How Long is My Voiceover Script?
Clients often ask, “how long should a voiceover script be?” Check out the Script Timer Voiceover Calculator! My experience in post-production and as a voice talent taught me that for long-form narrations one should figure around 140 words per minute of script. However, This number can go as low as 130 wpm if you have a lot of time for graphics and transitions in your video. Or, it can go as high as 160-170 wpm if you want the script to go very fast. I wouldn’t recommend such a pace for more than five minutes, or the audience will face “listening fatigue“. On the other hand, Broadcast commercials are lightning-quick, and 180 wpm and higher are often typical, especially for hard-sell spots. Enter your script word count and desired pace of 140, 160, or 180 words-per-minute in the calculator.
Easy word-per-minute Spreadsheet
Here’s a handy script timer or word-per-minute timer spreadsheet for voice over scripts. Choose the pace or style of narration you need in the left column, and then find how that translates into a real-world timed count in the right columns. For your convenience, you can download the .pdf here for the Script Timer Voiceover Calculator.
Remember, you can always manually enter your script length into a calculator by entering the word-length of your script and then divide by:
130 for a slow pace with extra pauses
140 for a normal narration pace
150 or 160 for an uptempo conversational pace
170 or 180 (or higher) for a fast, commercial pace.
Your answer will be how many minutes your voiceover will be. This is a crucial calculation to make in pre-production to avoid over and under-estimations. You can’t fix that in the mix! Even doing a ‘scratch track’ ahead of time usually comes off rushed and without the correct pacing. Always keep the Script Timer Voiceover Calculator guidelines in mind.
All the very best,