Thursday, July 5, 2007

Titling your Film with Viral Marketing in Mind

As I have been formulating ideas for my feature flick, I've tried to think ahead to my ultimate marketing plan. In a past post, I mentioned that a catchy, direct-to-the-point, exploitation-esque movie title would be beneficial when it was time to distribute your movie. I still think that, but now believe that it is not enough. Not only must I have name that grabs people, but it must take advantage of the internet, propelling people to the film's eventual website.

This can be accomplished in several ways. First, come up with an original word that optimizes Google in your favor. Jaws is a great name for a film, but if you do a search for it, you'll get over thirteen million hits. 'Jaws Movie' will pare that down to two million, but such a common word carries lots of its own baggage. On the other hand, 'laserfork' garners a whopping one hit. When your site goes up and has even a little traffic, you'll always be at the top of the list. When you go to register your domain name, chances are you'll get it ('laserfork.com' is still available!).

Second, be careful that your title is not too original. Since we're dealing with the need for perfect spelling, don't go over the head of the common man. I recommend using some kind of compound word (Laserfork) instead of something completely weird and unfamiliar. Zathura sounds cool, but if someone has no idea what that is or means, you will lose them on the web when they search or try to go directly to your site. Don't forget the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) rule.

Finally, keep your title short. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer is not only full of common words, but is very long. A short name will be easier to remember, and easier for folks to just type into their browser's address bar. Not only that, but when people talk about it, they'll use the actual name, which lends to better identification and brand recognition. Long names will be shortened anyway (The Rocky Horror Picture Show is often truncated to just Rocky Horror), so why not do it yourself?

Of course none of these are hard and fast rules, just ideas. A title should still serve your movie, but it has potential to do much more than that. It seems like a simple concept, but I keep seeing terrible names that do nothing for promotional purposes, and it's a missed opportunity. Big studios can get away with this lax practice (Evening, Next), since the stars will sell the film, but we in microbudget land need every advantage we can get. This seems like a good one.

2 comments:

Bill Cunningham said...

Good titles "sell" your movie and in the process sell you. If people think that the movie is half as clever as the title they will investigate further...

That's when you nab them with the tagline. It gives them a hint at the adventure/horror/action/romance/laughs to come...

Did I mention you should have already hooked them with the artwork?

Yes - keep it simple, memorable and clever - just like a commercial.

Because that's what it is...

Scott Eggleston said...

Excellent points, Bill! I like the whole idea that you lead the curious along with more and more carrots, until they just have to buy your movie.

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