Some identifying features of movie titles

Budding screenwriters take note.

A list of movie titles that were video releases once brought home to me the importance of naming one’s work: the title.

Titles are often dreaded by the writer. They seem simple to devise, but may put the writer at labour to say what the story’s about in a line.

The titles I came across in my reading seemed to show that movie titles may be quite rudimental. Most movie titles read simple. Movie titles seem easy for writers to imagine up, going by the sounds of many of those titles.

Yet the work going on behind them might have been harder than one thinks, for words can make or break a line of writing, so getting the right words in the right balance counts.

Movie titles have some identifying features which make them easier to write and so may cut down the pressure in inventing them.

I base these features on my observations of movie titles.

Movies are often marketed in terms of action, so titles show that, but some movies are not primarily about action.

Will the product be for people who are interested in action-orientated material? So the title must have an action-orientated sound that’s specific to the story.

Other usually older audiences like something more passive but still with a suggestion of movement like The Passion of Judith Hearne, an introspective title, but also with something going on.

Other titles are noun-reliant and depend on the prior knowledge of the audience which is a smaller audience than the audiences who are inclined towards action-orientated movies.

Most movie titles are action orientated or movement orientated where there is a suggestion of something happening.

To begin to get these types of titles right, the writer (or producer for that matter) describes or summarizes their story in terms of action or movement. Most stories are written with something happening so to give the title an action ring is being true to the material. Then embellish or edit the title as necessary while keeping the action formula in tact.

The title may come quickly to mind, but then one may have to edit, which is where the hard work comes in, and the headaches writers have in getting the title right materializes and raises its ugly head. Inspiration can help here.

Most times, all a writer has to do is think of a title with action or movement in it, be that horror, crime, action per-se, comedy, drama, etc.

For me I like the more interesting sounding titles (Mississippi Burning).

Even movies with a track record of getting bums on seats, still need to seal the deal with a title that the audience will appreciate, but sometimes a franchise that is popular can get away with a lesser title here or there.

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