Posted by: michellemuldoon | May 30, 2012

A Title By Any Other Name…

… is always a work in progress with me.

I recently finished another draft (number three) on a little comedy that has plagued me for some time. I use the word “plagued” because I’ve struggled with finding the right balance between “being too smart” (a script reader’s term, not mine), and going “big” without being ridiculous.  Somewhere in the middle is the script that it will be, not the script I fear it is right now.

Mixed up in that journey is the lesser discussed struggle of coming up with a title.  Fine, it may not be a struggle for the rest of you, but it certainly is one giant, steep-as-a-mountain hurdle for me. I know that the title is a work in progress for every script, and that it can change right up until the promotion material is printed, but it’s still part of a spec script’s marketing plan, and the importance shouldn’t be under-estimated. So, how do you find the balance between spending too much, and not enough, time on a screenplay title?

I’m not saying you won’t get read if your title is crap, but if first impressions go a long way, doesn’t that include the title? If a title can tease of good things to come, I can’t see how it can hurt to put a little effort into it. 

So, my latest script started out with probably the most boring title I could come up with, The Baby Pool. (I can hear you snoring already.) Tragic, isn’t it?  The title says very little that makes you go, “Wow, what a great, unique idea!”  So, I sat on a friend’s deck one afternoon, and we brainstormed titles. We came up with, “Baby, Game On!”

I loved it, but who wouldn’t compared to where we started.  I’m now starting to doubt this one, too. Is it because I’m so jaded about my ability to write a title, that nothing seems right anymore?  Is it a good title? Should I continue the search? Am I asking too many questions because I don’t know the answers?

I’m not sure. All I know is, where I am is better than where I was. And isn’t that the joy of the rewrite process, even with screenplay titles.

Mountain Surrounded Lake in BC

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