What's in a Name? 9 Do's and Don'ts of Picking TV Titles
Coming up with a good title can be a royal pain. Is it intriguing or just vague? Is it descriptive but too dry? Does it suggest a dynamic concept or sit on the page? In television, good titles can determine whether a project gets backed by development executives, or viewers tune in for a premiere. As part of a larger feature exploring how shows like Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond and Lost got their titles, the Hollywood Reporter put together a list of 9 Do’s and Don’ts for picking a solid TV title — and there’s plenty for a DIY content creator to mull over as they consider their own projects:
The title is your project’s first impression, and being able to load it with the thematic feel and taste of the content is what helps separate intriguing titles from boring ones. This tip stands out:
DO Be Specific
A title should neatly encapsulate the content and tone of a show, like Desperate Housewives and Modern Family. “If a title really contextualizes the tone of a show,” says MTV’s Janollari, “that’s a big factor in helping you launch a show and market and position it to an audience.”
I think a good practice is to look at lots and lots of existing titles, come up with alternate titles for them, and compare and contrast — get a sense for why the actual title works better or doesn’t. For example, an accompanying article does a good job of illustrating what could have been – Friends could have been titled Six of One, Lost could have been Nowhere, and That 70′s Show could have been Teenage Wasteland. (I actually think that last alternate would have been better, but according to the article they couldn’t secure permission to use it.)
These tips are a pretty good starting point for analyzing and weighing the strengths of a given title, so for the full tips go here. What are your favorite TV or movie titles? Why do you think they work? Which titles fall flat for you? What would have been better? Let us know!
[via Hollywood Reporter]