Film Industry

Movie Title Guide: Top Tips On How To Write Movie Titles

Photograph of the blog post author, Sam Jones

Sam Jones

24.6.2021

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First impressions are everything. This is of course true when it comes to movie titles. Catching people’s attention, they set the mood for a film and can have a huge impact on a film’s reception. They are a tricky, but fundamental aspect of any film. Thus, we wanted to share with you our tips for how to write movie titles. 

movie titles gravity

No matter the genre of a film, the title should entice, engage, and leave the audience wanting to know more. Too simple won’t grab people’s attention, too complex will put people off.

Getting that balance is imperative for a movie title to be a success. What on the surface appears to be a seemingly easy and simple task is quite the opposite in reality. 

When thinking of movies like The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Blade Runner, and Batman Begins they all share something in common. They are all iconic and famous movie titles of course. Despite not having any actual influence on the plot, titles massively influence the way we perceive a movie.

Getting it right can be all that’s needed to make your film into the next blockbuster. Get it wrong and your film may never even see the big screen. 

When thinking about how to name your film there are many things to consider. We will share with you how to make good movie titles into great movie titles and the essence of what makes popular movie titles. 

Why Do Good Movie Titles Matter?

Movie titles matter for several different reasons. Impossible to list them all, here are the main points: 

Before The Big Screen

annie in cinema

Before your movie is anywhere near being on a big screen, you’ll have to finance it and grab the attention of studios and executives. When presented with the plot, the first thing that will jump out at any of these important parties is the title. 

If you don’t get it right, your script could make its way to the bin before the first page has been opened. 

Reception 

chairs in a cinema

Other than a trailer, a movie title is the only critical information audiences have before a film’s release. If your title is awful, people will hastily dismiss your movie before they’ve even seen the opening credits.

If your title is amazing, your film could get people talking before it’s even released. 

How To Write A Movie Title

Did you think coming up with movie title ideas would be this important? Maybe not. But now that we’ve expanded on why they are, we’re ready to show you how to write movie titles successfully. It is important to note, never dive straight into coming up with a movie title.

You should contemplate all the points we will now cover first before coming up with movie title ideas. Following this, make a list of all your ideas and narrow them down to one. 

There is no single ‘best way’ of coming up with movie titles. It completely depends on the genre, structure, message, and content of your film.

However, there are a few things to consider each time when brainstorming. 

Essential Aspects 

film section shot

Firstly, we will cover the fundamental aspects of a movie title that should always be included 

Be Consistent 

Generally, your title wants to reflect the essence of your movie. It has to be relatable and meaningful to the story. This will also be a reflection of your film’s artwork.

The artwork should reflect the base of the film and your title needs to relate to this. The main plot, title, and artwork should all be consistent with each other and carry the same tone. 

Consider The Genre

Consider what genre your movie is. Depending on this, you might want to think of funny movie titles or horror movie titles, whatever aligns with your plot best.

The genre of your movie should influence your title massively, reflecting the mood of the movie.

For example, you wouldn’t want to consider comedy movie titles if your film is an action/thriller. By the end of reading your title, the audience should be able to gauge the tone of your film. 

Your Image 

You also want to consider what image you’re building for yourself as a writer. Are you going to release a series of horror films?

Even though the plots might be unrelated, you might want people to recognise your work simply from this title. For example, Jordan Peele’s films ‘Get Out’ and ‘Us’ have very different plots.

But the overall feel of the films and titles somehow tie into each other making them both recognisable pieces of work.  

Other Aspects 

pathe cinema

Now your title ideas should reflect the core of your film. When thinking about how to format movie titles, there are still many other factors to contemplate.  

Length

A long movie title is usually a recipe for disaster. Long movie titles should only be used if they are essential to the story and in your opinion, the only viable option.

Otherwise, movie titles should generally be short and most of all, clear. One word movie titles can have a great impact if they incorporate the essence of the film.

However, this can be tricky so unless your one-word title really screams out at you, maybe avoid it. 

Capture Your Audience 

No matter the genre of your film, your title should capture the hearts and minds of your audience. It should entice them in and bring forth emotions in one way or another.

Does your title leave your audience in suspense wanting to know more? Or does your title leave audiences feeling nostalgic?

No matter the focus, it should grab people’s attention and leave them feeling like they know what your film is somewhat about. 

Clear & Concise 

Most of all, your title needs to be clear and concise. Never try to be clever and have deeper meanings behind your title. Its message should be easily translated and understood immediately.

If audiences have to contemplate its meaning or message, they could dismiss your title on the spot. You can see this is true for all the best movie titles, they are generally simple and convey a message easily.

No matter how amazing you think your movie title might be, if it is too obscure or takes effort to gauge, you might want to reconsider.

Feedback

If you’ve got the perfect title in front of you, you’re probably itching to get it out there. Before this, it is good to get some feedback to make sure your ideas align with everyone else’s perceptions. Ask people you know what they think of your title and get feedback.

Take it one step further, ask people you don’t know. This way you know their opinions are unbiased and will provide a good idea of how the public will take your title. 

Format

Whether your title is in caps or underscored doesn’t matter so much. Generally, this has little impact on your audience but you can still take it one step further.

Researching the way other films similar to yours format their titles can be a good indication of how you should do yours. 

Now You Know How To Write A Movie Title 

movie titles star wars

We know that’s a lot to keep in mind, but if you consider all these points, you should have a good movie title on your hands!

Movie titles are essential to a film’s success, never to be lazily contemplated. They need deep thought and consideration to have an impact and get people’s attention. Being the first aspect anyone notices about your movie, no expenses should be spared.

Having amazing artwork won’t save a title if it’s bad, written content always has a deeper impact than visuals

No matter if you’re looking at romance or action movie titles, all follow the same general rules to make them successful. Most of all, your title should reflect the essence of your film.

It should leave the audience believing they know the direction of the film and what’s to come.

As we said, there is no perfect way of creating an amazing movie title, but there are things you can always do to make sure it’s not a failure. Following this general structure will give you the base you need to come up with your movie title.

Never limit yourself to your first option, as you continue, new ideas are likely to pop up. Consider them all closely, never dismiss any.

Also, remember that you’re likely to never be truly satisfied with your title. Seeing a few words on a page that you’ve thought about countless times won’t have the intended impact on you as it will on the audience.

Putting your masterpiece into two or three words is a monumental task, one that is not so obvious on the surface. 

We hope you’re now feeling more prepared to come up with a movie title that will go down in history! Most of all, you should enjoy creating your title, and seeing it on the cover excites you. 

Have you written a movie title before? Let us know about your experiences in the comment section below. If you enjoyed this article, why not share it on social media. Be sure to tag us @musicgateway!

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out another on our blog? Here are articles on How To Make A Storyboard, What Is A Key Grip In Movies and How To Pitch A Movie to get you started!

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