I can’t stress enough how critical it is to land on the perfect title for your script.  A title needs to be examined and questioned during the rewriting process just as much if not more than any scene, plot adjustment, or bit of dialogue.  It’s your window into your story and it has to be wide open and deliciously exciting and alluring.  It has to grab you and pull you in.

Because of this, it’s imperative that your rewriting phase include a good hard look at the working title you’ve been living with.  Several questions need to be asked:

–Is your title still working as well as it did when you first came up with it?

–Has the writing of your first draft and your subsequent reworking of it opened up any new possibilities?

–Are there any specific references or turns of phrase in your dialogue that now pop out at you?

–Does anything now hold a double or triple meaning, working on several levels at once?

–Have you locked into a working title and gotten so used to it that you pass right over a brilliant title lying there in, or between, the lines?

–Are you honestly challenging yourself to find something better?

Don’t ever be leery or afraid to try a new title on for size and live with it for a while.  You can always go back to your earlier one.  And if you think you may have found something, go so far as to make up a new title page.  Then wait and see if it grows on you.

Keep searching and testing until you’re absolutely convinced you’ve found the perfect title.  Keep challenging yourself to find something better.  It may happen early or far into the writing process, but you’ll know when you’ve hit gold–you’ll feel it.  So don’t settle for something you’ve simply grown used to.   Because a good title always throws that initial window open wide and seduces you to enter into the adventure inside.

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I’m the Program Director of the low-residency MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen being offered by the New Hampshire Institute of Art.  Our last residency ran from January 6-15, and we are still considering applications for starting the program with our June 2017 residency running from June 22-July 1.  If you’re interested, email me at buzzmclaughlin@gmail.com.

I’m also a playwright and screenwriter, producing partner in my production company Either/Or Films (The Sensation of Sight and Only Daughter) a professional script consultant, and the author of The Playwright’s Process.  You can follow me on Twitter @eitherorfilms or @mfastagescreen.  I’m also on Facebook at buzzmclaughlinscriptconsulting.