How to Make Impactful Explainer Videos


There is an ongoing surge in popularity on YouTube and other video platforms that don’t just report the news but explain it. 

In this e-Master Class, you will learn how to make impactful explainer videos without compromising public media values. You will look at the best processes for coming up with great ideas, how to write powerful scripts that keep people watching and low-cost but creative techniques to bring your videos to life. 

All these principles will be demonstrated with practical exercises and exploring case studies of award-winning video journalism from the likes of BBC Ideas, Vox, and independent YouTubers. 

Who it's for:

  • Journalists, editors
  • News producers
  • TV, radio and digital producers

Topics Covered:

  • What makes good ideas and how to come up with them 
  • Scripting & structure
  • Low-cost and creative visual approaches

Skills learnt:

Audience needs: Understand what type of video explainer formats, visuals and topic treatment work well for digital audiences
Digital newsgathering: How to source relevant ideas and topics for explainers
Editorial: Guidelines for scripting and producing explainers
Social media: Understand how to use social media platforms to distribute your video content efficiently
Stroytelling: Learn what works best in digital storytelling.

Guest Speakers:

Phil Edwards is the presenter and producer behind the Vox YouTube series, Almanac. His videos have earned over 150 million views on YouTube and are one of Vox Media's most popular series. He also produced the eSports episode of Netflix's "Explained" and won a Webby in 2020.

Bethan Jinkinson is Executive Editor of BBC Ideas, where she commissions and publishes ‘short films for curious minds’. She has been a Webby award winner three years in a row including best science and education video channel, 2020.


Trainees will be asked to do a practical exercise on scripting an explainer (please expect to spend two hours on the exercise). This will give trainees a chance to practice the principles taught and receive real feedback on their writing and structure. 

While we encourage trainees to take up the chance to practice what they’ve learned, we understand it may not always be possible because of other commitments outside the eMC. If this is the case, please discuss this with the trainer. 


Monday 11 October: from 10am to 12:30pm CEST    
Tuesday 12 October: 10:30am to 1pm CEST 
Friday 15 October: from 10am to 12:30pm CEST  

Programme outline:

Day 1:

  • Welcome and overview of 3 days
  • Break outs and feedback in plenary: what makes a successful explainer?  
  • Part 1: How to come up with good ideas 
  • Part 2: Guest speaker #1 TBC
  • Part 3: Break out and feedback - exercise 1 

Day 2:

  • Break outs and feedback: your key learnings from day 1
  • Part 1: Scripting. We look at how to add humour, voice, personality, and suspense to make your explainers entertaining as well as informative. 
  • Part 2: Guest speaker #2 TBC
  • Part 3: Break out and feedback - exercice 2: Building on the work from Day 1, participants are invited to develop one of their ideas into a script, with particular focus on scripting a powerful introduction. 

Day 3: 

  • Break outs and feedback: your key learnings from day 2
  • Part 1: Visuals. Looking for cost-effective and creative ways to make your video explainers both entertaining and distinctive. 
  • Part 2: Guest speaker TBC  
  • Part 3: Participants present their explainer project to the group and collect feedback
  • Action points and summary 
  • Assessment