How to write a script for a commercial

Commercial Scripts

Many a filmmaker get their initial start in filmmaking by writing and filming a script for a commercial or a radio ad. Writing a short film/feature film script is a completely different task than writing a script for a commercial. A commercial script is much more direct, compact and surprisingly a little more straightforward.

Here we breakdown what it means to write a script for a commercial.

How do you write a tv commercial?

Writing a commercial for TV or radio is not as complicated as it may seem. In fact, it’s much more straightforward than you could’ve imagined. There is a huge demand for commercial scriptwriters in this day and age with multiple adverts prepped just for the web.

What does a commercial script look like?

A script for a commercial is usually split into two columns. The left column is for the visuals and the right column is for the audio.

You then add the client’s name to the top with your name/company name and the job ID and title of the advert.

Include all visual descriptions in the left-hand column, with all audio in the right-hand column.

READ MORE: Why your script outline is essential: 3 simple steps

An example of a commercial script:

Commercial Script Outline
Source: Studylib

READ MORE: 7 essential tips to improve dialogue within your script

The Visual column (Left)


You’ll find the left-hand column will be far more descriptive as it’s all visual. For example, understanding in which manner the actor enters the house – are they running? Walking?

Make sure all characters have different letters at the beginning of their names, it makes it far easy to read through the script and match the audio correctly, you’ll be surprised how many mistakes are made because of it.

Remember, be as descriptive as you like here, the more descriptive the better – it also helps the audio flow in the right-hand side. You understand the emotion and the dynamic of the scene.

The audio column (Right)


The right side is known for the audio. This is mainly for voiceover’s, however, commercials do have speaking characters.

To split the two and make sense of it – if it’s the voiceover it’s simply written as “Voice”. If the character has lines make sure to line up the audio with their action in the left column and include their name. This will help the Director and producer a lot.

Remember to save “ALL CAPS” for the sound effects, emotion or music in the right-hand column.

A free commercial script layout to download

A Commercial Outline

We offer commercial writing services here at iFilmThings. Anything from creating the concept to a finalised script to re-reading and offering consultation. We are here to help, all you need to do is fill the form below and one of our commercial scriptwriters will be in touch.

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Jay Neill

Jay Neill is the founder, owner, and managing editor of iFilmThings and believes everyone should have access to the film resources they need to plan their filmmaking project, which is why he’s dedicated iFilmThings to helping all filmmakers.

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