Film Festival Submission Tips: Choose A Memorable Film or Screenplay Title

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The Title Of Your Film Festival Submission Should Be Memorable

Do you know why the title of your film or screenplay submission is important? Your title can give the viewer a memory point, that reminds them which film is yours. "Return of the Jedi" and "The Walking Dead" are a little more specific than "Space Film" or "Zombie Show" right? Choosing a title that is not generic or overused, is smart for three different reasons. 

  • Film Festival Attendees Want to Remember Their Favorite Films
  • Similar titles can get very confusing for Film Festival Judges as well.
  • Search engines matter, if someone is trying to do research about your film or screenplay.
1) Film Festival Attendees Want to Remember Their Favorite Films

First of all, some attendees to every Film Festival event that I’ve ever hosted, have asked me the same questions after the screenings, “I'm trying to remember a film on this list, that I can show my friends.” Also,I get questions like, "What's the film with the big guy and the little guy with the baseball hat and the mustache?" Associating your film title with a key point of your film can help people remember it.

 

One year, at the Austin Comedy Short Film Festival, we screened a film named “The Milkman” and another film named “Milk Man.” Both are completely different films, concepts, actors, and countries. Choosing a title like “Fred The Milk Man” or “The Milkman That Wouldn’t Shut Up” or “My Baby’s Daddy Is The Milkman” probably would have been more memorable. These are silly examples, but I am making an important point. You can help Film Festival attendees remember your film, with a title that has some extra detail. Do you know how many films we’ve received with the following titles? Way too many.

  1. Addiction
  2. Anonymous
  3. Besties
  4. Blind Date
  5. Carpe Diem
  6. Choices
  7. Confession
  8. Cut
  9. Dirty Work
  10. Dreamer
  11. The Date
  12. The Wingman

2) Similar titles can get very confusing for Film Festival Judges.

Film Festival Judges are dealing with hundreds of films and screenplays during the judging process. You want the Film Festival judges to remember the name of your submission as well. Trust me, when you’ve watch 300 films for the Austin Micro Short Film Festival, and you’re trying to decide as a judge, which 50 films that you’d like to select for a festival, titles can start to become confusing. Make your title stand out! Instead of “The Wingman” perhaps you can try, “Stan Is The Worst Wingman Ever.” I’ve sat in a room with 12 judges, 12 laptops and a stack of paper notes and hate getting questions like, which one was "Blind Date" again? Was it with the Blonde girl and the dark haired guy, or was that "The Blind Date? " You get the point.

 

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3) Search Engines Matter For Films And Screenplays Too

We are in a world where people ask their phones questions, or they search social media and search engines with just a few key words before giving up. One time, someone asked me, "what's the name of your comedy festival in Portland?" And I responded "The Portland Comedy Film Festival." The guy said "Really, cuz I looked it up and I can't find it." I then asked, "please show me, what exactly you're looking up." He said, "Yeah, no problem" touched a button on this phone and said "Oregon Movie Festival." I interrupted him and said, "The Portland Comedy Film Festival." He said, "Oh, OK!" he tapped his phone again and said "Portland Stand-Up Comedy." At that point, I just handed the guy a business card with the address on it.  Does this sound absurd, like, maybe I made that story up? Unfortunately, that is a true story, but it proves a point. Make it is as easy as you can, to remember your submission with a memorable title. Submission titles don't always stick in people's minds like "Forrest Gump" or "Ferris Bueller's Day Off." Try looking up the film title “Carpe Diem” on IMDb and you get 94 results. “Blind Date” will get you 200. Having any uniqueness or specificity to your title is going to make it easier for people to remember it. Film Festival attendees, judges, media, or distributors, may try to find out more about your film or screenplay online. How easy is it to find information about yours?

 

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More Tips That Can Strengthen Your Film Festival Submission

  1. Your Submission Contact Details Must Be Accurate. Do you know how many submitter emails bounce and don't have a phone number listed? Read more ...
  2. Choose A Submission Title That Is Memorable. Is your creative work getting lost in the shuffle? Read More ...
  3. Create A Tagline And A Synopsis For Your Submission. Do you know the difference? Read more ...
  4. Create A Director's or Writer's Biography For Your Submission.  Do you think that a Biography and a Job Resume are the same thing? Read more ...
  5. Create A Director’s or Writer’s Statement. This is an opportunity to explain your personal motivation, inspiration, experiences and challenges that lead to the creation of your submission.  Read more ...
  6. Include A Social Media Link With Your Submission. Social Media is a free marketing tool that Film Festivals use. There are several reasons why you should not ignore this opportunity.
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About the author
Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair

Mikel Fair My name is Mikel Fair. I am the Director of Film Festival Circuit Inc. First of all, we are a company that manages film festival events in Texas and Oregon. Furthermore, we like to have fun and celebrate independent film. I worked for 15 years in the television and film production as a location sound mixer and production manager. I have also worked in post production as an editor, post sound mixer and composer. Above all, watching independent films and reading creative screenplays is my passion.

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