For the first time, I am changing the title of one of my spec scripts. I have a horror/creature feature that can be described as a Jersey Devil. . and greater description heretale previously titled The Pines but I have renamed the script simply
Now, I have retitled optioned material before. I recall lengthy phone/email/text conversations with my producers concerning my script Mobbed Up; that it may be more palatable to some actors if the “Mob” aspect were toned down at least until we could bring some of these mobster-type actors on board. (Apparently many of the actors known for their roles in mobster films prefer to not be known by the genre that has best served them in the past) We eventually settled on Boardwalk Nights, but the entire production team liked Mobbed Up better. The project still sits in the stir that is development, so who’s to say.
Back to The Pines, I mean Jersey Devil. Though the interest I’m getting has been fairly strong, I think The Pines was stopping many industry folks right at the title never bothering even with the log line. A title such as The Pines could easily portend a base story of kids in the forest bleeding all over the wooded landscape. My story is much more sophisticated than that, though blood is shed on the occasional conifer. The aspect of the Jersey Devil is really my hook and I think I need to get that out in the first breath. That’s my reason for this change.
I have no way of knowing how positive this title change may be. I certainly can see any number of people reading this Jersey Devil title and yawning over their coffee. The key with a spec of this nature, I think, is to get it in front of people interested in the genre. That too is an strategy I am going to use hopefully to greater effectiveness.
So I am wondering what battles over titles you’ve encountered both from industry people interested in the material and also debates you’ve had on your own about how to best portray your work with the factors of marketing/descriptive text/creative imagination all in contentious consideration. I’d also be interested to hear some of your favorite movies titles and some that just do not work.
Please share your thoughts and experiences.