Screenwriting : Titles- how to? by Adrianna Agudelo

Adrianna Agudelo

Titles- how to?

One of my biggest struggles is coming up with an appropriate title to my projects. They always sound so dumb to me. What are some creative processes I can try to get this part of my brain going?!? Any help and advice is welcomed! Ty friends!

Bill Albert

Have you thought about titles involving the name of your main character or the location? "Rebecca's Journey," "Steven's Quest," "The House on Park Street." Just someplace to start.

Ronika Merl

I always think making up a mock poster helps me visualise it better. That way I can see how it feels.

Meg Stone

Ronika Merl excellent idea. For instance, I am terribly partial to the poster for The Meg - although I hated the movie. But it got my attention.

Seriously, it would seem, titling is absolutely the most important part of any art form that demands an investment of attention from the viewer. It is why WORKING TITLE is so important, and why writers should not be tempted to write for the title, and leave it up to ad and publicity gurus to get the viewer in front of the screen with something catchy.

Craig D Griffiths

I love these threads because I suck at titles.

Erik Meyers

So difficult! I changed the name of my first novel right before publishing, which I was so glad about. I ran through what the main character was going through in my mind and tried different synonyms and combinations. "The Moment" became "Caged Time"

Johnathan Burns

Sometimes I come up with the title before I write the script and they don't always stay the same but this does help me focus on sticking to the core story. It's not easy though so I just use a title that feels right and if someone buys the script and changes it, so be it, it's not the be all and end all. Some of mine are titled by the protagonist name (Simra, Gypsy), others are a little bit deeper (Humanity Bane, Troubled Waters).

Christiane Lange

Beats me! Titles are a bear :D I must have gone through at least 10 for the TV series, before settling on a title.

Meg Stone

@Christiane Lange I'm intrigued.

> I must have gone through at least 10 for the TV series, before settling on a title.

I would love to see them listed, in chronological order, as a snapshot of the process.

Adrianna Agudelo

Thank you all for commenting, I have some ideas on where to go from here! Appreciate the help!

Christiane Lange

Meg Stone That would take some digging. Because it is a streamer series, I was looking for a 1-word title. I remember that one title was Pankration, which is the ancient name for the neighborhood where it is set. However, it refers to a form of fighting, in which all tricks were allowed. So it sort of fit the storyline as well. But ancient references are a super-tired cliché in the Greek space, so I dropped it.

Christine Capone

Hi Adrianna, Titles are so difficult. Mine are always changing. My latest one was discovered while having a casual conversation. It's something I say all the time and then I was like "that's it"! So sometimes they just come out of nowhere. Also, sometimes they are hidden in your movie, maybe somewhere in your scene set up or dialogue.

Anita August

sometimes, a character who says something witty, profound, or thought about the arc of the story. Perhaps, the setting or landscape which can often provide an insight into the story or a city that is performative i.e. Gotham (NYC), Crescent City (New Orleans), etc.

JamesDean Brown

LOL - I'm just the opposite. Coming up with Titles is easy for me, it's the actual writing process where I have problems. One thing that I frequently do is to listen to music to inspire myself while writing, then pick out keywords from a song's lyrics and toy with paraphrasing or rephrasing those lyrics to generate a Title.

Vital Butinar

Actually a really cool question and worth exploring.

I've struggled with titling my projects too but the after many of them I realized one thing.

Whenever I created a really cool title I always used a few rules to help me.

One was to take the genre of the film into account, so if it was a comedy the title would have to be some how funny.

The second was that I always wanted to the title to be revealing in some way but not too obvious and again depending on the genre, that the viewer would either get the title up front or figur it out after watching the movie.

And third that I always wanted the title to be catchy.

So whenever I got stuck I actually just tried to remind myself of these three rules and gave myself some time to think about it. Initially I might get crappy ideas but sometimes combining or taking things from the ideas I get them produced the end result that I like.

Most of the time it's something I really like and sounds interesting and is almost a short logline.

Barry John Terblanche

Title- what stands out in your storyline - plot? A simple phrase... Bad Boys? - That title tells the audience what they in for ... Genre.

James Welday

I think of titles through the theme of the film. What is something that I want an audience to think of when they hear the title of my film? Is the film about a single person, or their mission in life? It can be complicated like that, or find a working title and never change it (I've done this very thing in the past haha).

Rex Perkins

Don't fret, start with a working title and eventually the actual title will come to you during the writing process.

Dan MaxXx

My guess the title is a short one-two word summary of the logline, that visually "sell" the story.

Nick Assunto

If you only had a few words max to say what your story is about, what would you say?

Doug Nelson

Just begin with a file name - the title will emerge as you develop/write the story. And it will morph during the process. By way of example (one of mine): It started as 'current project', quickly became 'The Game', then "Aces and Eights' and finally "Dead Man's Hand', it's just a process of evolution.

Anita August

In the end, titles are rhetorical and therefore titles are about issues of audience. Who do you want your title to appeal to?

Tasha Lewis

Use your situations. Happy events, sad ones no matter what the occasions as a inspiration to write about it. My projects on my project page were all written from this point of view.

Sandeep Gupta

Thread of the month, and brilliant takes. Here is one more suggestion — what's the emotionally riskiest line your protag or another support char says during the third act? Distill from there?

JJ Hillard

I try to come up with titles that have double meanings in terms of the story I'm writing. At least for me that's the goal. At the same time, I also think of some possible taglines that relate to the theme.

Adrianna Agudelo

Thank you everyone for contributing to this thread. There are so many great, thought provoking and creative exercises here! I think I actually got somewhere today and have a new title that may stick for the long run. It has a double meaning and focuses on the main character. Thanks again!

Erik A. Jacobson

The perfect title? A Quiet Place. Why? Most writers never stop to think about the fact that many distributors/streamers list their titles alphabetically. Nothing magic in coming up with an A through D title, except that viewers will see it much earlier than others when decided whether to watch it - which translates into more popularity and resulting rental-per-view income.

Vital Butinar

Erik A. Jacobson that's actually a really good point and I never really thought of it.

Thank you for pointing it out.

Erik Meyers

Great ideas here! Erik's point about alphabet is great...and some title that will grab people and/or make them wonder what it is about. Curiousity is so powerful!

Meg Stone

@Erik A. Jacobson good point. Cynical... but good. Kind of a yellow-pages listing kind of thing.

JamesDean Brown

@Erik A. Jacobson, I guess the title "AAA Quiet Place" would have put it upfront.

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