Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Title selected

Titles are important. I've discovered that with Nice Girls Don't Kill, I don't have to say much else because the title speaks for itself. You know what that movie is, or at least you have an inkling. I've had scripts that didn't have such great titles - Salvage, Burnside, Jacking - but that one I knew was perfect. It's got a suggestion of humor, obvious irony, and it reflects perfectly the theme of my story, plus it implies violence.

From now on, I want all my titles to be that perfect. Yesterday I asked for suggestions, and thank you guys so much. Even though I ended up going with something completely different, it was those suggestions that sent me in the right direction. I needed something with the right tone - a bit of fun, a suggestion of mischief, something that implies a short time frame and a wedding. I ended up dropping the moon thing entirely because it always ended up sounding too dramatic. The wedding thing is what gave me fits. EVERY wedding cliche has already been used as a movie title. Shotgun Wedding would have been great if it hadn't been used by a 2006 Black List script. I had to be creative this time.

I finally figured it out in the car on the way home. It's not quite as perfect as Nice Girls Don't Kill, but I think it sets the right tone:

How My Wedding Dress Got So Dirty



  1. cshel5:26 PM

    I like that title. I'm partial to longer titles, though. But it implies a wild, fun story. Good idea.

  2. That's a good title. Fun and also intriguing. It has a down-to-earth ring to it.

    You mentioned Shotgun Wedding and that you wouldn't/couldn't use the title because of that other script on the Black List. What are the "rules" for that? Are there rules? Or is just bad business to title your script like another film.

    I found out that there's a movie coming out with the same title as the spec I'm working on. It bummed me out. I guess I'll have to change it now, even though I think it's the perfect title for my script...

  3. There are no real rules. There are two specs out there called PASSENGERS that both came out around the same time and they both got around and did good things for their writers.

    I just prefer to have something that can't be confused with another project that's fairly current, and there are a bunch of projects on IMDB called Shotgun Wedding.

  4. UNTITLED [LAST NAME OF WRITER] PROJECT seems to sell a lot.


  5. Nice Emily. I feel the same way about titles. I can't start the story until I have one that I like.

    Glad our suggestions helped. Good luck and have fun!

  6. 'The Dirt on My Wedding Dress' is one word shorter, flows better and has a double meaning, which is always handy.

    You're absolutely right on the work that titles have to do, as that other Blake (Snyder) would also say. Ideally you'll encapsulate genre and theme, titillate the reader's interest and spark an instant association to something else that does all the work for you. (Often a song, eg 'Stand By Me', which also sets the period).

    Of course, once your film is a box-office smash, it doesn't matter what the title is (eg 'Magnolia').

  7. This has been an interesting exercise. It made me realize how difficult it must be for agents and producers to get a real sense of a script, from the logline alone.

    Are there any legal reasons why a query letter cannot consist of a single page from the script [p. 1, 49
    or whatever] + with contact info written on it?

  8. No legal reason, Daniel, that I can think of. If they're paranoid about legal issues they usually don't even read the logline. It's just not usually done. But hey, you never know. If the page is good enough, it may be creative enough to work. You'd probably get a lot of people refusing to read it, but it only takes one.


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