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Freedom Fone Audio Cookbook

Scriptwriting for Audio

General tips

  • Read out your text whilst writing, this helps you to check the flow of your words.
  • Do rehearsals: ask people to listen to your text and to give feedback. Be self-critical.
  • Help the listener to understand: use simple language, explain unknown words and abbreviations. Find an understandable structure for the information you offer e.g. begin with an overview and move into details chronologically.
  • If a term is introduced, for example the word "parliament", don't switch to another term in the same text, e.g. "assembly".
  • Keep sentences as short as possible.
  • Repeat important terms in order to remind the listener what you are talking about.
  • Avoid synonyms, they often confuse the listener.
  • Avoid using foreign words, if there is no alternative, provide a translation or an explanation.
  • If your script requires numbers, concentrate on just two or three key figures, those that are absolutely necessary. Round the numbers off if this is possible without changing the information content of your message. It is better to describe "50%" as "half" or "200" as "double" or "twice...".
  • When you talk about sizes, amounts or quantities of objects, it helps listeners to visualise what you are saying if you draw comparisons. It is best to draw your comparisons from your listeners’ frame of reference, things they know and can relate to. For example, instead of describing the height of a wall as “2 meters 40 centimetres”, it would be more effective to say the wall is “taller than a man”.
  • Remember you are the listeners' eyes. Describe to them what you see when you are reporting on location. Explain what things smell like, feel like or taste like where it is relevant.
  • If possible, write your script in the active voice. This will make it sound livelier and less stilted.
  • When you are quoting what someone else has said, make clear where the quote begins and where it ends by intonation and by saying "quote" and "end quote".

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