’re instantly recognisable, but some animation should highlight the taps on the screens.

Please see our brand guidelines for colours, fonts and icon styles for consistency.

5. Voiceover vs. text

Finally, it’s time to think about whether your script will be voiced or subtitled. Personally, I hate having to play videos with volume and I think subtitles are 1. better for sight-impaired people 2. better for people on their phones and 3. umm…cheaper!

Using a voiceover artist adds a few more steps: choosing who to work with, briefing them, time in a studio and refining an edit. When you can just include copy in the design or as subtitles, that may be a few steps too many.

Time to create

If you’re just getting started, it can seem like quite a big task to plan an animated video. However, it IS all in the planning. Your designer (and animator, if your designer doesn’t do both) needs a clear and detailed brief of the messages, key visuals and vibe.

Armed with that level of detail, they then have space to do their real work: creating an incredible animated video.

7 thoughts on “<span>How to Plan an Animated Video</span>”

Comments are closed.