Writing for the Ear vs Writing for the Eye: Tips for Teleprompter Scripts

If you are new to writing scripts for a teleprompter, we have tips for you in this post. Writing for the eye differs from writing for the ear, and it is even more complicated if you are writing a teleprompter script for yourself versus for someone else. 

If you are writing a teleprompter script for someone else, make the process collaborative. In other words, after livestreaming or recording a video, ask the speaker if there is anything you could have done differently. Go back and watch their recording, and note any places where they stumbled or faltered while reading your script. Note places where they went off script and talk about why — use the feedback to get better and better every time.  

You don’t have to hire a professional Hollywood scriptwriter to create scripts for your teleprompter. We have a few tips that will help you get started. For more technical advice on how to use a teleprompter, we have a related post that covers that.

Top 10 teleprompter script tips

  1. Write short: Paragraphs should be no longer than two sentences. This makes it easier for the speaker to track lines as they read from the display. If your script uses longer paragraphs, the speaker may lose their place or have to hyper focus on the teleprompter to stay on track.
  2. Keep it tight: Do not put more than one line breaks in between your paragraphs. If you do, it can create an unnaturally long pause when read out loud. 
  3. Keep it simple: Write simple sentence structures. Simple sentences are easier to deliver and sound more natural when read out loud. This means no complex sentences, semicolons or run-ons.
  4. Write the way your speaker speaks: Contractions are natural in everyday speech, so use them in your script. An exception is if you’re trying to create emphasis. For example, you might use “do not” instead of “don’t” to highlight a point.
  5. Avoid jargon and formal language: Use everyday words whenever possible. This will sound more natural and often makes the message more clear and relatable to the audience. 
  6. ALL CAPS vs sentence caps: Teleprompter scripts are often displayed in all caps because it is easier to read on small screens. While this is standard, your presenter may not know it and take the caps as a form of emphasis, especially if they are new to reading from a teleprompter. If this is a concern, let the presenter know that caps do not indicate emphasis. 
  7. Use phonetics: If you need to use words that are outside of everyday speech or hard to pronounce, include a phonetic version of the word in parentheses. You can use Google Translate to listen to the word and create a phonetic version. 
  8. Practice, even if you’re not the speaker: Read your script out loud, trying to keep a natural pace. This will give you a good idea of the length of the speech and identify anything that needs to be smoothed out. If something doesn’t sound right or causes you to stumble, rewrite it.
  9. Spell out everything: Write out all numbers and abbreviations. So instead of writing 10,500, write ten thousand, five hundred. This is easier for the speaker to read at a glance.

Collaborate with the presenter to make sure you are on the same page when it comes to how to include script cues and where pauses and emphases belong. This is a great way to ensure that the script is effective and that the delivery is effortless. 

Common Teleprompter Cues 

Teleprompters have different capabilities, so it is important to find out what these are in order to properly format your script. The following are common cues you can incorporate in order to help the presenter deliver a successful speech. 

The teleprompter script writer and speaker should learn teleprompter language together and run through the first few scripts together, to ensure you are speaking the same language and not confusing each other. 

  • (((PAUSE))) — This indicates a natural pause in the rhyme of the sentence. 
  • Ellipsis — These can be used to indicate … pauses, in addition to or in place of (((PAUSE))) cues. 
  • (((STARTS))) — Use this to indicate the beginning of the material.
  • (((ENDS))) — Use this to let the speaker know that no more lines will be displayed.
  • [Gestures] — You can use brackets to indicate a gesture such as a smile, hand motion or other physical motion.
  • Asterisk — These can be used to indicate new paragraphs, indentions or bullets.

See how many ways there are to emphasize text? Choose one or two and stick with those tactics to avoid confusing your speakers.

Delivery Tips for Teleprompter Users

Once you have a solid script prepared, it’s time to consider the delivery. Even if you’re not the one presenting the material, you should listen and take notes. This can help you create more effective scripts in the future. If you are delivering the speech, you can use these strategies to make it an engaging experience for everyone: 

  • Practice reading the speech exactly like you want to present it, including the pacing. Do it as many times as it takes for it to feel natural. 
  • Remember that natural speech changes in pace, so reflect that in your delivery. Some sections will need more energy and a quicker pace while others may need you to slow down.
  • Don’t forget the value of pausing to let people really think about the things you’re saying. While you shouldn’t overuse this tactic, pausing after a thoughtful point can be powerful.
  • Focus on sounding and looking natural when you speak. It’s easy to let nerves get the best of you leading to a robotic delivery. Practice will help you overcome this common problem. 
  • Give your speech in front of a mirror in order to get comfortable seeing and hearing yourself talk out loud. 

You should also ask a few people to listen to you deliver the material. This will give you a chance to hear constructive feedback and get comfortable speaking in front of others. And don’t forget, practice really does make perfect so drill your material until you feel completely comfortable. 

Teleprompter Script Template

Don’t overthink the format of a teleprompter script. You don’t need a sample teleprompter script to get started. You already have everything you need once you’ve downloaded the Padcaster Parrot app. The Parrot teleprompter app eliminates the need for managing a cumbersome teleprompter script template or form.

If you follow the tips that we have listed in this article, you have everything you need to create professional teleprompter scripts. 

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