Monday, December 6, 2010

A Title By Any Other Name

When it sank in that we actually HAD the rights to the novel GREEN DARKNESS, I thought 'oh no'. Why? Because I was not a fan of the title.

A title is supposed to sum up the theme of the material, reveal its essence. GREEN DARKNESS just didn't do that for me.

I discussed my concerns with my writing partner and she agreed BUT...she argued people who were fans of the book wouldn’t know that it was a favorite if it had a different name. Sigh.

After all, haven't films gone through different titles before showing in theatres. And even then, the 'final' title is translated into different languages appropriate for the country screening it. Whenever I go to see a movie, I read the credits on the poster outside the theatre. Many adaptations have been retitled, with credit given to the original name of the material on said poster.

 I looked up some examples of changes....
HOLLYWOODLAND was once titled TRUTH, JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY (but we know how much better shorter titles fare at the box office).
ALMOST FAMOUS was originally just UNTITLED.
AIRPLANE - originally FLYING HIGH (it screened under that name in Australia).

But I swallowed my objections --- for a while. When you’re collaborating, it’s give and take.

Then Angela came up with THIS TIME as a title. Guess she'd been mulling over my dislike of the GREEN DARKNESS wording. I checked her suggestion on imdb. Sorry, that title had been used many times for past productions.

I added one word to her two and looked that up on imdb. Three cheers! Nobody else had used it.

Our working title has become NOT THIS TIME - adapted from the novel GREEN DARKNESS. I know, it's more than one word longer than the original, but our version hooks anybody who reads or hears it. It's a title taken to the extreme; a title made high concept.

What would you have done in this situation?

Stay tuned -

1 comment:

  1. Whatever title you decide upon, please be certain that the original title Green Darkness is displayed in the advertising somewhere (I don't know the technical names for all this). You DO want to draw in the fans of the novel ... not all of them will be searching the internet in the hopes of finding someone who is actually trying to bring the book to the big screen! I think as long as you make sure people know that it was originally Green Darkness, you'll fill those theaters!