The Title Game: How to Pick a Winning Name for Your Screenplay

Mar 17, 2023

A movie title can make or break your screenplay. It’s the boldest text on a movie poster for attention and the creation of perception. On the first page, it also has the power to determine whether an audience would be interested in reading the content. The art of capturing your audience is a skill you can learn and creatively tweak to your advantage. Here are some tips for selecting a great movie title that makes your screenplay stand out.

Be Descriptive

A good movie title should describe what the movie is about. It should give audiences a sense of what to expect from the story. Avoid vague or generic titles that don’t indicate what your screenplay is about. Instead, choose a title that accurately reflects your movie’s plot, theme, or mood. An example is “The Burial of Kojo” – This title is unique and authentic to the movie’s story and African culture. It’s also descriptive, as the movie is about a man’s funeral.

Keep It Short and Sweet

Short, catchy titles are easier to remember and more likely to grab people’s attention. If possible, keep your movie title between three or four words. This will make it easier for people to remember and share with others. “The Wedding Party” – This title accurately reflects the movie’s plot about a lavish Nigerian wedding. It’s short, sweet, and catchy.

How to Craft a Strong Screenplay Title
Photo Credits: Keira Burton | Pexels

Use Wordplay or Puns 

A clever pun or play on words can make your movie title more memorable and fun. Develop a title that uses a pun or clever wordplay related to your story or theme. For example, “Living in Bondage” is a play on the phrase “living in bondage”, which refers to being enslaved. 

Be Authentic and Unique

Avoid copying other popular movie titles. Your title should be unique and authentic to your screenplay. You can get creative when you into the heart of your story. The theme and messages you are trying to pass with the movie set your screenplay apart from other movies in the same genre. “Catching Feelings”; This title is another clever play on words that reflects the movie’s theme of romantic relationships.

Consider Your Audience

Think about your target audience and what will appeal to them. If your screenplay is geared towards a specific demographic or niche, ensure your movie title reflects that. For example, consider using African proverbs or idioms in your title if your screenplay is about African culture.  “Lionheart” – This title is powerful and memorable. It reflects the strength and resilience of the movie’s protagonist. Also, the lion is a significant animal in Igbo culture, and it holds great importance and symbolism for the people.

A great title can help your screenplay stand out and attract the attention it deserves. Use these tips and examples to develop a movie title that captures the essence of your screenplay and appeals to your audience.

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