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Get the Word Out: Developing a PSA

PSA Script Outline (from

You can make them look

Pictures and video are powerful tools.  Vision is a primary sense.  The information provided by a single image can be both complex and clarifying.  Even the lack of vision (blank screens) are powerful.  Remove our sight, and we feel compelled to use our other senses.

pull them through

Music is a fluid tool and will encourage users to follow through to the end of your message.  Be careful when selecting music.

  • Don't allow lyrics to detract from your messgae.  Sometimes non-vocal music is the best choice.  You can find great  royalty free background tracks for use in your videos at Soundzabound (through Wisconsin Badgerlink).   
  • If you are using copyrighted music be sure you get permissin to use the track in your PSA.  It's illegal to publish video without proper copyright permissions.  YouTube will shut it (and sometimes you) down.

draw them in

One of the best ways to encourage empathy in a viewer is to help them imagine a situation in which they or someone they love could find themselves. Describe places and events in terms of universal understandings about home, family, and community.

scare 'em


make them laugh

Fear is one of our most primal emotions.  When we are afraid of something, our basic need for survival is activated and this can override other emotions, such as apathy.


Humor makes difficult topics more accessible.  Done with respect, humor can allow people to consider a topic that they might otherwise avoid.  Parody and satire are great tools.

ask a question.

Get your audience thinking right off the bat.  When we ask questions, people begin to formulate answers in terms of both what they know and what they are learning.

Just ask...

  • WHO are you hoping will act on your message?
  • Simple, clear, make every word count!


Verifable facts are crucial to the credibility of your message.  Use quality resources to do your research. Then it's time to put your tagline to work. Make your

Creating a detailed plan, whether through storyboard or script,  will save your time in the end.  Make note of:

  • Still images or scenes
  • Camera angles and movement
  • Narration (voice over) or Dialog
  • Captions and titles
  • Visual effects
  • Sound effects
  • Transitions
  • Music

Here are two quick tips...

  • Plan no more than 60 words to narrate a 30 second PSA.
  • Short, direct sentences are better than drawn out dialog.

Below are a variety of tools designed for creators who think and organize in different ways.

  Print off the PSA Script Outline created by

 Print of this Storyboard Template (draw and describe)

 Use Google Slides to create a storyboard deck!

 Use the Canva app to create visual storyboards like this.

Library Information and Media Center - Monona Grove High School - Monona, Wisconsin

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