Filmora - AI Video Editor
Edit Faster, Smarter and Easier!
Filmora Video Editor
Effortlessly create video with AI.
  • Various AI editing tools to increase your video creation efficiency.
  • Offer popular templates and royalty-free creative resources.
  • Cross-platform functionality for editing everywhere.

How to write a good documentary script

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Aug 11, 22, updated Mar 27, 24

Hello guys, and welcome to another fantastic and informative article. Our today's topic is exciting as it's how you can write a good documentary script for your documentary video or film. As all of us know, the script is fundamental for any screenplay as it contains all the dialogues and instructions for the actors in written form. So that's why it is also essential for your audio or video documentaries. That's the reason why we are going to discuss this topic here today how you can be able to write effectively.

In this article
  1. What is a Documentary
    1. Literary Style
    2. Shot-Oriented
    3. Shooting Script
    1. Ensure the authenticity of the story
    2. Define the key issues
    3. Highlight the characteristics of the scene
    4. Visual Writing
    5. Guaranteed documentary viewing (Rhythm)
    6. Fully researched
  2. Documentary script examples
  3. Make your documentary script come true by using Filmora

Part 1. What is a Documentary?

To write a good documentary script, you should first know what a documentary is. A documentary is a genre usually used for non-fiction or reality-based films. Such type of films includes researched based representation of a specific subject like interviews of peoples involved in it, official documents related to it, and many more. Sometimes they tell us facts about a particular topic that only very few of us know. They are also beneficial to raising social issues to the officials and making others aware of them. Now that you know what a documentary is let's move forward to our next step, three popular types of documentary scripts.

Part 2. Three popular types of a documentary script

1. Literary Style

In this style, your only concerns are with the shooting ability of the text for which you should have camera sense, writing rhetorically (but not too much) with the text language literacy, and dividing the script into different paragraphs according to time space and scene. You don't have to describe the technical requirements of shooting in it.

2. Shot-Oriented

In this one, you have to write a detailed description of the action and the images which will be there in your screenplay without considering the script's literary merits and readability. Also, in this style, each scene is divided into paragraphs, and before starting each section, the writer should have mentioned the scene's location, time, mirror, and number. In simple words, this script style provides more detailed and deep instructions about the film or a documentary screenplay.

3. Shooting Script

The director usually uses this style of scripting. After the director of the film or the documentary, the screenplay reads the literary script. He writes a subordinate storyline, including the picture image and the sound, which he is agreed to represent in his film or documentary screenplay.

Part 3. Six basic theoretical knowledge about documentary script

1. Ensure the authenticity of the story

The first and most important step in writing a documentary screenplay is to make sure the material and information you use is accurate. Moreover, if your documentary script is based on a true story, you should first confirm the veracity of the tale before drafting the script. It elevates the level of your script's content quality.

2. Define the key issues

Another thing that makes a documentary script best is that it should define the critical issues of the topic upon which it relies. For example, writing a documentary script on a social problem, you should also define its key points. Also, you can add interviews of the experts, or the people involved in some story. It makes your documentary script more effective and influential for the audience.

3. Highlight the characteristics of the scene

Highlighting the characteristics of each scene of your script makes it much better and easy for others to understand. For example, if you have any fighting scene in your documentary film, you should have to define each thing that will be there and film it in your screenplay. Also, you can suggest or specify the location of each scene.

4. Visual Writing

Visual Writing means you should make it clear in your script which will be there in a specific scene. Moreover, it would be best if you also described your character's situation. It is the most necessary thing in a documentary script, so you should never take it side.

5. Guaranteed documentary viewing (Rhythm)

Another important thing you should take care of while writing a documentary script is that you should continue it in a rhythm, which means you have to pay good attention to the sequence of the events in your film. In other words, you should arrange your script's scenes effectively and accurately, making them in a rhythm.

6. Fully researched

Thoroughly researched data and information are the most necessary, especially when writing a script for a documentary screenplay. It would be best first to explore a particular topic on which you will write a documentary script and then start writing one. It makes your script the best and helps you write it because you will gain excellent knowledge of it by researching a particular topic. Also, it dramatically improves the quality of your script's content. So you should never leave this step before writing a documentary script.

Part 4. Documentary script examples

As you can see in the following example of a documentary script of a screenplay named "Albert Einstein." In the following script example, you can see that we have described the images on the left and the narrations on the right side of the table. Also, the primary sources have been highlighted in it and are in bold text, which will help others to recognize them.

Portrait of Albert EinsteinOnce Albert Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Pictures of Albert Einstein TheoriesHave you guys ever wondered why Albert Einstein is the most genius person in history?
Picture of Albert Einstein's Brain and then Common Human BrainWhy is he the only human to use his brain the most?
Some video shorts of Albert Einstein's interviewsWhy does he often forget his name even though he is too intelligent?
Pictures of Albert EinsteinThe answer to this question is in his quote, "The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."
Pictures of Albert Einstein TheoriesAlso, do you guys know what Albert Einstein said about his intelligence?

Some video shorts of Albert Einstein's interviews

He once said, "I have no special talent."
Pictures of Albert Einstein and then his brainHowever, he declined that he is brilliant.
Pictures of Albert Einstein TheoriesBut still, he is the one due to his various authentic and scientifically proven theories and experiments.

Part 5. Make your documentary script come true by using Filmora

The way you can make it happen after composing your documentary script for your film is ultimately what matters the most. Given that you have Wondershare Filmora, you shouldn't worry. You may quickly and successfully use this to bring your documentary script to reality. We will therefore explain what you should do first and what Speed Ramping can do for your documentary. You must first record your documentary script screenplay, after which you must complete the following:

Free Download
Free Download
  1. Go to the Wondershare Filmora website and Download the Filmora software from it for free.
  2. download filmora software
  3. Now Click on a New Project to create your first project in Filmora.
  4. click on new project button
  5. After importing your media clips, you can double-click on your video clip to open the speed adjustment window. Then, choose Speed > Speed Ramping.
  6. double click on video clip
  7. You can add smooth speed shift curves from Filmora to your documentary clips to experience the result. Attempting to alter the speed shift curve on your own is an option if you don't like them.
  8. add smooth speed shift curves
  9. Then you can click on the Audio Visualizer button to use the audio-visual features in your documentary video, which makes your video more rhythmic.
  10. click on audio visualizer
  11. After that, click on the Export button at the top bar. an exporting menu will appear on your screen from which you can choose the preferences about exporting your video, like its name, storage location, format, etc. Just wait until the export is finished.


So, the last words for this educational post are that, as we all know, writing a script effectively makes your script the greatest. Similarly, in the documentary screenplay, writing a script that follows an effective manner and contains well-researched information based on authentic resources makes it the best. So that's why today we discuss this topic in this article to help those who want to make a good documentary screenplay but do not know how to write a good script. Also, for those who have already finished writing their documentary script but do not know how to make it happen, we hope that it will benefit all of you and that you enjoyed reading it. Thanks for reading it.

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Mar 27, 24
Share article: