Table of Contents
- Write your own script – cost: $0
- Find a voice-over artist – cost: $100
- Option 1: Find an illustrator – $400 – $500
If your business hasn’t been able to commit to producing an explainer video, it may be because you’ve felt that having one made is a bit out of your budget.
Although a professionally produced explainer video can cost a pretty penny. In general, it’s better to let the pros handle production. Think of it this way, it’s a one-time investment and can pay back big time.
However, if you’re really strangled with budget restrictions and are able to dedicate some time to production, then keep reading.
In this post, I have broken down how to make an explainer video for just $1,000. This blueprint will help you streamline your efforts so you can bring your project into fruition.
Before you get started, though, it’s important to refine what you’ve got in mind; who you’re targeting, and what the desired outcome of your explainer video needs to be.
Here’s a brief overview of what this post will cover:
- Writing your own explainer video script
- Finding a voice-over artist
- Getting an illustrator or choosing a template
- Looking for accompanying music tracks
- Hiring an animator
Write your own script – cost: $0
The script will be the backbone of your explainer video. So, make sure you set aside time to really think it through and refine the concept.
Focus on getting your message across in the form of a story. Generally, a story sheds light on a problem or conflict, takes the audience on a journey, and then finally provides a resolution.
Here are some key business storytelling tips to keep in mind when you’re following the problem-solution format:
- Don’t make it all about you. Write a story that makes the viewer the center of attention. This allows them to get involved and invested in the story.
- Frame the problem in such a way that the viewer can immediately resonate with it.
- Guide them toward the solution. You as a company should play the role of a kindly guide, who is helping the hero on their journey.
- Show don’t tell. Conclude your story by helping your viewer understand how your product or service is the perfect option for the viewer and help them visualize how you can help resolve their issue.
- Have a clear CTA. The key to an effective explainer video script is to have a clear call to action so your audience knows where to go
Keep the story format in mind and then gather all your ideas to prepare the first draft of your explainer video script. After that, edit. Edit. Edit!
The ideal length of an explainer video is 60 to 90 seconds. A survey we recently conducted showed that 80% of people believe a product/service explainer video shouldn’t be longer than 60 seconds.
Here’s an 80-second explainer video we created for one of our clients.
See how we covered everything the viewer would need to know in such a short amount of time?
When you’re working with such tight timeframes, it’s crucial to have a script that can help viewers grasp important concepts in an engaging way. Here are some explainer video script dos and don’ts to keep in mind
Dos and Don’t of Explainer Video Scriptwriting
Tell a story. Use the guidelines mentioned above to convey your message in the form of a story. Follow the problem-solution format and prepare an explainer video script accordingly.
Distill the script. Try to outline the script in a 4 to 5 short lines. This will help you stay focused while you write your script.
Establish harmony between words and visuals. An explainer video whose words do not match up to its visuals will be incredibly confusing to watch. So make sure that the words and visuals complement each other.
Keep it simple. Avoid complex language and explain it using simple terminologies and analogies if possible.
Have a clear CTA. This needs to be incorporated into your script so it flows naturally.
Don’t pack too much information. Pick critical and necessary information to include in the video. Make the script clean, crisp, and tight. The worst thing you could do in an explainer video is ramble.
Don’t use jargons and abbreviations. Just because you and your team know what particular jargons mean and what certain abbreviations stand for, doesn’t mean that your audience will be quick to catch or understand them too. Try to unlearn what you already know and then try to convey your message.
Don’t make abstract references. Everything you’re trying to convey in your explainer video should be concrete and help with comprehension. If the references and analogies you use are vague, they won’t help explain anything.
Don’t use examples that your target audience may not be able to relate to or understand. Take culture, region, demographics, etc. into consideration when you’re writing an explainer video script. Use ideas and terminologies that your viewers will easily be able to understand.
Now let’s talk about some specifics. Since the sweet spot as far as the length of an explainer video is concerned is considered to be between 60-90 secs. You need to keep in mind how long your script is.
As a general rule of thumb:
150 words of script = 1 minute of audio
Therefore, if you’re looking to keep your video between 60-90 sec, then the script length should be between 150 – 225 words
Find a voice-over artist – cost: $100
Finding the right voice to lend to your characters or for narration can transform the tone of your overall explainer video. There are several voice-over styles you can choose from. Below are just a few examples:
Conversational, friendly, professional, animated, aged, aloof, commanding, ditzy, gritty, guttural, relaxed, resonant, etc.
If you’re going to use Upwork to look for voice-over artists, post a job with some details of what you require and ask for samples. See client reviews of freelancers before you make a decision to hire someone.
On Voices.com, you can search for voice-over artists based on the particular style you want and budget, too.
Send your preferred voice-over artist a proposal with a sample of your script and other directions. If you like the sample they submit, you can then create a project and get the job done.
Once you have your voice-over sorted, you can proceed further.
For the next step, you have two routes to choose from, depending on your budget and preference, you can go with either of the below options:
Option 1: Find an illustrator – $400 – $500
The next stage of video production is to get someone to design the scenes of the storyline of your video including the characters, backgrounds, etc.
This is essentially where you’ll get to see your concept come to life.
Post a job on Upwork and find an illustrator that has previously done explainer video storyboards and illustrations.
You can look through their portfolio (most illustrators have online portfolios you can peruse and get a sense of their personal style and attention to detail.)
To attract great talent, you’ll need to post a professional-looking job that highlights what is required and the time frame you want the project to be completed in. A good description of a job post would look something like this:
We’re looking for an illustrator that can help us in creating an explainer video storyboard. We will also need help with storyboarding and conceptualization. We have a 150-word script and will probably require between 7 – 12 scenes illustrated.
Here’s an example video that we like and expect a similar level of quality:
(Share your example)
We’re looking to have the illustrations completed within 10 days. Please provide a fixed cost estimate along with relevant samples of your work. Please also highlight how many revisions are included in your cost.
Typically, Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Ukraine, Romania, etc. seem to produce great illustrators, and they charge a very reasonable amount, too.
Whenever you’re working with remote talent, just remember that communication is key. So, make sure that whoever you select, you’ll be able to communicate clearly with the artist.
Be sure to give them an idea of what you have in mind, in terms of character design, overall art style, etc.
Remember to remain open to input. The illustrator may be able to refine what you have in mind even more and come up with more interesting ideas that you could implement.
Option 2: Choose a premade template – $50
If hiring an illustrator is proving to be a bit too steep for you, then this one’s a budget-friendly option and can save you plenty of time, too.
You’ll find great templates on Videohive. Here are some of my favorite picks:
Pick a template that you like and feel is most suitable for your brand. You can then tweak it however you like once you’ve purchased your favorite.
It’s important to note that though templates can be convenient, you may not be able to bring your exact vision to life with them.
If you want your explainer video to be unique and consistent with your brand tone and identity, then I would suggest that you go with hiring an illustrator so you can get the specifics exactly to your liking.
Template, at the end of the day, have their limitations and may not help you stand out from the countless other explainer videos out there.
Pick a music track – $50
Sound and music can add a whole new dimension to your explainer video. Auditory stimuli are universally recognized as an emotional driver for humans.
Take advantage of the resources available online and make sound your ally to create a truly effective explainer.
Where to find tracks for your explainer video
There are plenty of websites where you can find suitable tracks for your explainer video. Audiojungle is one of the most popular ones out there.
It has a massive library of cost-effective sounds with simple licensing.
Other options include PremiumBeat, Pond5, Epidemic Sounds, Jamendo, Bensound, and more.
For more information on sites to choose from, check out our post on where to find background music for your video content.
You should also think about the genre of music you want to go with. Each has its own unique attributes and can add life to your explainer video.
In our post on how to choose background music for your explainer video, we talk about this in more detail.
Hire an animator – $300 – $400
If you went with custom illustrations in our previous step, you’ll need to find an animator that can animate all the scenes created by the illustrator.
If you use Upwork, you can post a job that may look something like this:
We’re looking for an animator that can animate illustrations of an explainer video. We have the illustrations already designed. There are a total of 12 illustrations.
Here’s an example video that we like and expect a similar level of quality:
(Share your example)
We’re looking to have the video completed within 10 days. Please provide a fixed cost estimate along with relevant samples of your work. Please also highlight how many revisions are included in your cost.
To find the perfect fit, review work submitted by the animators in their proposal.
When evaluating animation samples, pay close attention to the movements of the elements/characters, instead of how the elements or characters are designed/illustrated.
Once you’ve found your animator, share the script, voice-over, music, and illustrations with them.
If you went with a premade template, you only need to share the script, voice-over, music, and any ideas for the story you may have with the animator. They’ll be able to create the video by leveraging premade scenes and animations from the template pack.
The bottom line is that creating your own explainer video isn’t impossible. But your results may not be at par with what a professional explainer video production agency can produce. So, keep that in mind.
If, however, you have can invest in a professionally-made explainer video, the production agency will also devise a strategy on how you can get the most out of your explainer.
These valuable insights are based on the production agency’s experience. They know precisely what works and what doesn’t. It’s a major benefit of working with a video production agency that specializes in explainers.
If you’d like to talk more about video, connect with me on LinkedIn.