They say don’t judge a book by its cover, so you’d think it should follow that you shouldn’t judge a film by its title. You would think wrong. Title is a hugely important part of your film marketing, and it should be something you think about from the very beginning, not simply as an after thought. So here’s how to go about creating a title that will stick.
Brevity is key when it comes to titles. You don’t want more than one or two words. If it starts with A or a number, that can be better as some cataloging systems in various parts of the world still primarily use Alphatical Sorting. This is less important than it used to be, as most of the major players have algorithms that take a lot more into account when recommending a film. Altough if you look at films from the early 2010s, you’ll notice a disproportionate amount that start with a number, A, or B. This is why.
The reason you want it to be short is that shot can be easier to remember, and easier to make an impact with. Which leads me to the next point.
Accurate to the film
The title of the film definitely needs to reflect the film itself, otherwise it’s not going to ring true to anyone who watches the film, which will end poorly for you. More in the blog below
It’s got to be Memorable
There’s a strong chance that if you and your distributor are doing your marketing and publicity right, a potential customer will have heard of your film prior to whenever they come across the ability to watch the film. If the title is memorable, they’re more likely to move to the next step in the independent film purchase process. More below.
Unique (or at least highly unusual) for SEO.
It doesn’t need to be unique, we’re not talking about exclusivity and trademarks here. It does, however need to be more discoverable than a film with a title like Peter Pan that’s made multiple times every single year.
When we released The Devil’s restaurant, it was as a result of a change from “The Restaurant” primarily for SEO and memorability purposes.
Easy to spell
If people keep misspelling your title, it will make it harder to index and harder to find. I’ll admit I’m a hypocrite on this one. “Guerrilla” is extremely hard to spell. That said, I made the mistake so you don’t have to, and you might see some more corrections I’m making on that soon.
Be Careful of Double-Entendres
Titles with double meanings can be great, but if it’s not something you intended it can be extremely bad.
Expect the title to change for the international releases
A lot of.movie marketing tends to change depending on what country the film is being released in. This is especially true for title. One film I represented came to me as Paralyitic, then was distributed internationally as Still Alive, and marketed domestically as Narco Hitman. Another was Luna De Cigarres in South America, Cicada Moon in the US (Originally) and Filthy Luck internationally.
Also, yes. Your distributor has the right to change the title. The best way to avoid them doing it is to give them no reason to.
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My name is Ben, I'm an Entrepreneur, Producer's Rep, and Author. I'm the founder of Guerrilla Rep Media, Co-Founder/CMO of ProductionNext, and founder of Producer Foundry. Together, the organizations seek to help make filmmaking a more economically sustainable endeavor. I am dysic, I have capitalization issues, and the blogs are often unedited. opinions all my own.
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