Writing a radio script is different from writing a book or figuring out how to write a script for a play in many ways. The first thing you need to remember is that your only medium is the listener’s sense of hearing. You need to paint the picture of the scenery, mood, suspense, and romance, all without the aid of visuals of any kind. Instead of sitting down with a blank page and mapping out your story line, start by being completely silent. Then from there, imagine what your listeners will visualize when they hear your radio script. That is how you will write a successful script. In the rest of this article, we will expound on a few tips on how to write a radio script.
Limit your Characters
On the radio, people will only be able to recognize characters by their voice. If you have too many characters, it will be confusing for your audience. Instead, stick to four or five characters. Split them evenly into male and female parts to make it easy on your listeners. Another way to help your audience differentiate between characters is to select actors with distinctly different voices.
Dialogue is Crucial
All radio simply comes down to dialogue. Your use of dialogue is crucial to the success of your script. If you want to know how your dialogue sounds, tape it and play it back to yourself. Then ask yourself, is it natural sounding enough? Is it strong enough to hold my listeners’ attention? Does it reveal enough about the scene? There are many ways that dialogue can be used to reveal the background of the scene. For instance, a man shouting DON’T SHOOT ME, reveals that he is danger and the other character has a gun.
Sound effects are to your script as special effects are to a Hollywood movie. Sound effects can do so much to enliven your show and capture your audience. Just the music you use can introduce new scenes. Switching from a happy melody to a sinister tune after a short moment of silence tells your listener to be ready for something bad to happen. It helps build suspense and gives the listeners something to anticipate.
Apart from the music, sound effects can help you describe what your characters are doing. Suppose the characters are talking and you want to communicate that they are also driving in a vehicle. Instead of putting the fact that they are in a car in the dialogue, you could just insert the sound of them opening a car door and starting the engine. The low sound of a running engine is all you need to tell the audience that they are in a car.