Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Avoid generic titles!

I've probably ragged on this before, but in the past few weeks I've had more than one run-in with a script with an unmemorable title. This is a silly tip, I know... but keep in mind that anyone in the business who looks at your script is probably going to read 15-20 other scripts that week. That's a lot of plots, characters, and names to commit to memory.

So does it do you any good to slap a generic title on the script? I've had a couple instances where an exec has asked me for my verbal take on a script I read just a few weeks ago - and let me tell you, when the title is something like "Life" or "The Tree" or "Moving" my recall might not be extremely sharp at matching that script to its main plotline.

But something like "Spring Break Antarctica '12" or "The Siege of Waldorf University" or "Killer Klowns from Outer Space" lodges in the memory. True, most of those sound like schlock titles, but consider these memorable titles:

Back to the Future
Pirates of the Caribbean
Hot Tub Time Machine
Four Christmases
Knocked Up
The 40 Year-Old Virgin

Those titles are memorable and they offer enough of the premise that they're likely to trigger memories of the script.

So give some thought to your titles. Anything you can do to make your writing memorable can help you in the long run.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I hear you and those are good examples. Often movie titles stick with one or two syllables that have simple and easy to understand words. I mean who knows what a road to perdition is? Is there a Starbucks?

  3. how do you feel about titles that are great, but have little to do with the actual story? I have seen a lot of titles that are random referneces to a one liner or influence and that kind of drives me nuts even if it makes for a memorable script

  4. If we're talking about the same kind of thing, it drives me nuts too. Like "Just Go With It" - what does that have to do with the story?

  5. Just go with your cash to the theater.