Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Title Issues

Sometimes I think I'm good with titles. Then I look at the track record. Movie #1: The Keyman. Not a great title, but works. I remember on the set, Adam Baldwin, Tom Wright and I brainstorming other title ideas. But nothing better. Then I renamed it later to just make it feel new to get it out to a new distributor, "Finding Redemption." To avoid confusion, I then made it "The Keyman: Finding Redemption."

Movie #2. PURE MOTIVE. Now there's a decent Friday Night Rental title. I came up with this one because my mentor, Dr. Mike Riggins, had talked about how there is very rarely one pure, solitary motive for doing anything. So I wrote the script Pure Motive and started working on casting. Had a meeting with a BIG TIME casting director (she's casted some of the biggest movies of all time), and she said for low budget indie, she didn't want to do a plot driven thriller. Hmmm... The script isn't really a plot driven thriller.
So I remember driving with Jill up to Colorado and we came up with "A Promise Kept." Much more character driven sounding for getting actors, then for the distributors who want a Friday Night Rental title, we can go back to Pure Motive. Problem was, later distributor #1 didn't pass PM title idea along to distributor #2, so for US video only, APK is "The Gunman" which is wrong on several levels. Oh well. So the movie company was setup as Pure Motive LP, the movie shot as "A Promise Kept" and it's on DVD as "The Gunman."

Movie #3
So I thought I would try wrapping a deep theme into the popular horror genre (for which I know nothing and don't like them, but they're selling). I researched and had a whole blood disease called "Porphyria" that is genetic string going. Called the script "Bloodlines." Then took most of the horror out and made it a low budget action movie more than anything else. Sony renamed it "Striking Range." That's better than Bloodlines anyway. So I had all the distributors go with that title.

Movie #4
I wanted to do a movie about a fallen Christian rock star. And I wanted to do a comedy about a church staff that would employ some of the same elements (flights of fantasy) that "Scrubs" uses. Then I thought I could combine them. I started writing the script and my working title was the Christian Scrubs idea. Then more and more of the comedy and Scrubs-like stuff got cut out. As I neared the end of the first draft, my title was "Son of Thunder." Which incidentally was the *worst* title idea ever Producer Jeff Rodgers quickly told me. But the characters name was Johnny. His bandmate was James. James and John. Sons of thund... oh nevermind.
So the whole movie was about the concept of the word "Believe." How about that as a title? So second and third draft was "Believe." And the movie company was setup during this time (Believe Movie LP). But I didn't like the title. To 60's-ish.
Then as we talked to Kevin about starring, I listened to more of his music and The Imposter was a great song and perfect for the movie. I talked to Kevin and he said he didn't mind. So now the script was "The Imposter."

And we've kept it there. Although I did have a pretty well known Christian filmmaker say that I should really consider changing the title because it gives too much away. Newsflash-- the VO at the BEGINNING, Johnny tells one and all, "*I* was the Imposter." So I think we're okay there.


  1. I've never thought about how difficult the job must be to come up with a clever, concise, 'pick me instead of these other movies' titles. I just always took it for granted that movies came with titles that make me want to watch them.

  2. I really like the Christian Scrubs idea. Scrubs is one of my favorite shows. Would love to see it done sometime.