By Katie Anderson, Lead Scriptwriter at Consensus, @KMussman
This month I’ve been a crowdfunder, an international currency exchanger, a tractor specialist, an SEO specialist, and much more.
And that’s just this month.
One of the reasons I initially got into writing was to learn. I love learning about something new every day and meeting new and interesting people. Journalism, and now scriptwriting, are the perfect outlets for my never ending thirst for knowledge. Something that comes along with writing about multiple (sometimes foreign) topics are the “voices” you need in order to convey the right messages.
I have had a distinct writing voice for many years and finding a way to channel it in different directions was a challenge at first. I am still striving to become better, but here are a few tricks that have helped me when trying to write in a voice I don’t usually use about topics I know nothing about.
1. Put yourself in their shoes
I am definitely not a freight specialist or a gear engineer, but I have had to write like someone who is an expert in these fields. I have found that talking to one of the company’s founders, reading their blogs, and sometimes doing a call where I can pick their brain helps immensely in matching the desired voice. If you want to sound like someone, you need to study them closely.
2. Have a strong information gathering technique
In order to voice something correctly, you need to have all of the background information. You need to figure out the best way for you to gather information about a company. For me, a Business Discovery Questionnaire (or a BDQ) is the best way to gather information. The questionnaire employs questions that follow the scripting format and that teach me about the product’s functionality. This is how I get all of my information about the company, its pain points, and the product. Without the right information, you can’t get the right tone and voice.
3. Run your ideas by the approver and accept all feedback
I have learned that the only way to learn is to jump right in. There have been times where I do not fully understand what I’m writing about much less the voice to use when writing the script. This can be really, really scary. You wonder if you’re making a fool of yourself. You know what? Sometimes you don’t get it right the first time, and that’s okay. Once you accept that you’re not an expert on the subject and your first draft is not going to be perfect, you’ll succeed a lot more often. I learn the most when I take the draft I’ve written to the expert and welcome all of their feedback. It’s not always fun, but you learn. Once you have everything correct, you can feel more comfortable about focusing on the voice if you haven’t quite found it yet.
None of these tips are mind-blowing or special, but they are important when writing a script. What is your advice for writing with different voices?