Sunday, March 6, 2011

Catchy Titles/ Headlines/ Charlie Sheen!

Ok, so this is kind of a technical topic, but one that is important.  What's in a name?  You know how when your parents name you it generally doesn't predict the kind of person that you are going to turn out to be? (although I'm sure there are exceptions -- like Johnny Cash's song Boy Named Sue explains), sometimes the name itself generates interest, is memorable, and makes people take notice.  Give a person a name like, oh, I don't know - Barrack, and perhaps one day that person's name recognition will be key to their success.

When you create a piece of writing, a song, a poem, a story, an essay, or create a piece of art like a movie, a play, a sculpture, or create a scientific or technical masterpiece, like the telephone, or like Angry Birds, the name can be a great predictor of success.  Here's the thing - there are usually several usable good choices, you just need something that captures the readers attention (put Charlie Sheen in the title and your story or whatever else should go global overnight), but the catch is it should have a certain tie-in to what it is introducing.   Imagine the toughest looking guy you can.  Now think of the wimpiest name you can, now imagine them put together.  Funny right?  But not effective.  Some English tools that help to generate great titles are:

parallel phrasing
taking a memorable line from the piece and using that
a play on words if appropriate

Anyway, post a list of the best (or worst) titles you can think of and say why they're so good (or bad).


  1. Octopussy....what the heck. One question though, how did it not get censored?

  2. Haha, great question. Chalk that one up to weird British humour. It sure gave the Austin Powers franchise of movies a great string of jokes and innuendo to play with though.

    Thanks for your reply!