How important is the title of your spec script? A great title is like a great first impression. It’s invaluable. Can a great movie or tv show get the attention it deserves with an unmemorable or confusing title? I doubt it! “Parasite” … The title is disturbing, right? It’s an amazing film, and I was thrilled by its success at the Oscars. One of the many things the movie has going for it is a great title; one that is memorable, aligned in tone, and suggestive of its genre. So how do you come up with a great title?
In insightful her book, Good in a Room, pitching consultant Stephanie Palmer lists the five qualities of a great title with the acronym: “S.M.A.R.T”
Repeatable (it sounds good when spoken out loud)
Tonally Appropriate (meaning the feeling it evokes matches the expectations of the genre)
Consider these qualities in light of this year’s nine nominated features for best picture: “1917”, “The Irishmen”, “Jojo Rabbit”, “Joker”, “Little Women”, “Marriage Story”, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, “Parasite”, and “Ford v Ferrari”. Which titles play by the five rules? Which do you think is strongest? I think “Parasite” wins best title as well as best picture!
Coming up with a great title often takes time, so try not to settle with the first thing that comes to mind. Start brainstorming early and let your mind brainstorm and incubate as long as possible. Once you have a shortlist, make sure to get feedback. Also, it would be wise to scan imdb to make sure the title hasn’t been used already.