What’s the point in worrying so much about a working title for your project - someone always changes it!

It is true that producers and publishers often change the title of the movie from the original script title that was submitted to them.  This happens for a variety of reasons; sometimes the original title was not ‘punchy’ enough to market well.  Or was too long; sometimes the original title sounds too similar to another film on a completely different topic.  Or sometimes the title is an exact match for another film on the same topic (Hurricane Katrina, for instance) because there is no copyright on titles.  Only the script itself can be copyrighted.  But a good title may change over time anyway, simply because it’s purpose changes over time too.

But the influence of a producer or distributor on the script we may be writing now - is years away for most of us. So why worry about a title in the interim?  Worry about the title for your manuscript today -- in fact border on obsessive about it, because your current title is what will hold the emotional key for you of the story you hope to write. The current  title will be your inspiration while you struggle with the process.  You may call your piece Star Wars Times Two….. Because your dream is to rewrite the Star Wars saga – but to do it right, this time around. It doesn’t matter - you need to find a working title that reminds you of what’s important each time you sit down to work on your manuscript.  Your working title is your lodestone or compass for the project no matter how long it takes.

Your title is also the very first marketing tool you have at your disposal.  Your script may have started off life as a grocery list - and that became your ‘working title’ for it.  “My Grocery List” is going to be a tough sell in the market place because it inherently lacks punch, or sparkle or as Hollywood says, ‘sex appeal.’

Later you’ll want to put some genuine time and devotion into finding the exact title for your screenplay that’s going to serve you while you are marketing it.  You want to find another title so good that it embeds itself in a producer’s mind deeply enough that she finally requests your work just to get it out of her head.  Once you’ve got Ryan Gosling signed for the lead - you can make the case to go back to ‘My Grocery List’ for the movie marquee if that’s what you really want!

I hope that helps. And I wish you good luck with your writing.