Monday, April 16, 2012

Title advice needed

I've been trying to think of a different title for the short story collection I've been putting together. I need help. Here's the backcover blurb.

Jimmy Kiley is a keen amateur movie maker. He’s also the ruthless criminal boss of the north side of the city. When enforcing his own brand of law, he sees no reason why he shouldn’t mix business with pleasure. His kick is to provide a private viewing of his last venture to the star of the next. And his reluctant stars are only ever one hit wonders.

I've been uncomfortable with the working title of 'Snuff Movies' for some time due to its connotations of sexual violence (the book contains none). The advice of a good friend is find another title pronto. That leaves me with the problem of identifying a new title. I've been trying to play around with puns of movie-making and death. The cover designer, JT Lindroos, has thrown in a couple of good ones. Here's the three on the short list:

Final Frames
Killer Reels
Reel Deaths

So, here's the question. Which one of those three would you go for, or do you have another good suggestion? All help gratefully received.


Anonymous said...

Rob - Oh, the title can make a big difference! My vote? Reel Deaths.

Mediations said...

I think you are right to move on from Snuff Movies which would put me off. I'd be most tempted by Final Frames...

Sarah said...

I'm tempted to vote for Killer Reels: then you'd really be confused. One vote for each. But I prefer Final Frames of the three on your list.
Would anything around the word 'shots' or 'takes' work? e.g. Single Shots, Final Takes etc.

Rob Kitchin said...

Thanks so far. Sarah, have played around with Final Shots, Death Shots, Shot to Death, Dead Shot. I was having a real blank on this. I just knew I didn't like the working title, but couldn't come up with another I liked.

Feel free to offer ones not on the list. I should have asked for advice before now.

John Gaynard said...

I too prefer Final Frames. I find that title more intriguing than the other two. Sorry, I can't come up with anything that could improve on Mr. Lindroos's suggestions.

Anonymous said...

My preferences are for Final Frames, I like the sound.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Reel Deaths for me.

Adie said...

something around 'flicks' as in movies but also suggestive of knives

J. Kingston Pierce said...

To tell you the truth, I'm not thrilled with any other those three titles. They all sound a little overused. Let me muddy the matter still further by proposing a few alternatives, not all of them brilliant:

Cutting Room Floor
Last Take
Screen Slay
Trouble Feature
Director’s Cut

You might also have come up with an excellent option in your plot synopsis: One Hit Wonders.

I hope you settle on something you like soon.


Rob Kitchin said...

Many thanks for the other suggestions.

Adie, will have a think about 'flicks'

Jeff, I'm using the 'one hit wonder' in the tagline: 'Jimmy Kiley's stars are only ever one hit wonders'

I've already used 'The Director's Cut' as one of titles of the short stories and hsve been trying to avoid using it again.

Will have a ponder over the others - can recombine a number of the words and might have a play (e.g., prefer Final Take to Last Take).

Rockman said...

Film Fatale

Maxine Clarke said...

I was going to suggest the word "film" in it somewhere.

Final cut
The last picture show ;-) (variant)
Film noir
Deadly view
Death star

Bernadette said...

In case you aren't confused enough I'll throw my 2 cents in

Not thrilled about any of the original three- of those I'd go for Reel Deaths but to be honest it could be about fishing instead of movies

I Like the above suggestion of Last Cut or Final Cut - I think that's a phrase that you'd only hear in the film world and it's still tough-sounding for the kind of stories it sounds like you've put together

good luck whatever you choose :)

Sheila said...

I also like final cut, though if you've used director's cut, it's a bit repitition, and also it reminds me of Pink Floyd, which is good, but unconnected

How many people does he kill? Could you do something like

Take Thirteen

Closing shots

Parting shot

Crime scenes

Unknown said...

Well, Rob, seeing as how I wasted five years of my life in film school, and have read two of your superb Kiley stories, I guess I'll throw in my two cents.

From your proposed titles, I gather you're looking for something short and to the point. I have to admit none of the initial three thrill me, but they're not deal breakers either. There may be some technical filmmaking terms you can use. For example, when uploading video footage to a computer, you sometimes lose a frame or two. These are called "drop frames". Is that a good title? Does it evoke death? No idea. But it's something to think about.

Personally though, I think something a little more ambiguous may work better. While reading two of the stories, I got the feeling that it was as much about the performance from the victims as it was the act of filmmaking.

In that case, I'd suggest:
No Encore
Kiley's Cut(s)
Terminal Performances

I'd also suggest "Fatal Frames," but it should be noted that eleven years ago a Japanese video game called "Fatal Frame" came out. However, that game is about spirit photography, has nothing to do with a criminal filmmaker, and was called "Project Zero" in the UK. It was called "Zero" in Japan. "Fatal Frame" was only the US title. Based on that, I'd probably push for the "Fatal Frames" title more than any other. The double F has a nice quality.

There's also "Kiley's Last Tape." Although it might be lost on those who don't know the work of Samuel Beckett.

There's also no harm in naming the book after one of the stories. That's fairly common and perfectly understandable.

I hope this helps.

Rob Kitchin said...

Many thanks, Maxine, Rockman, Bernadette, Sheila, Dyer. Loads to think about here. I'm going to compile a master list and work my way through them. I'm partial to Killer Reels. I like the double play on 'death/movies' and 'very good stories'. Lots to ponder though. Very much appreciated.