What’s in a name? Well, everything. Starting with your script, your title is the first piece of information actors, investors, sales agents, distributors and audiences will see about your film.  It’s your chance to make a great first impression, pique our interest and hook us in.

A good film title needs to convey what your film is about in a couple of words. It’s a sales tool to get viewers into the cinema, pick up your DVD or click through to press play.

Sometimes, the title is the only thing they’ll see – no artwork, tagline, synopsis or trailer. Make it count.

How do you choose a good movie title?

Short is good.

Your title is a promise to the audience about your film. It needs to sum up the story in a few words and let us know what genre it is. Assault on Precinct 13 is a great title. Plot and genre in four words.

Check to see if anyone’s used the title before.

Play the alphabet game. For Video On Demand (VOD) films are presented in alphabetical order. Your audience has a short attention span. We’ll only scroll through so many films. If your film starts with an A, B or C, you’ll get more views than if it starts with X, Y and Z. Numbers go either way. Some VOD platforms list films at the top, others at the bottom.

Don’t be vague, arty or obscure. Don’t make your audience puzzle out what your film is. You’ll lose us.

Think about how your title will look on artwork, on posters, DVD covers, as a thumbnail on VOD. Shorter titles give more flexibility with design and come across clearer on VOD screens.

Social media is crucial for marketing. Will your title fit in 140 characters on Twitter? Make sure abbreviated versions of your title will cause an embarrassing Twitter hashtag. You don’t want your film to be the equivalent of Britain’s Got Talent Susan Boyle’s  #Susanalbumparty.

Be open to change. If your sales agent or distributor suggests another title, it’s because they believe it will sell better. Take the advice. It doesn’t change what your film is, it just means more people will watch it.

Agree, disagree, questions, thoughts? Hit me up in the comments.

Picture Credit: Sam Howzit – Marquee

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